By Mario Carr EBS CONTRIBUTOR
The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center has been hosting comedy acts “since [its] inception” according to John Zirkle, WMPAC’s executive director. However, never before has the community had the opportunity to get involved in, learn, and participate in the artform itself.
Bozeman’s own Last Best Comedy (LBC) has teamed up with WMPAC to bring an improv comedy workshop that is open to the public.
“It’s open to everybody,” Zirkle emphasized. “You don’t have to particularly be a funny person to benefit from it.”
He explained that it’s a great opportunity for anyone looking to laugh and learn to make others laugh as well by “telling jokes and bringing joy to the space.” As WMPAC’s director, Zirkle told EBS that Comedy is a special artform that really engages the audience, and “there’s nothing better than hearing a room full of belly laughs.”
For three Tuesdays in a row, beginning on July 11, WMPAC will host an improv comedy workshop starting at 5:30 p.m., with dinner provided by Big Sky’s own award-winning chef Lindsie Feldner an hour later and drinks from a cash bar provided by BYWOM, followed up finally with a different comedy act each night starting at 7 p.m. The workshops will be capped at 12 people per night, but the following acts will be open to all that are able to get tickets. More information and tickets will be available at warrenmillerpac.org.
These workshops are open to people of all ages, but the following comedy acts will be suitable for ages 15 and up. The comedy performances will include a Montana-born celebrity-magician that goes by Handsome Jack on the eleventh, three stand-up acts from the Treasure State Comics on the eighteenth, and more stand-up from part-time Livingston resident and world-renowned comedian Rich Hall on July 25.
“All of these faces are gonna be new to Big Sky,” Zirkle said with glee.“Comedy is always great at WMPAC. I wish we could do more, you know we usually only have one big comedy event a year so I am excited we get to have a few more options for people to come out and laugh.”
Local and regional partners are important to WMPAC, especially in the summer and bringing Last Best Comedy to Big Sky provides a lighter side to the many projects that are “symbolic of our efforts to engage more of our regional arts community,” Zirkle mentioned.
Zirkle said that “Last Best Comedy has been doing really great work for the last few years,” while explaining the origins of this comedy take over. During a comedy show at the WMPAC in January of this year, LBC and WMPAC decided that they wanted to work together to create even more opportunities to get the spotlight on local comedy moving forward.
Zirkle and WMPAC want to make sure that they’re “owned by everybody in the community” because they’re one of the only dedicated performing arts spaces in the town. And Zirkle especially loves comedy and believes that in general it is an artform that “is a little bit more accessible than some other forms and it seems to bring out a more diverse cross section from the whole community, and I love that.”
Audience members can pay $25 for the workshop and dinner, $25 for dinner and the
performance, or $40 for the complete evening of the workshop, dinner, and show.