Local improv comedians share what it’s like to perform, plus where to catch SNL’s Jay Pharoah in Charlotte


Uptown Charlotte is about to get a whole lot funnier, as it prepares for The Queen City Comedy Experience, a four-day comedy festival September 27-30 at Blumenthal Arts’ Spirit Square.

Joining Sallie Funderburk in the podcast studio are the festival’s founders and local improv comics Cale Evans and Elizabeth “E.B.” Byland. This one gets a little out of control.

E.B. Byland, Sallie Funderburk and Cale Evans

Tune in to listen…

What does comedy mean to you?

Cale: “I think comedy means something different for a lot of people. And like me, comedy was a defense mechanism, it was a way of kind of finding my voice. And then it wasn’t until much later in life that I found that performing comedy could be a hobby.”

Cale: “What does it mean to you, E.B.? Please make sure your answer is academy-worthy.”

E.B.: “Well, to build off of what Cale just said, I would also agree with that and I would say that comedy is taking your own unique self, your own voice, your own truth, and be willing and open enough to share that truth with everyone else.”

Cale: (makes snoozing noise)

E.B.: “Because essentially, that’s the foundation to all comedy, right, is truth. But I think that’s what makes it so tough, is being willing to be vulnerable enough to share whatever that truthful experience is, that truthful story, but you’re doing it in sort of a fun, and perhaps lighthearted way.

So improv has been both of your choices of comedy. What’s the difference between improv and standup, and which one is harder?

E.B.: “They both rely on a truthful circumstance of some kind. The only difference, though, is in standup, is it’s prepared before you step on stage. It’s a written format usually. Often times they practice through it to make sure there’s a good set up and a punch line…I’m also answering this question and I gotta tell you I have never really taken, I guess, a full stand up class, and you know why? Because it scares me so much.”

Really? What scares you about it? The prepared material?

E.B.: “I think so, and the idea of having to write it, and edit it, and present that. I mean, talk about being vulnerable right?”

Cale: “I think I know what scares you…standup is individually focused, right? When I’m up there I’m making these folks laugh. Improv is more of a team effort. It’s a collaborative effort. If you’re not with it or you’re not funny, there’s somebody right next to you that can pick it up.”

Make sure to get your tickets to The Queen City Comedy Experience featuring acts like Jay Pharoah, Randy Rainbow and more. Get your tickets here.

Featured image via queencitycomedy on Instagram

The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich.

You can follow us on Twitter @CharlotteFive, on Instagram @cltfive, and on Facebook, and you can shoot us an email to charlottefive@charlottefive.com.


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