No club, no problem!

An exciting article about the current comedy scene in Milwaukee. It feels wonderful to get this recognition for my accomplishments!

Check out a bit of the article below.

No club, no problem: Comedy producers fill void with shows in breweries, bars, and basements

From the Milwaukee Record

 A few dedicated local producers and performers have taken it upon themselves to fill the city’s comic void by bringing comedians and shows they—and many others—would like to see to Milwaukee breweries, bar rooms, and even the Grand Avenue Mall basement.

Matt Kemple is the person responsible for many of those shows. Kemple has owned and operated The Underground Collaborative (the aforementioned 110-capacity theater space in the mall’s basement) for close to six years, and has booked shows all around town under the “Milwaukee Comedy” umbrella for even longer. The longtime theater producer and Milwaukee Comedy Festival founder’s foray into stand-up booking was simple: Milwaukee wanted more than it was getting.

“I started producing just out of the need and desire to want more out of the comedy scene. When I was producing, it was basically because there was nobody putting on comedy shows,” Kemple says. “All of a sudden, we’re the ones filling this niche of this middle level of comedy that people really want to get, but nobody is putting those shows on. We need to be the ones doing that.”

Just some of the notable comedians Kemple and his cohorts have booked at The UC or sites like Club Garibaldi include Nick Thune (twice), Andy Kindler, Hari Kondabolu, Matt Braunger, Godfrey, Joe Mande, Emily Heller, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, and Neil Hamburger. This weekend, The Underground Collaborative will host a pair of shows from veteran comedy legend Todd Barry. Barry performed at Turner Hall his last two times in Milwaukee and at Comedy Cafe before that.

“Todd Barry is doing his show with us because it’s the crowd work tour. He wants to see the people. It’s an intimate theater venue, not a comedy club. He can look out and see people on seats that are on risers,” Kemple says. “There aren’t people coming and going and interrupting the show trying to sell two drink minimums and nachos. It’s an environment that’s set up to make what he’s doing as successful as possible.”

In addition to sporadic high-profile bookings at The UC and other traditional venues, Milwaukee Comedy also produces shows at unconventional sites like Karma, Var Gallery, and will debut a monthly “Craft Brew Comedy” showcase at Good City Brewing tonight. The first show in the East Side brewery’s 150-capacity hall has already sold out.

“Not everybody wants to come to [The UC], so if you can bring comedy to those people, that’s what keeps things exciting,” Kemple says. “And just having different rooms and different environments, it makes it a different kind of show.”

The largest and most successful of Milwaukee Comedy’s regular productions is Keg Stand Up, a monthly stand-up showcase at Lakefront Brewery. The show, which started in August of 2105 and became a recurring fixture at the brewery in June of 2016, brings some of the Midwest’s most talented humorists to Lakefront’s spacious Beer Hall on select Sunday nights. Within its first few months, Keg Stand Up’s attendance has ballooned. The show now brings more than 200 people to the brewery and routinely sells out.

Check out the full article here:


Creative Mornings: Weird!

Creative Mornings Weird

I was down right honored to be asked to speak at Creative Mornings, and what better topic then WEIRD!  Creative Mornings is a global idea, with a chapter right here in Milwaukee run by Paul and Kate. This months topic is WEIRD. Producing live events and working with creative people of all types is certainly a weird job.  I try to embrace my weirdness and all it entails!Creative Mornings

The concept is simple: breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month, and every month is free of charge and open to anyone. Attendees gather in cities around the world to enjoy fresh coffee, friendly people, and an international array of breakfast foods. Volunteer hosts and their team members organize local chapters that not only celebrate a city’s creative talent, but also promote an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.

On Friday, August 26th, we’re returning with Matt Kemple, founder of Milwaukee Comedy and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival (in case you missed it at the beginning of August, they just celebrated their 11th year), and co-founder of the upcoming Milwaukee Fringe Festival, a multiday event celebrating theater, dance, music and visual art. When he’s not lining up creative and hilarious events, you can find him in The Underground Collaborative, a space complete with art galleries, recording booth, dance studios, and a theater, meant to be a resource for creatives in many disciplines. Below we caught up with Matt to get to know him better.

Check out this fun and short interview before I present on August 26th!

