With the fourth and final Faux Pas Comedy Show in the books for 2019, the Forest Park Arts Alliance (FPAA) is more than halfway to their $12,000 goal for a large-scale mural across from the Roos Recreation Center.
“It’s exciting,” said comedy show organizer and FPAA member Monica Berns.
At the Nov. 8 finale, Berns called the comedians “angels from heaven” and reminded the audience that the performers were giving up paying gigs to donate their time to the fundraiser.
“Comedy is spoken art,” said Berns. “People don’t always think of it that way.”
With the help of friend and comedian Brandon Prosek, Berns secured talent and organized the shows, all of which were held at Doc Ryan’s in Forest Park.
The November show featured comedians Molly Kearney, Mary Kate Beck, Chris Trani, Sonal Aggarwal and Matt Maclean. Kearney, the headliner, has appeared on Comedy Central. Trani runs a comedy show at the House of Blues.
Whitney Chitwood, who released a comedy album a week after performing at the October edition of alliance’s comedy show, climbed high on the Amazon and iTunes charts.
“We’re bringing in top-of-the-line artists,” said Berns. “It’s difficult to organize something like this. There was constant stress to provide a solid show. We knew people were coming to support the FPAA, but we wanted to bring them quality comedy.” She and Prosek attended lots of Indie comedy events locally to find and recruit talent for the Faux Pas shows.
“It’s like going to a restaurant,” added Prosek. “If you have a bad experience somewhere, you’re not going to eat there again, and you’re not going to recommend it to a friend.” He said it’s hard to get people out of the house, especially when you’re competing with Netflix and the comforts of one’s own home.
“Live entertainment is hurt by streaming services,” said Prosek. “So we knew we needed to have the best comedians we could find.”
Their efforts in recruiting talent and marketing the events paid off. “Our first show brought in over 70 people,” said Prosek. “For Indie comedy shows, you’re lucky if 5-10 people who aren’t family or friends of the comedians show up.”
There were 30-40 people at the last show, which was held on a Friday instead of a Thursday like the first shows.
“We’re still experimenting with days. It seems to be easier to get people to come out on a weeknight than on a weekend,” said Berns.
Working with Matt Sullivan from Doc Ryan’s has been “excellent,” she said. “He’s been a true partner.”
Sullivan donated the space for the comedy shows and has been supportive of the initiative since the beginning, Prosek and Berns said.
The Arts Alliance plans to start up the comedy shows again, probably in February.