Though often left out of the conversational rift between millennials and Boomers, Generation X’s consolation prize is that, for the past 10 years, it’s had almost full control over the wide-reaching, capital-C comedy landscape. Mr. Show writers, UCB founders, Channel 101 weirdos, and all other stripes of alt-comedy mainstays are ending the decade as moguls, having built platform-transcending empires by embracing both new and old forms of content production and distribution, as well as a “never stop hustling” ethos.
With so many of the last decade’s success stories having percolated within it, this generational vice grip has also wrapped firmly around L.A.’s live theater comedy scene. But as the labor and sexual politics fomented by the Trump and #MeToo eras brought scrutiny to certain comics, shows and venues, many a once-sacred cow fell out of vogue. Change has always been the industry’s only constant, and as we enter a new decade — anyone on TikTok already knows this — the funny of the 2020s will be dictated by younger Millennials and Gen Z.
Seven sold-out shows in, Everything’s Great, provides a window into the intrinsically diverse, equity-minded, and free-form nature of L.A.’s “cool kids” comedy future, if not the larger ecosystem. Hosted by Nick Kocher, Demi Adejuyigbe and Addie Weyrich, Everything’s Great! is a monthly showcase of genre-defying humor that has quickly become a must-stop for the industry’s rising stars. Fittingly, its home is in one of the city’s hippest venues, Macarthur Park’s Dynasty Typewriter theater.
The inception for the show came from former SNL writer Kocher’s desire for “a means of getting [to do stand]up regularly,” he says. Hoping to push his own boundaries by including comic friends who ran in different circles, Kocher reached out to Adejuyigbe after learning the living viral-video fave was doing more offline comedy. The two knew they wanted an energetic female third to round out their reserved, male-but-not-masculine energy, so they brought on comedian and writer Weyrich, who Kocher describes as “Surge cola manifested as a person.”
As the hosts planned and began producing shows, gradually incorporating more sketch, multimedia and audience participation into their performances between guest comic sets, the show veered away from Kocher’s original vision and took on a life of its own.
“I figured it would get me 10 minutes of time a month to experiment with stuff in a tiny place,” says Kocher. “But once we got this great venue and started getting big guests and huge crowds, it quickly became something where I didn’t want I try out stuff, per se. I really want to do well at my show.”
Everything’s Great! shows typically begin with the trio together for a skit and each host is later given a few minutes of solo play between guest performances. One show kicked off with the hosts riding (and subsequently ditching) three Bird scooters in the middle of the small stage. The main event of November’s was a $200 cash prize contest to find the non-male, non-white audience member who looked most like Kocher, a white male. This sort of casual, conversational relationship with the crowd is baked into most of the content. Kocher and Weyrich occasionally do more narrative-driven stand-up for their spots, but the vast majority have skewed experimental. As with his digital output, Adejuyigbe’s live segments are more multimedia-heavy, often involving PowerPoint, music, or both, like when he belted an ode to the macaque who went viral in 2012 for walking into an Ikea in a shearling coat.
“It’s been fun to do the show and figure out what each of us like doing and what we want to change,” remarks Adejuyigbe. “Because we have this every month, we end up doing a lot of things that need time to put together, and that helps you figure out what you really love doing on stage.”
Though the hosts blanch at the “variety show” label, it’s not just their performances that give Everything’s Great! its unique format. From the outset, the show championed a spectrum of talent from both in and outside the realm of traditional stand-up. Along with material from big names like Kyle Kinane, Sasheer Zamata and Joel Kim Booster, it’s featured more musically inclined acts like rapper Open Mike Eagle or Carl Tart and Drew Tarver’s “bro-country” parody act, Memphis Kansas Breeze. Just last month, the hosts found themselves in uncharted territory after giving the stage over to the sexually-explicit modern clowning of Natalie Palamides who, much to their surprise, went on to portray a naïve mermaid exploring hew new legs and vagina after a “true love’s kiss” magically shed her fish tail, leaving her nude from the waist down.
“When I think of a stand-up show, sometimes I think of one person hosting for a bunch of comics and people might leave after one or two performances,” explains Weyrich. “We’re curating an event that feels full from start to finish and I hope people leave our thing having favorite moments but, in entirety, thinking ‘wow, I just saw a really great show!’”
Another major factor differentiating Everything’s Great! from the decade’s most popular live alt-comedy showcases is the prioritization of pay- each show’s comics get paid that night. Recognizing the compensation sea change rippling through the industry and hoping to help establish a shift in trends, the show’s producer, Erik Abriss, pitched the idea to the hosts after Adejuyigbe recruited him to the project. The idea was unanimously approved and put into practice at the inaugural show. Citing a desire to give the hosts the freedom to ”just focus on being funny,” Abriss explains that he’s been happily covering these compensations out-of-pocket while allowing returns on house ticket sales to gradually build the show’s operating budget.
While proud of all the ways their show stands apart from others, for Weyrich, one of best parts of its success is the relationship (and “extremely active group chat”) it’s helped foster with her co-hosts. “I have so much gratitude for, not only the show,” she reflects, “but doing it with these two ding-dongs, because I admire them so much and it’s allowed us to become such good friends.
The final Everything’s Great! of the year is happening this Friday, the 20th, with Rachel Bloom, Margaret Cho, and Brian McElhaney booked to perform. If the prospect of staring down the front lines of comedy isn’t enough to get you to check it out, Adejuyigbe is here to sweeten the pot, guaranteeing “at least one technical hiccup” will add excitement over the course of the show.
Everything’s Great! with special Guests Margaret Cho, Rachel Bloom, Brian McElhaney, and more, at Dynasty Typewriter, 2511 Wilshire Blvd. 7 p.m.; over 18; $15. dynastytypewriter.com/calendar/everythingsgreatdec20