Local Man Seeks Ha Ha for Woof Woofs

By on 1 October, 2014 in Fun, Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

webIt takes a lot of hubris to describe an event as an “Ego Trip for a Good Cause,” but local comedian Rudy Banes is both self-promoting and dangerously funny. He’s also poking a bit of fun at an era of self-serving philanthropy. Besides, it’s not all a solitary exercise in noble vanity. Banes is sharing the spotlight with some other local talent in Friday’s upcoming charitable stand-up comedy benefit for the Montgomery Humane Society and the Alabama Animal Alliance Spay and Neuter Clinic. Friday night’s event, to be held at AlleyBAR downtown, promises plenty of laughs and a chance to help support two worthy local charities.

Strong attendance at the event would also send a signal to the local stand-up scene that Montgomery continues to have a strong appetite for live comedy. That’s part of why Banes is promoting the so-called Ego Trip for a Good Cause.

“I put together a line-up of local comics, so any funds we generate will go to the Humane Society and the Spay and Neuter Clinic,” Banes said. “Local comedians means no reimbursement to the comedians for travel money, so whatever we get from the crowd and maybe some percentage of bar receipts will go directly to the charities.”

The event will be hosted by Victor Trichinosis and will feature three other stalwarts of the local comedy scene — Kurt Keller, Jason Fifi and Paige Mc Paige. It’s a scene that has been booming ever since the establishment of “Early Comedy,” a twice-monthly comedy showcase that Banes says got its name because they start at the “uncommon hour of 8 p.m.” That show is every first and third Friday of the month at AlleyBAR. An early start means an early finish, says Banes. “We’re done by 10 so people can still have a Friday night after laughing at our show.”

We’ve seen Rudy Banes do stand-up a couple of times, and it has always been a hilarious blend of convoluted world-building stories and righteous outrage. Much of his anger is often directed at himself, opening twisted windows into his psyche, but some of our favorite bits also skewer hypocrites and greedy corporations. A few amusing asides about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in Banes’ hands can take the audience from the candy aisle to the corporate boardroom of the candy factory, pivoting on the question of why some folks just can’t leave well enough alone.

The Montgomery comedy scene is growing, in part because of the support of AlleyBAR as a venue.

“They gave us a big show in March and it was the Tuesday night after St. Patrick’s Day, so we thought everybody would be partied out and want to stay at home,” Banes said. “But we had a big crowd and a really successful show and people like it a lot and it was one of the best Tuesdays that they’ve had. So we are hoping to continue to build on that for these first and third Fridays of each month.”

Banes says it especially helps that AlleyBAR has a back room more conducive to comedy than a corner of a regular bar.

“The back room there has its own atmosphere with tables and a waitress bringing drinks, so you’re in a side place and don’t have to deal with the overall clatter of a bar. And we get a lot of people that just stumble in, see what’s going on, and they sit down and like it and start laughing.”

Although a Montgomery resident, Banes got his start in and around Mobile’s comedy clubs, and a broader Gulf coast scene that stretches from New Orleans to Pensacola and Tampa.

“There are even some Fort Lauderdale comics that are touring into Mobile now, so it’s all connected and it’s people supporting each other,” Banes said.

Banes gives a lot of credit to a Mobile venue called the Alchemy Tavern that hosts a thriving comedy ecosystem. He’s hoping Montgomery’s scene will continue to grow too.

“With these Early Comedy shows, we’re really hoping to bring a wide-range of voices, a wider variety of folks and alternatives,” Banes said. “I hope people will see all the different styles of comedy that are out there.”

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Rudy Banes: Pioneer of inter-species stand-up comedy.

For the Ego Trip show, Banes says the charitable cause has a bit of a personal dimension.

“I’ve had a long-standing love for animals,” he said. “I met my dog, Bird, when I was a videographer doing a story on animal overpopulation and I shot video of dogs being euthanized. I came home with Bird and that was my first dog as an adult. We traveled all over the country three times, and I guess you could say I’m very much a dog person. The effects of overpopulation really bug me.”

Right as Banes begins to describe the problem of overpopulation of stray and feral cats in his neighborhood, one saunters past the window.

“See? That guy is probably going to poop in my pine straw!” he said. “People love to put out a bowl of food, but when it comes time to spay or neuter, they say, ‘It’s not really mine.'”

We’re excited to go to AlleyBAR on Friday night to do some laughing for a good cause. We hope you’ll go too.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, nine fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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