Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Theater: Life provides fodder for comedians

Cage-Free Comedy Tour coming to the Valentine Theatre


Etta May brings her comedy tour to the Valentine Theatre at 7 p.m. Sunday.


Etta May doesn't have to go far for inspiration for her comedy show, Southern Fried Chicks. She’s living it.

“People ask me how I write my material and I say, man, I’ve got a husband and four kids [ages 8 to 17]. I just wait for them to do something stupid and I write it down,” she said with a laugh. “I should work the rest of my life.”

Etta May, along with Sonya White and Karen Mills, bring their Cage-Free Comedy Tour of “free-range comedy” to the Valentine Theatre at 7 p.m. Sunday. The show features stories, music, audience participation, and more. “We talk about our lives, and fortunately our lives intersect with most of our audience’s lives. We’re all living the same human experience. I’m just doing it in polyester,” Etta May said. (Note to fashionistas: Etta May predicts polyester will be fashionable again before we know it.)

As the winner of the American Comedy Award for funniest female stand-up comic in 1999, perhaps Etta May could consider herself to be following in the footsteps of legendary comedian Minnie Pearl. But Etta May says it’s really a matter of Southern roots.

“If you look at Southern comics, we're all storytellers,” Etta May said. “After Sunday church you went riding around and went visiting, and you sat out on the front porch or the back porch and told stories on each other and gossiped and all those kinds of things.” It is more than telling jokes, she added. It’s observational humor.

The Kentucky comedian has appeared on Oprah, CMT, Showtime, Comic Strip Live, and CMT’s Comedy Stage and on XM/​Sirius Radio comedy channels and the syndicated radio program The Bob and Tom Show. The Southern Fried Chicks’ 2007 CMT comedy special is now available on DVD.

Chicks co-star Karen Mills, a native of Tennessee, can be heard on Sirius/​XM Blue Collar Radio and Laugh USA, and her video, Hot Flash Mob, is on YouTube. She has toured with Joan Rivers and Ron White, according to promotional materials. Sonya White, who originally is from Virginia but now lives in Chicago, brings a big-city edge to Southern Fried Chicks. Her TV credits include Nightshift on Fox, Big Brother Jake on the Family Channel, and MTV’s Spring Break.

The Southern Fried Chicks appear at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Valentine Theatre, 410 N. Superior St. Tickets, $43, $34, and $27, are available from the box office at 419-242-2787 or valentinetheatre.com.


Raffle continues

The sale of tickets for the Toledo Rep fund-raiser “Scrooge’s Favorite Things” Online Raffle continues through Wednesday. Tickets may be purchased for $25 at 16 10th St. during regular business hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or by calling Kathy McGovern at 419-243-9277, ext. 4, during business hours.

Only 120 tickets will be sold now through Nov. 27. Drawings will take place each day from Dec. 1-12. Prizes, valued at $50 and up, include items from The Andersons, Godiva Chocolate, Vito’s Pizza, BP, the Valentine Theatre, Toledo Repertoire Theatre, Toledo Ballet, Libbey Glass, Swan Creek Candle Co., and Tranquil Touch Massage.

To see the winner of the day, go to www.toledorep.org. Proceeds will benefit the theater. Information: 419-243-9277.

Send theater items two weeks in advance to Sue Brickey at: sbrickey@theblade.com.

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