Comedy veterans Rob Buscemi and Sofiya Alexandra are the founders of a brave new comedy circuit in Los Angeles. They change venues each time, they keep their line-ups secret, and they lure their audiences in with booze, cookies and a promise that things will get weird. There may or may not be an orgy at the end of each show.
The show is called Surprise! Comedy and at its heart it's about what Buscemi and Alexandra call taking the "scene-y-ness" out of L.A. comedy shows. They say the Surprise! format relieves pressure on both the comics, who don't have to promote the show or feel the need to impress to earn a spot back (they might be invited again, but not for a while) as well as the audience, which doesn't pin its hopes on a headliner and meanwhile gets to kick back and enjoy a party.
"One way a show can become an annoying scene is if there is stage time to monopolize," says Buscemi. "We don't offer enough stage time to a particular comedian such that they can monopolize it and make it their turf, such that they can put a chip on their shoulder and create distance between themselves and the audience."
Instead, the founders say that the intimate house party settings and the freedom of anonymity give comedians a chance to really open up and try some new things. And the comedians tend to oblige, trying some of their most daring, bizarre and darkest humor on a crowd whose "weird" metric is ever-increasing. The only thing Buscemi and Alexandra promise is diversity among the comics. Everything else is a surprise.
To find out about upcoming shows check out Suprise! Comedy on Facebook and sign up for their monthly e-mails.