5 Fast Questions with Sarah Jones, Founder of NEO Maniacal Comedy Studio
On the upcoming show and the future of Comedy in Akron
NEO Maniacal Comedy Studio will host The Akron Political Comedy Show November 1, 2016 at Aqueduct Brewing Company. For more information on NEO Maniacal, check out their website.
The Devil Strip: What’s The Akron Political Comedy Show all about and what motivated you to put this together?
Sarah Jones: I want to put on a show that makes light of our current political “situation” but I also want it to be informative. Comedy is a great vehicle for voter education. Political comedy shows are all over TV. Political cartoons in the newspaper are notorious for being profoundly on the money. There is something transformative when political messages are transferred through humor that is lost on the regular old soapbox.
TDS: How much of the focus will be on the local political situation versus the national?
SJ: For the most part, the show is focused on the national race. Although I have some particular insight locally, local concerns are extremely topical. The closer to home, the thinner the skin. I’m not going to create a harsh line of dialogue (cough, cough *stir the pot*) just for a laugh. Not at the expense of my city. But if I NEED to say something and I think it will make a difference, I’m going in.
TDS: Who are some of the comics who’ll be involved?
– Me, NEO Maniacal Founder
– Matthew Farkas, from Akron. Political science major at University of Akron. His life revolves around politics. Matt wants to be the next Trevor Noah, and he probably will be.
– Jeff Blanchard, Cleveland. Jeff is North East Ohio royalty. He has performed all over the US. Has been a personality on Fox 8 and WNCX and is currently the voice of the Ohio lottery. Jeff holds back for nothing. His insight is encompassing and honest.
(Pictured above: Jeff Blanchard. //PHOTO: John R. Aylward)
TDS: What can you tell us about the panel after the comedy?
SJ: Comedy doesn’t normally have a panel post-show, but I really wanted to give the audience an opportunity to talk to some of our community leaders about life post-election. How will we (Akron) get by after November 8th? There is so much at stake, no matter what side of the fence you are on, and in the end we need to stick together.
That’s the heart behind Akron—sticking together—especially in the arts scene. When we are working against population decline, job loss, cost of living increase (sewer project), we must work together to continue to produce a sustainable community.
TDS: This is just part of the big picture for NEO Maniacal, right? So what can you tell us about what you hope to do in Akron with comedy?
SJ: NEO Maniacal just celebrated its first birthday. For a city this size, it’s odd that we do not have a comedy club. Literally all comedy in Akron is independent produced in bars, theaters, and basements. My shows have seen several different iterations from house shows, to straight up crazy comedy incubators, to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 jams. I’ve teamed up with photographers and videographers to offer my comics portfolio material. In the end, I try to listen to what the city wants, what I need, and how I can round out the Northeast Ohio comedy scene. Not many women produce shows, so I take pride in that.
My biggest goal is to show Akron that comedy is HERE, and I hope to help my audience garner appreciation for comedians. It’s a complicated art form that can be easily misunderstood. Going to a comedy show is a great way to spend your evening.
(Featured photo of Sarah Jones by John R. Aylward)