Holy Fuck. Free Comedy
by Tony Bartolone, Staff Writer
pLAywriting in the city
There is nothing free in this world. I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to disprove this statement. I have come up short every time until now. Dave Ross has proved adversely that the best things in life are free. Laughter is and should be free. In today’s world, with scams around every corner, it is hard to find anything cheap, let alone find something of quality for free. But there is one thing I have found, and it is called Holy Fuck.
Held at the Downtown Independent (an indie movie theater) and created by Dave Ross, Holy Fuck is the kind of show that is truly about nothing more than comedy. The show was started to raise money for an art gallery that was shut down before the first show went up. Since 2009 the show has been a showcase for young comedians and comedy heroes alike. “I love the opportunity to perform with and watch some of my idols in comedy, and I love the opportunity to give a spot to someone who doesn’t necessarily get that many shows. It’s tough to get shows in LA,” says Ross.
When approaching the subject of theatre and writing, stand up comedy is one area of theatrical performance that is often left out of the conversation. Although some of the most prolific writers of our time are stand up comics. All the best-known one-person shows are performed by comedians. And beyond that, stand up is the single most cut throat, hardcore, in-it-for-the-love-of-the-game profession there is. I’ve heard thespians proclaim, “If you want to make money, don’t do theatre.” Well, if you want to be poor and desperate for money, do stand up comedy. Which is why it is such a beautiful thing to watch a free show with a great line up. Big comedy clubs are all too aware of the business end of show business, whereas Holy Fuck seems to concentrate on the show.
Also, there is a lot of pretention and cynicism in stand up, but not inside the Downtown Independent on Tuesday nights. All the comedians and producers I have met there were down to earth and friendly. At the same time, the show is as edgy and fresh as it is accessible. I always thought there was a bigger, more diverse audience for comedy than I’ve seen at certain clubs. I had always hoped that the hipsters who faithfully support indie music would as faithfully support indie theatre, and it seems as if that is happening in Los Angeles to some extent. Historically, in times of economic uncertainty, the entertainment industry has always done well. Perhaps, that’s he silver lining to the dark financial cloud over America.
Talking with Dave Ross, I was reminded of a quote from Conan O’Brien. “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” And in this face-paced, modern world Holy Fuck is a little slice of amazing. Ross apologized for being “hyperemotional” while talking about the show. He exclaimed, “I love Holy Fuck. It’s the best part of my week. Putting the show together is a blast, as well. Every time I get a confirmation e-mail, my heart jumps a little. It’s incredible!”
Holy Fuck is every Tuesday at 9pm at The Downtown Independent, 251 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA
Tony Bartolone is a community college drop out. He honed his craft at Cerritos College where he did nearly twenty plays, won several theatre and writing awards and made some best friends with whom he started two theatre companies. He has explored the human condition on stage as an actor, writer, director, comedian, improviser, producer, sound designer and sound technician. Tony Bartolone has done stand up at clubs all over L.A., including the Ice House and all rooms at The Comedy Store. Four plays he has written have been produced (Have you ever Peed In The Dark?, One Of These Things…, Pro, and I Am Chris.) I Am Chris received his best reviews: “The only time I stopped laughing was when I was crying.” – Tony Bartolone’s little brother, Joey. His writing subject matter spans from pro wrestling to punk rock, from family dramedy to peeing in the the dark. Tony does not play an instrument nor does he have any musical talent (beyond an above average knowledge and appreciation of garage bands.) You can not see him in the season finale of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia because his scene was cut. And his TV pilot has been thrown in the trash by some of todays most influential television producers. “At the end of the day, nobody is any better than a punk rock love song.”