You have to hand it to Milwaukee comedians for continually churning out new, interesting, and sometimes just plain weird ideas for stand-up showcases. In recent months, comics have ridiculed videos of their old material, performed in their underwear, and wore costumes for the duration of a ghoulishly funny Halloween set. The concept of tonight’s “Ryan Rumble” at Hybrid Lounge straddles the thin line between total genius and absolutely jumping the shark. The brainchild of Hot Room Comedy Showcase co-hosts Christopher Schmidt and Phil Davidson will bring three comedians to the stage who share one striking similarity: They’re all named Ryan.
Being the 25th most popular boy’s name of the 1970s (37th overall), 14th most popular boy’s name of the ’80s (18th overall), and 14th most popular boy’s name of the ’90s (16th overall), it’s actually surprising they could only round up three for this event. Yet the three similarly-named comics have another thing in common that make this show with an admittedly strained premise a must-attend: They’re some of the most talented stand-up comedians to call Milwaukee home. Ryan Holman made a name for himself with satisfying opening sets during Dave Chappelle’s Pabst Theater run last fall. Ryan Lowe been an influential and inventive figure in Milwaukee comedy for a decade. Ryan Mason has shared the stage with heavy-hitting humorists like Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Posehn, and more in his comparably brief time doing stand-up. Before they stack their material against one another tonight to determine which of them is the funniest guy in Milwaukee named Ryan, we sent Holman, Lowe, and Mason a questionnaire about the first name that’s grown synonymous with laughter in Milwaukee.
Experience growing up with the name Ryan
Holman: “I feel like it’s one of those names where people don’t really expect too much from you. Its not a serious enough name where people expect you to, finish college or get an important job, so it definitely lent and lends itself well to being the name of a life long smart ass.
Lowe: “There was one other Ryan, Ryan Uphoff, when I lived in Madison. He was the coolest kid in the neighborhood. It sure would be cool if he showed up as a surprise guest! He also had a shitload of Legos.”
Mason: “I didn’t know any Ryans who were adults, so as a child, I thought I had a very ‘little kid’ name. I didn’t like it. Also, every other male in my family is named Roger, so obviously, I felt left out for not getting the family name.”
Favorite thing about the other two Ryans
Holman: “All the hard work that they have put into the comedy scene. Whether it’s been producing shows or films, they always seem to be working on something.”
Lowe: “My favorite thing about Holman is he’s an outstanding kisser. Real top-notch stuff he’s got there. Ryan Mason is an asshole, but he does have a tattoo of a pony on his thoracic area. Someday, that I will have it as a wallet.”
Mason: “My favorite thing about Ryan Holman is his passion for art. He loves music and seeing people perform in all different ways. It’s really fun just to pick his brain about what artists he’s currently into and what shows he’s looking forward to. Ryan Lowe is always someone whose comedy I really appreciate because of how many risks he takes. Off stage, I like making fun of him for being old and bald.”
Who each considers to be the funniest Ryan in or around Milwaukee
Holman: “I hate trying to quantify funny, personally.”
Lowe: “Paul Ryan.”
Mason: “Ryan Braun, just based on his t-shirt selections. The funniest Ryan [in the world] is actually Ryan Reynolds when he wore a fat suit for that movie Just Friends in 2005.”
Thoughts on “Ryne” being used as a name
Holman: “I’ve always hated the name Ryne, I have a cousin from the south with a major accent that always pronounced my name like Ryne looks, and it made me cringe. If it weren’t for Ryne Sandberg no one would ever have taken the name seriously at all.”
Lowe: “That’s not a real name. It is an abomination and a crime against nature.”
Mason: “That’s not a real name. It’s not a name.”
People mistaking their name for “Brian” when being introduced
Holman: “I only have to correct about seven out of 10 people when they think I’ve said my name is ‘Brian’ rather than ‘Ryan.’ So its not all that bad. I’ve probably spent eight days of my life correcting people thus far.”
Lowe: “All the time. Enough so that I just give up and commit to pronouncing whatever their stupid name is with a ‘B,’ Like ‘Btyler’ or ‘Bveronica.’
Mason: “Every day. No shade to all the Brian’s out there, but why is it that everyone assumes you’re a Bryan? I don’t believe anyone named Brian has ever been asked if their name was actually ‘Ryan’ and if one of them tells you different, they are lying. Typical lying Brians. That’s what I say.”
The Ryan Rumble with Ryan Holman, Ryan Lowe, and Ryan Mason hits the stage at Hybrid Lounge at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19. The 21+ show is free.