Popular Bay Area Comedian Will Franken at Theatre Asylum
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Chelsea Handler -- irreverent host of the late-night talk show Chelsea Lately -- is hitting the road for a national stand-up comedy tour in support of her fifth book, Uganda Be Kidding Me. An absurd and hilarious collection of travel essays, Uganda Be Kidding Me finds Handler detailing her exploits while on safari in Africa, attempting to kayak in the Bahamas and escaping from a German hospital on crutches. She also shares her unique thoughts on etiquette, hot spots and memorable destinations. Handler's previous books, which include My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, have been met with critical acclaim for their comedic voice. Be prepared for a night of laughs when the words in her latest book leap from the pages and are delivered straight from Handler's feisty mouth. Learn More
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Will Franken’s strange life story is the kind that standup comedians dream of having and independent filmmakers dream of concocting.
A brilliant and hilarious youngster with a penchant for psychedelic drugs, Franken came head to head with a tyrannical father and a stiff Midwestern hometown before fleeing both to seek fame and fortune in New York City — earning an Associate’s degree in Acting and a Master’s degree in English en route. Franken’s Big Apple existence was also marked by highs and lows, from nailing a lucrative gig as the mascot of online library Questia, to teaching social studies and English at a middle school in Harlem. He was a fixture in New York’s Greenwich Village’s alternative theatre scene.
The bumpy life continued as Franken, broke but determined to make a name for himself in comedy, came to San Francisco from New York by way of North Carolina — with $300 to his name and no housing or employment prospects. Between spending nights in his car at the Berkeley Marina and days looking for typist work, Franken hit every open mic show and poetry slam he could find. In less than three years, his determination paid off as he quickly built a solid reputation as one of San Francisco’s most original comedic acts.
Franken established himself as a San Francisco cult figure and was selected Best Comedian by SF Weekly and Best Alternative to Psychedelic Drugs by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Tribe.net named him one of the Top 25 People to Watch Nationwide. His solo show Good Luck With It debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival to rave reviews by the New York Times, and ran at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater.
“Madonna reinvents herself every year. I reinvent myself every two minutes," Franken says.
Rather than using his own real-life experiences as fodder for hacky one-liners, Franken brings the underlying absurdity of the subconscious to the fore, taking advantage of his uncanny acting ability to create a bizarre panoply of characters and one-man sketches that satirize and skewer postmodern society’s most sacred cows. Whether it’s John Milton losing to urban hipster CK-1 at the Berkeley Poetry Slam or the vicar of Westminster Abbey delivering the liturgy of “The Final Broadcast of Christianity” (along with a pre-recorded Noam Chomsky-spewing choir),Franken douses his audiences in a surreal tidal wave of psychedelic humor.
Franken has also appeared on Air America’s _Marc Maron Show _was a finalist in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition as well as the Las Vegas Andy Kaufman Award competition, and most has enjoyed a successful series of headlining performances at San Francisco’s renowned SF Sketchfest and Portland, Oregon’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival. Franken has written and performed numerous theatrical solo shows, including Good Luck With It and Grandpa! It’s Not Fitting!, to capacity crowds in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, including theatres such as the Upright Citizens’ Brigade, Ars Nova, and the Collective Unconscious. In July of 2009, Franken was invited to appear at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.
During his off-hours, Franken produces a highly successful and critically acclaimed audio podcast, “Things We Did Before Reality” (willfranken.libsyn.com), which has elicited favorable comparisons to the legendary ’60s and ’70s sketch albums of The Firesign Theatre.
Having returned to San Francisco in 2009, Franken continues to bring his patently absurdist brand of humor to venues such as the Marsh Theatre, the Purple Onion, and the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, or the Throckmorton Theatre in Marin.