When we last caught up with Greg Bach (excluding the time he drove us to Chicago to try to get drunk at a Taco Bell), the late-blooming comedian was making up for lost stage time by performing as much as possible with as many comedians and in as many places as he could. Over the last year-plus, Bach made good on his aspirations for increased shows and, along the way, he climbed a few rungs up the writing ladder at Chicago’s Second City, developed an interesting new storytelling showcase, and started a promising young Simpsons-related podcast.
Prior to tomorrow night’s edition of his Throwback Thursday event, Milwaukee Record spoke to Bach about the unique show, why he and Tyler Menz started “A Visitor’s Guide To Springfield,” and whether he’s nervous to open for one of his favorite touring comics next weekend.
Milwaukee Record: So we spoke a while back and at that point, you were getting your footing in stand-up. But since then, you’ve delved a little more into improv, did some writing at Second City, and you’ve developed a new showcase at Var Gallery, Throwback Thursday. What led you to wanting to do a storytelling show like that?
Greg Bach: I wanted to do a show, but I didn’t just want to do a showcase, I didn’t want to do a club-style show. I just like the idea of comedians telling stories. I feel that even if a comedian is a one-liner comic, they still have great stories. So I wanted to put together a venue that showcased that side of them, whether it was their normal set or something different. It allows them to work on material or just expand themselves on stage.
MR: Yeah, I could see comics being excited to do this because it’s an outlier from their normal act. They can show a different side of themselves and expand. And you’re also expanding—and this isn’t an anomaly altogether—but you get a varied mix of local people, people from Chicago, and some from Madison.
GB: Yeah. I want to get more from Madison, but it’s a good mix from Chicago and Milwaukee, and a good mix of different individuals. I want to showcase all different types of comedians, get their stories and their takes on life. We’ve had people talk about very serious topics in a comedic way, and we’ve had people talk about silly topics. I want to get experiences to fit every demographic this city is.
MR: With it being in an intimate gallery setting, that must make performers more apt to open up because they’re in a supportive, small room.
GB: There’s an art to it. You see people performing art on stage in a room full of local art, with someone like Josh Hintz, who’s just a fervent supporter of all the arts in this city, whether it’s performance, painting, whatever. The people on stage love it because it’s just a comfortable environment and it feels really good to be there.
MR: Another relatively new thing you’re working on is a Simpsons-related podcast, “A Visitor’s Guide To Springfield.” If I’m not wrong, it’s you and Tyler Menz, and one of you loves The Simpsons and the other one never really watched the show or has taken an interest in it.
GB: The tag is “It’s a show starring a super fan and a guy who’s heard of the show.” And I’m the guy who’s heard of the show. When you’re in comedy, you hear the The Simpsons continuously, and there are very little things on that show I know for sure. It’s friendly jabbing, but you get a lot of criticism for not watching The Simpsons. One day, I messaged Tyler about the idea and he said “let’s do it.” From conception to birth, it was a matter of a couple weeks. We got right into it and it’s been a lot of fun. It really has.
MR: And the first six or seven were you two, but now you’re bringing in some guests?
GB: Yeah. We had our first guest, Zach Peterson, and we have a few with other guests already recorded that we’re releasing in upcoming weeks. Most will be just Tyler and myself, but we have plenty of good people on the block. I get to watch it as a first-timer and look at it from the point of view of an adult, a comedian, and a writer. Tyler gets to look at it from a point of nostalgia and re-watching episodes he hasn’t seen in a while. I don’t dislike The Simpsons, I just never got into it. For me, this is the perfect way to introduce myself to it.
MR: So you have a relatively new showcase and a new podcast. What else is on the docket for you in the near future?
GB: Well, there will probably be a new Dynamo Kickstand show in a few weeks. We’re going to be taking the podcast to Chicago to interview a bunch of comedians there. I’m going to be out of town doing club gigs because that’s starting to pick up now. I’m opening for Hari Kondabolu in Madison in a week and a half, so I’m trying to prepare for that gig. That’s a massive gig for me. I said this even before I got the show with him, he’s probably one of my favorite comedians on Earth. He mixes social, political, and funny so well, and he’s almost the perfect comedian to me.