By SHAWN SKAGER
Auburn Reporter Sports Reporter
Apr 17 2009, 8:00 AM
On April 24, Comedy Mayhem is coming to the Auburn Avenue Theater.
Featuring award-winning comedians Eric Haines and Louie Foxx, the Comedy Mayhem tour takes comedy and magic a step further, creating a visual smorgasbord featuring elements of stand-up comedy, magic, music and vaudeville.
For Haines, who performs as a singer, guitarist, banjo player, marionette puppeteer, unicyclist, juggler and stilt walker, the show is a chance to break out of the normal constraints of stand-up.
“Comedy clubs actually discourage these types of acts,” he said. “They just want stand up. There is an aesthetic in the stand-up world that any props are a crutch. This is visual comedy. I grew up on Looney Tunes, The Muppet Show and Bruce Lee movies, where it’s visual. It’s not just somebody standing there and doing jokes or pulling something out of a hat.”
Haines added that the show even skews into vaudeville at times.
“You’ll see some stuff similar to vaudeville where the performers have been perfecting their skills for a lifetime,” Haines said. “I wanted to have a comedy show with magicians that work in comedy rather than people that just have circus skills. And it’s all very visual. It’s something that is really engaging for the people watching it.”
In addition to Haines, a professional comedian since 1995 and winner of the Northwest Comedy Competition, the Comedy Mayhem tour features Foxx, who has been working as a comedian and magician since 1996.
“He’s an excellent magician,” Haines said. “He is really, really good. He’s a good comedian, also. I know some magicians that are great that pull off the act well, but they’re not as funny. Louie has a background in stand-up and street work as well that makes him very engaging on stage. He has that as part of his background, and he’s hard to take your eyes off once he’s on the stage.”
In addition to magic, Foxx also brings his skills as a bullwhip artist, lasso spinner and hand shadow puppet master to the show. In 1996, the Society of American Magicians voted Foxx Best Stage Magician.
According to Haines, the duo have been performing the Comedy Mayhem tour since 2006.
“Right now it’s a side thing for us, and we spend most of our time working on our own careers,” he said, adding that he hoped to devote more time to the show in the future.
“The reaction to the show has been great,” Haines said. “When we pull it out, it’s been really good.”
Haines said one of his favorite parts of the act is Foxx’s cups and ball routine.
“You don’t know what he’s doing, but you’re laughing while you’re watching it,” he said. “And you can’t take your eyes off of it.”
Haines noted his stilt walking routine is a favorite, too.
“I do a 10-foot-tall cowboy routine, so that has to be one of my favorite parts of the act,” Haines said.
Haines added that the luxury of working with another comedian and magician also lends the show a richness that might not otherwise be attainable without a partner.
“We get to change it up a little bit,” he said.
The Comedy Mayhem Show is recommended for audiences 18 and older. It begins at 7:30 p.m. April 24. Tickets are $17, $15 for students and seniors and are available in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Auburn Parks, Arts and Recreation offices at 910 Ninth St. S.E. Tickets are also available online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/58389w.