Announcing The Milwaukee Fringe Festival

Announcing The Milwaukee Fringe Festival

New annual arts event will feature top performing and visual arts

MILWAUKEE, WIS – The Milwaukee Fringe Festival, the regions newest city-wide art festival is a two-day performance and visual art event celebrating Milwaukee’s vibrant and diverse arts scene. The inaugural event will take place Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th Downtown, Milwaukee at Pere Marquette Park, The Marcus Center Vogal Hall and surrounding venues.

The Milwaukee Fringe Festival will showcase live theatre, music, dance, comedy and visual art from the region along side keynote speakers and national performers with a connection to the Greater Milwaukee area. In addition, MKE Fringe Fest will also feature some of the areas best food trucks, breweries and other culinary delights.

“Milwaukee’s art scene is as diverse and prolific as any in the nation. The Milwaukee Fringe Festival is an event to celebrate that diversity on a wide scale.” Said festival Co-Founder Eric Engelbart. “We want this festival to be an immersive experience that features extraordinary entertainment from the many Milwaukee and Wisconsin based arts groups.”

The event will feature free outdoor performances in Pere Marquette Park and along the Milwaukee River, as well as ticketed indoor performances at some of Milwaukee’s best theater venues. The MKE Fringe Fest will focus on accessibility to the citizens of Milwaukee by offering free or inexpensive live performances in the center of the city.

Matt Kemple, Co-Founder of the MKE Fringe Festival stated, “Our goal is to expose audiences to talented performers they may not discover on their own, while also celebrating established artists who got their start in Milwaukee. There is a high level of talent here in Brew City and we want to acknowledge that talent with a celebration of the arts.”

The Milwaukee Fringe Festival is presented under the direction of renowned television and film actor Willem Dafoe, John Schneider (Theatre Professor at Marquette University), Eric Engelbart (Shepherd Express) Matt Kemple (Milwaukee Comedy Festival), Karen Rayzak and Katie Rhyme (MKE Follies) and Brian Rott (Quazimondo Physical Theatre). The festival is produced under Nice Plays, Inc a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A call for submissions is announced for creative artists of all kinds to submit to perform or display. Those interested may do so as of March 1, 2016 via the Milwaukee Fringe Festival website, Submission fee: $20 or Early Bird is $15.

The Inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival
August 27 and 28, 2016
Pere Marquette Parke and surrounding venues in Downtown Milwaukee.

Comedy Success with the SBDC

Despite this being a “personal website”, I don’t really get very personal on here.  But my recent experiences have given me the opportunity to reflect on the path I have chosen for myself and some of the success I have encountered.  I have been working with the Wisconsin SBDC for about two years, a small business support organization.  With the assistance of Kathy Orr, I have been able to look at my company Milwaukee Comedy from an outside perspective.  She helped me better define my goals and helped answer a lot of the questions I was asking myself as a small business owner.

A while back they asked to film me for a short segment about Milwaukee Comedy, and had an opportunity to see the end result today!

SBDC Success Story: Milwaukee Comedy
Milwaukee Comedy logo
Milwaukee Comedy is one of several comedy venues in the Milwaukee area, but owner Matt Kemple prides his business on its variety and unique qualities. Founded nine years ago, the comedy venue provides live entertainment, workshops and classes and is a resource for local comedians.

Take a look at the video to learn a bit about my experience.

I owe a tremendous thanks to Kathy and the SBDC! Thank you!

Comedy in the Shepherd

It’s a wonderful thing when your talents are recognized.  It’s especially fun when the media picks up on it!  There is a great write up in this weeks Shepherd Express by Tea Krulos about the underground comedy scene. I was interviewed as an expert on the subject along with Milwaukee Comedy.

Here is a little from the article:

The space is also home to Milwaukee Comedy, the production company run by Matt Kemple. A comedian and producer, Kemple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Milwaukee Comedy Festival this year, Aug. 6-9. He says the growing independent comedy shows are the sign of a strengthening scene.

“One of the best things we have is the community itself. It’s supportive; there are a lot of people that want the scene to survive and want to work with other comedians,” Kemple explains. “A number of years ago, people would drive to Chicago to see comedy. They wouldn’t even pretend to think it was happening in town. That’s not the case anymore.


We did this interview a while ago, so it was a nice surprise when it came out this week. It’s worth the read. You can take a look at the entire article here.