Tribal comedic gatherings seem to pop up in Los Angeles with no terrific fanfare or legend, but the few that stick out and ultimately develop underground followings are always worth investigating. “Wizard Finger,” a show that L.A. Weekly calls “Part Open-mic, part rave, part circus,” could not be a hotter L.A. ticket at the moment. A variety show that truly offers variety, it has all the elements needed to draw in comedy fans and actual proven performers that you most likely won't see doing any standard joke-telling at the Improv or Comedy Store.
Show ringleader Jill Benjamin originally hatched the show in October 2004 (naming it after she decided that male genitalia somewhat resembled a wizard's finger). Since then, the “Finger” has steadily built up an impressive Los Angeles following. Performers range from comedic to musical, and can include hoop, glo-ball dancers, DJ's and artists.
As the master of ceremonies, the talented Benjamin (A “Boom Chicago” alum who has appeared on “My Name is Earl” and Showtime's “Sleeper Cell”) always delivers a swanky monologue replete with a humorous recount of a funny event from her life. She has often provided things like her eighth grade lip-synch birthday party footage to accompany her hilarious first-person rants.
“I just wanted to create an atmosphere that was different than the typical L.A. theater scene,” Benjamin says. “A place where a bunch of like-minded people can get together and blend a whole bunch of different activities … It's like an orgy of artistic creation.”
There has been no shortage of talent at Wizard Finger during the past two years. “Saturday Night Live's” Seth Meyers did 20 minutes of scathingly funny stand-up that proved he has practically been ignored as a true talent on his popular late night sketch show. “Mad TV” alums and current members have taken the stage, as have actors like Missi Pyle and Ike Barinholtz.
“Will and Grace's” Sean P. Hayes is a huge fan and musical guests have ranged from RootHub to the Dust Bowl Cavaliers. Humorist Wendy Thompson staged a “Most Embarrassing Childhood Photo” auction for breast cancer here and MySpace legend Kelly (aka Liam Sullivan) has brought the house down with live performances of the popular Internet short piece, “Shoes.”
The next show (The Three Year Anniversary Spectacular) will feature actress Nicole Sullivan (NBC's “Raines”) and “Scrubs” janitor Neil Flynn as well as soul-funk female performer “Flow,” along with a new short film from Sullivan.
Admission charge is never too high and the beer and wine often disappear before the last performer because everyone is having so much fun. The performances bring out Hollywood's comedic legends and you never know if you might rub elbows with “24's” Mary Lynn Rajskub at the bar or members of Canada's popular “Trailer Park Boys.”
Molly Malone's is located at 575 S. Fairfax Ave., in Los Angeles. Show time is 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit www.wizardfinger.com or www.myspace.com/wizard_finger.