Different sizes and types of white guys sitting on stools on a stage, a couple talking into mics

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SFPd9yE8ZdRtkQUQiOz8VmV3UWG2uoQ3gw1-MIBHNpc/edit?usp=sharing

Columbus’ own anarcho-comedy duo Street Fight Radio will perform alongside Chapo Trap House as part of the Chapo Trap House tour for their book The Chapo Guide to Revolution on October 10. They both represent a revolution in comedy.

Street Fight Radio started as a community radio show on the local WCRS LP (92.7 & 98.3) in 2011 and now has fans around the world. It was a project by two local comedians, Brett Payne and Bryan Quinby, who were disenchanted with the state of comedy in Central Ohio and wanted to do their own thing. The two started performing skits and providing a working-class anarchist critique of politics. In 2016, the show transitioned from a hobby project to a full-blown gig as the duo found success with the crowd funding platform Patreon. I asked Bryan what about their recent success.

"I really think we got popular during the 2016 primary when people were disillusioned with the Democrats after they picked Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. We started Street Fight because we were disenchanted with the comedy scene in Columbus and decided to focus our energy there. We didn’t think it would become our job, but after that week we realized that we had something and started working on getting people to the Patreon. We got our first goal of $5000a month by promising a third Show a week which has morphed in to a non-canon version of Street Fight where we talk to our friends and focus on a lot of non-political stuff.

“Once we hit that goal, we launched the ‘zine and that bumped us up more. That got us to a point where we could do the live shows and those have led more people to the radio show. I also think that narrowing our focus to real life and work after a lot of podcasts (including Chapo) came up made us into something that people really identify with and they want us to succeed."

Chapo Trap House, hosts of the political humor podcast, are making a stop in Columbus for their book tour on Wednesday October 10. A provocative crew of rabblerousers from New York City whose uncensored antics, vulgar socialism and lack of respect for political decorum has led to articles decrying them in the New Yorker, New Republic, The Federalist and the Guardian. Street Fight gets mentioned as a podcast where they got their start, I asked Bryan for a little bit more of the back story.

"Right around the time that we were getting our footing with Street Fight, a community was forming on Twitter of people with leftist politics that also just liked to mess around and tell jokes. This was where we met the guys that would become Chapo Trap House. Will Menaker has been on multiple times to guest host and talk about Sons of Anarchy and other Kurt Sutter projects while Matt Christman would talk about gross chain restaurant food and even went to and documented an Americans for Prosperity convention with Bryan. When Felix Biederman, another frequent Street Fight guest and zine contributor decided to do a podcast he chose them because he heard them on Street Fight and already knew they were good at performing.

“Chapo Trap House launched in 2016 to huge numbers and after a few months began to receive attention from traditional media. The first Chapo Trap House X Street Fight Radio Live Show was at Everybody Hits in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention. Since then both shows have gone on to do successful tours and live performances on their own but every once in awhile, when the stars align, they get back together and it is always great. After doing this in New York City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Chicago we are finally doing on in the hometown of Street Fight Radio, Columbus Ohio."

Both Street Fight and Chapo Trap House are part of a new trend of comedians building their careers by appealing directly to their fans rather than submitting to the constraints of the entertainment industry. Chapo is one the largest benefactors of the Patreon website, with over 23,000 people giving the collective approximately 100K a month to put out their show.

Fans are drawn to their uncensored skepticism towards the political establishment, their foul-mouthed humor and their willingness to say things that would get them booted from the mainstream media. The Chapo people also have some connections with the Brooklyn DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) and are part of the resurgence of socialism. When Ocasio-Cortez upset the Democratic establishment, Chapo Trap House members were on the scene streaming live from her campaign headquarters. Chapo is worth checking out because they represent a form socialism with a sense of the humor that has started slinging jokes rather than being the butt of them.

They're performing at the former Free Mason Hall turned corporate event and wedding reception mecca, the Athenaeum Theater downtown at 32 N. 4th Street on October 10 at 8pm. Tickets are still available onlineas of time of writing. It's an all-ages show so the money you spend will go to the performers rather than bar owner.

Disclaimer: Robb Ebright helps run WCRS-LP the radio station that airs a live call-in show by Street Fight Radio every Sunday around 11pm streaming on wcrstm.org and on the air at 92.7 and 98.3

Appears in Issue: 

Free Press History: