Bringing Comedy Back to Malibu

0
260
Comedian Michael Schirtzer

When asked about the comedy scene in Malibu, Michael Schirtzer joked: “What comedy scene in Malibu?”

The Malibu Times first interviewed Schirtzer in 2015, when he was a relative newcomer to the world of comedy. After taking a break and performing at other shows, he’s ready to tackle his original goal: bringing comedy to Malibu.

His original comedy show ran for a year, from August 2015, at the Malibu Playhouse. The monthly shows often sold out and featured everyone from “nationally touring headlining comedians” to “up and coming comedians.” 

Beside his show, Schirtzer said there was “not a ton of comedy” in Malibu proper; residents are usually forced to drive to places like Topanga to watch comedians.

In a phone call with The Malibu Times, Schirtzer said the idea was to “curate Hollywood’s finest and bring it to Malibu’s locals.”

In August 2016, the comedian stopped the monthly shows, citing a number of reasons including family matters, change of job and Malibu Playhouse board politics. 

“I was never censored or asked to change any of the content of my show. It was internal board politics,” Schirtzer said. “There was a shift in leadership after I’d been running my show for a while, and I guess they assumed we were making more money than we were because they tried to change our financial arrangement.”

Schirtzer was committed to paying his performers.

“There aren’t many showrunners in Los Angeles that pay comics, and the money the board was asking for would cut into that,” he continued. “I didn’t want to run a show where I asked people to perform for free, so I pulled the show.”

It seems all is so far, so good—Schirtzer said “politics of the board have shifted” and that he’s in a place to give his all to the show.

With the original arrangement in place, Schirtzer is ready to introduce Malibu residents to new and old faces with his upcoming stand-up show—the Malibu Playhouse’s first show of 2018—on Jan. 27. 

The headliner, Jimmy Dore, was Schirtzer’s mentor when the Malibu comedian was starting out.

The others—including Evan Cassidy, Todd Doram, Kalea McNeil, Brian Moses, Trevor Wallace and Nicole Blaine—are also comics he knows personally.

“The people that are featured are people that I know from comedy over the last four years, particularly within the last year,” Schirtzer said.

In the last year, he was able to perform and experience mixed shows, which feature talent such as rap, comedy and poetry—all of which gave him “great perspective.” 

As a big supporter of net neutrality and seeing civil liberties come under attack, Schirtzer has designated a portion of proceeds from the show to go toward civil rights and digital activism groups.

Another layer to the show will be art: pieces from artist Molly Alyse Wiggins will be on display and available for purchase before and after the show. 

“She’s a really talented artist and happens to be my girlfriend,” Schirtzer said. “She will bring a really nice aesthetic to before and after the comedy show.”

He aims to “make comedy available and accessible” for Malibu residents.

“There’s a desire for arts and culture in Mailbu.” 

And Schirtzer’s ready to bring it—one comedy show at a time. 

For tickets to the Jan. 27 show, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/3215015. The show is at 8 p.m. at the Malibu Playhouse.