September 5, 2013

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Evatt & Bloom releases collaborative comedy sketches

In the time I’ve lived in Chattanooga, the arts scene has increasingly become deeper and more diverse. When I was in college,  there were only a handful of live music venues, mostly featuring Southern rock cover bands or adolescent punk. Movies were devoutly multiplex experiences, featuring only the latest Hollywood vehicles for Johnny Depp or Adam Sandler.  Strictly speaking, there wasn’t a lot that featured any real artistic merit. But then things began to change—more music venues opened, real artists started appearing in town, and a genuine indie movie scene started to form. Now, Chattanooga can boasts acts like Sara Bareilles and we can see films by Terrence Malick.  

Joel Ruiz, creator of Evatt & Bloom Productions, hopes to do the same with for comedy in Chattanooga. His most recent project is a collection of short comedy sketches, featuring local actors and film production, which will be released every Monday through the end of September on their YouTube Channel.

“The comedy scene has grown immensely in the last four years,” Ruiz says.“I started to run a comedy show out of JJ’s four years ago that has turned into two different monthly showcases: Friendship Explosion [bringing in regional comics from around the Southeast], and the Comedy Buffet [bringing  national touring headliners] along with a weekly open mic every Wednesday at JJ’s Bohemia.”

Ruiz continues, “I feel the change has come with the resurgence of stand-up in pop culture, as well as the access to stand-up. For the longest time, there was only place to see stand-up in town, and they cater to a certain stand-up audience. We try and bring comics from all styles of stand-up with one reccurring theme—they are funny.” Like the music and film scenes before it, the key to developing comedy in Chattanooga is to create an environment that is attractive to comedians. Ruiz and company have brought major names in comedy to Chattanooga during the past four years, such as Doug Stanhope and James Adomian. These type of events show that there is a receptive and eager audience for comedy in Chattanooga, which will only serve to boost the emerging comedy scene.

The sketch pieces are a new direction for Evatt & Bloom, one that utilizes a solid set of collaborators in the local film community.  “I am a Chattanooga native,” Ruiz says, “so I wanted to help grow the film and comedy scene with these sketches. I love to see this town grow every week with great shows and events others put on. I feel with each new show someone puts on, it makes more people want to come here. We do a lot of work with Mise En Scenesters and 423 Bragging Rights, two other locally based companies. The film and comedy scene could very easily grow together, and I hope that is what results from this.”  

The first sketch features local actors Lora Chatman and Stephen Carignan in an amusing routine about text messaging.  All of the sketches are written and directed by Ruiz, with talent being drawn from organizations like Theater For the New South and Mise En Scenesters. The first sketch appeared on August 26, and a new one will be released every Monday until September 23.  

Comedy is likely the most difficult of art forms. Laughter tends be rooted in surprise, in the unexpected, and people come to stand-up shows expecting to laugh.  That expectation can be an obstacle for the comedian. The difficulty lies in overcoming the audience’s preconceptions about the show, and encouraging them to set aside expectation in the hopes of delivering an honest experience.  Ruiz has shown in his first sketch that he and his production company are emerging talents in the field and should be watched closely. It’s a good time to be a comedy fan in Chattanooga.

More information on Evatt & Bloom can be found on Facebook:

Upcoming comedy shows:

Sept. 10:  Friendship Explosion (Nashville)

Sept. 24:  Comedy Buffet with Shane Mauss and Joe DeRosa

Sept 25:  Comedy Open Mic featuring Ben Kronberg (New York)

Oct. 1:  Comedy Buffet with Derek Sheen, Bryan Cook and Heather Thomson

Oct. 15: Friendship Explosion (Athens, GA)


September 5, 2013

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