“At the time, there was no place in New Orleans to pursue comedy. There was no leadership,” said comedian Chris Trew. He first got into comedy as a student at LSU, but found himself unable to pursue his dreams in his favorite city.
So the seed was planted. Chris decided he wanted to open up a space in New Orleans to teach improv and sketch classes, and to offer free opportunities to get on stage. But after Hurricane Katrina, Chris relocated to Austin, where he and Tami Nelson started The New Movement in 2009. “The game plan was always to move back to New Orleans,” he said. “As soon as it got to the level of success we needed, we came here.”
Chris is very thankful for the rapid growth of The New Movement in New Orleans. “We have gone from no theater, to getting a theater and doing shows and classes, to outgrowing that space and opening up a new theater that has five times the amount of space,” he said. “It’s like a comedy campus.” The current incarnation of the New Movement is located on St. Claude Avenue.
To complement The New Movement and the growth of the comedy scene in New Orleans, Chris also helped start Hell Yes Fest, a comedy festival featuring shows, workshops and even a film fest component. This year’s Hell Yes Fest takes place from Nov. 12-16.
Chris and I chatted about Hell Yes Fest and the shows he was most looking forward to. He was kind enough to outline his ideal Hell Yes Fest Schedule:
Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Cafe Istanbul – “We always open with a showcase of local comedians.”
Thursday, Nov. 13 at Cafe Istanbul – “Late Bit. If you like video games and comedy, you’ll love the show!”
Friday, Nov. 14 at Cafe Istanbul – “The Grawlix. They’re a group from Denver and are very, very talented. They’re all on the cusp of making it big time.”
Saturday, Nov. 15 at Allways Lounge – “Standup Records. They’re a comedy record label.”
Sunday, Nov. 16 at The New Movement – “Our Kickstarter sketch show. We allowed people who donated to our Kickstarter for The New Movement to write a sketch for this show.”
In addition to these recommendations, Chris also suggested checking out Power Violence from L.A. and Wham City from Baltimore. “We also have a pro wrestler Colt Cabanna as one of our headliners,” he said. “And we have competitive, erotic fan fiction, where people compete to come up with the weirdest, grossest, most bizarre stuff.”
Other than The New Movement and Hell Yes Fest, Chris has some other projects, including his podcast Trew 2 the Game, his show Air Sex World Championships, and his rap label Terp2it.
20 Questions with Chris Trew
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
This is my current answer, but it may change. New Orleans Pelican power forward Anthony Davis. He’s gonna be the best NBA player to ever put on a New Orleans jersey. I’m excited about him making New Orleans an NBA city again.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
I was born here. I ended up in Austin after Katrina, but I ultimately came back to New Orleans. I knew what I wanted to do with my life and this is where I wanted to do it.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
I’m gonna go with the Marigny just for the sheer amount of shows to see and ways to support the creative community. There are so many theaters and performance venues in the area.
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
Audubon Park. City Park’s all the way over there! (in Mid City) But City Park is cool too.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
The best meal I’ve had in New Orleans is the Cobb Salad at Stein’s Deli. I like it ’cause they let me modify it. It makes me feel very special.
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
I’m more of a smoothie and juice guy, so I’m really into Superfood Bar. I prefer my big, crazy, “theres-no-way-I-can-make-this-myself-at-home” smoothie to traditional brunch food.
7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
I love the sliders at District Donuts, Sliders, and Brew. They replace po-boys where I’m currently at in my life. If they ever make a po-boy donut, we’re all in trouble!
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
We’re definitely doing the “get a drink to go and then walk around the French Quarter” thing. I don’t care how cliché it is. I think it’s important for people to walk around the French Quarter with a cocktail.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
Verret’s Lounge – it’s on Washington Avenue heading away from the river.
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I am a huge fan of the Pecan Old Fashioned at Tomas Bistro.
11. Snowball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
Easy! Pimm’s Cup daiquiri from St. Lawrence. That’s the best daiquiri in the city!
12. Best spot to see live music?
I’m a big One Eyed Jack’s guy.
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
Hell Yes Fest! I’m obviously biased, but it’s just the only festival like it in NOLA. There are multiple food, music, film festivals, etc., but there’s only one comedy festival.
15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?
I like all the Wednesday and Thursday parades, like Muses, Nyx, and Chaos, more than the super parades.
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
I buy my food from Good Eggs. I’m a very big fan of Good Eggs delivery service, supporting local farmers. As for other types of shopping … I haven’t had new clothes in a very long time.
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
I watch the Saints play in my living room, with Twitter open, because it’s my responsibility to call out people saying stupid things on Twitter during the games. My podcast Trew 2 the Game comes out every Tuesday. It’s one of the highest rated local sports podcasts.
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
This is hard for me because I’m a sucker for this city and I think I’m always falling in love. I’m deeply, passionately, constantly in love.