About two and a half years ago, we wrote about Aaron Rodgers going on Pete Holmes’ great  You Made It Weird podcast and telling the comedian about the time he saw “a UFO” in New Jersey back in 2005. Since that podcast was posted, Rodgers led the Packers to approximately 500 miracle wins and Holmes became the star of Crashing, a semi-biographical HBO show that chronicles the comic’s path in stand-up. With season three on the way, it appears Holmes still has tons of material left to use for the show.

Holmes recently had fellow comedian (and Milwaukee native) Tom Clark on his podcast. Though the nearly two-hour conversation touched a number of topics, the discussion made its way to comedy, and each of their experiences at clubs in Wisconsin. Clark talks about starting out at The Safe House, being taught improv by Dan Harmon, and performing at bygone local clubs like Funny Business (later Stooge’s) and Club Comedy. Eventually, the conversation touches on the now-shuttered Comedy Cafe.

“I used to do a lot of shows in Milwaukee with John Roy, too,” Holmes says. “I would be jealous because in the paper, they didn’t show photos of the emcee. So it’d be like ‘The Comedy Cafe’ and it’d have a little photo in the middle. So it’d be John and a big photo of…I’m trying to remember who was headlining. Oh, Jim Florentine did it once. And then Doctor Dirty.”

Holmes also recalled the Cafe’s famously dingy comedy condo where performers stayed.

“And [we] stayed at that shitty ass condo,” Holmes says. “There were so many carpets! So much carpeting, and so many stains. And that bed.”

Comedy Cafe gets off easy compared to the Skyline Comedy Club. The comedians follow their Milwaukee condo discussion with some remarks about the Appleton club’s accommodations. Holmes wasn’t a fan.

“The emcee bedroom didn’t have a door. It was just a curtain. I forget who it is—somebody had a story about listening to the emcee having all this sex with people because you didn’t have a door. He’s just fucking in the living room, basically.

“Boy, I remember getting to Appleton, and I think that was the last condo I stayed in. Not that it was bad—I mean, it was bad. I got there and I was just like ‘Oh no!’ Like, I think I went out and immediately bought a handle of vodka because I was like, ‘If I’m going to stay here, I’m going to have to be drunk at night.’

“I’d come back. No one else was staying there. It was like laptop. Vodka. Because it was too sad. It was depressing. I don’t want to bad-mouth it. It’s a great club. The condo is, you know, basic.”

The Milwaukee and Appleton comedy club talk starts around the 24-minute mark. It’s not all condo-bashing, though. Clark has an awesome story about being heckled by Mitch Hedberg at Comedy Cafe. He talks about performing with Harmon and Rob Schrab as part of The Dead Alewives improv troupe, and he has extremely kind words about the “Milwaukee Collaborative” (The Underground Collaborative).

You can listen to the full episode below.

About The Author

Tyler Maas
Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.