Hey, Kat, What's Up With Fridays at the Velv?
Ramzinski gives us the lowdown on the hoedown
By Wayne Alan Brenner, 9:51AM, Fri. Jul. 20, 2012
We had to ask.
Because Chillin' with Kat Ramzinski is what the show is called, and it's the regular Friday night show at the Velveeta Room – that venerable dive-bar of comedy on Sixth, right next to Esther's Follies – and Ramzinski's show usually has some sort of theme.
It's not an open-mic sort of thing, this show:
It's curated, as people like to say these days.
(Ramzinski doesn't say that.
If she's ever pretentious, it's about something other than this show.)
So the show's got some damned good locals onstage, men and women regularly taking hold of the mic to bust your funny bone wide open. And there's been a sort of vague theme to Ramzinski's weekly slate of comics lately, we noticed. So when we got the word that this Friday's – that's tonight, hey – line-up was all gay comedians – and it was a few women and one man – we were curious.
Just one man?
Out of the entire city, an urban hub lousy with all genders & preferences,
for what's being called the "Fabulous Show" edition of Chillin' with Kat Ramzinski,
Ralphie Hardesty is the only dude representing? WTF?
Well, note first: Hardesty is one of those aforementioned "damned good locals."
Oh, he'll crack you up, yeah. So that's a good thing.
But, note second: Turns out Hardesty's not even gonna be performing, after all.
So that's a bad thing.
So, ask third: WHAT IS UP WITH THIS, KAT? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
(You know? Just out of, oh, call it journalistic curiosity.)
So we asked her.
We stalked her for several days and finally trapped her in an alley outside the hidden room she's built into a corner of a downtown warehouse owned by one of the world's leading novelty-lighter manufacturers.
No, okay, we just messaged her ass on Facebook.
And she told us. Seriously: She told us what's up with the change in the line-up and with the continuing run of Chillin' with Kat Ramzinski and with the Velveeta Room in general.
Look, here's the transcript:
"Okay, so the "Fabulous Gay Show" is now the "Fabulous Freaks and Geeks Show," as we have lost our sole gay male (Ralphie) and are now down to lezzies (Holly!), burlesquies, and Lawson Bennett (of The Mustache Podcast – also my lone "freak"). So far, it's been a smooth ride, with this being the only week we've had to shift people around last minute, as Ralphie had to tend to some gay shit in a far away land.
"Overall, this is the best show I've ever gotten to run … second only to Puff Puff Laff, which will forever be burned in my memory.
"I'd say it's a lot easier to put on comedy when you have a venue, bar, and creative curating freedoms – which NEVER come all together, there's always a catch. But at the Velv, after a few years, I feel like me and Dana have established a rapport based around fear and trust, which has worked in my favor to give me legroom in all three areas. Booking is the hard part, because you don't want to play favorites or be bored with the same comics over and over; but also, you want the room to be of value to the comics performing; so we've been able to pluck a few here and there from Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and it's been really awesome so far.
"The comics are responding well, too – they've given suggestions and I'm trying to take them and run with it. You want to give them ample stage time, a chance, and a good crowd; so I have found that if I try to run theme shows, I can deliver, and hopefully it will please the comics, Dana, and the audience. I think so far, we've done the best we can. We've had several packed shows, and intend to have a lot more. Also, I think that keeping it limited to a few comics, with broader themes, helps with getting the shows to be a little more interesting.
"I've tried to integrate Improv (Rob Gagnon of Spirit Desire did a Jamaican storyteller), method acting a la Seth Johnson, and have even booked a musical-comedy night for August 17th – featuring MC Thad Newman, Mike Wiebe of the Riverboat Gamblers doing stand-up, and even Charlie Hodge's band Sweat and Lotion from his Monkeyshine Monday.
"I just want to do something different … and I hope that, regardless of how it works out, it's not boring. God forbid!"
And so there you have it: The lowdown, as we said, on the hoedown.
Oh, but wait: Ramzinski wasn't finished, adding:
"Sorry it took so long and I rambled … I'm sick and drank some tussin."
Mmmm … Tussin …