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Arts & Culture

New Orleans: A Comedy Destination

From improv to sketch to standup, comedy in New Orleans is booming. Listen as we talk with co-founders of The New Movement, Tami Nelson and J Hunt.

New Orleans is known for its music, food, and unique culture, but during the recent resurgence of life and creativity in the city, New Orleans’ comedy scene has been steadily on the rise. Nowadays, you can find standup comedy every night of the week here, but a big reason for the growth in comedy offerings in New Orleans is the hard and hilarious work of the founders, performers, and students at The New Movement comedy theatre in the Marigny, just steps off of Frenchmen Street. On this episode of GoNOLA Radio, our hosts Mikko, Lorin Gaudin, and George Ingmire talk with co-founders and comedy performers of the New Orleans theatre, Tami Nelson and CJ Hunt.

Tami Nelson and Chris Trew founded The New Movement in Austin, Texas after leaving New Orleans because of Katrina, but the two, like so many New Orleanians, wanted to find a way to bring what they loved back home to New Orleans, so they teamed up with members of the improv and sketch performance group Stupid Time Machine, of which CJ is a member, here in NOLA to open The New Movement New Orleans. For so many people looking to pursue or enjoy live comedy, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are the places you’ve had to go, but the goal of The New Movement has been to change all that.

new orleans podcastWith a full comedy conservatory including a year-long, five-level improv training program, as well as sketch classes and weekend workshops with guest instructors like Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall) and Brandon Gardner (Upright Citizens Brigade); a huge, week-long annual comedy festival, Hell Yes Fest, featuring top-level comedy talent from around the country; a comedy conference and festival, Improv Wins (in Austin); a recently published improv book by the same name, “Improv Wins;” and not to mention a full schedule of comedy improv and sketch shows every Thursday through Sunday, The New Movement is helping to create a stand-out comedy destination in the South.

The performers that you will see on the stage at The New Movement are all trained at the theatre, aside from the touring comics that also come through, and what’s special is that many of the TNM performers have very normal day jobs, and by nights they become comedy super heroes, taking the stage, getting big laughs, and making a big difference in the comedy community. With an incredible crop of comedy performers to utilize, people like CJ Hunt are now able to band together with others and create incredible things like his new web series, Sunken City, which he co-created and stars in with his partner in comedy, Kyle June Williams. This comedy web series was inspired by the incredibly unique characters of our city, which is also the basis for the now prominent local comedy scene.

Listen to this episode of GoNOLA Radio to find out more about the New Orleans comedy scene that has caught national attention!

GoNOLA Radio is a free New Orleans podcast hosted by Sunpie BarnesLorin GaudinGeorge Ingmire and Mikko about the food, music and culture of the Crescent City. Subscribe to GoNOLA Radio on iTunes or download to your mobile device on Stitcher. GoNOLA Radio features music by Cale Pellick.

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