Over The Limit Comedy Fest (Overview) Feat. Matt Braunger

Over The Limit 2020 Comedy Fest was a massive success. The overall attendance was expected to be somewhere around 200, but the event sold a total of 500 tickets and raised $20,000 for the Safe Ride Foundation. As of the show night, SOS safe ride has prevented over 13,000 DUIs in Frederick County.

I asked founder and president of The Safe Ride Foundation and emcee of the event, Wayne Dorsey, some questions about the foundation, the fest’s history and comedy downtown.

How did the idea come about for the over the limit fest?

As a comedian myself, I’ve been fortunate enough to host a ton of shows over the years, and when we were coming up with ideas for fundraising events at Safe Ride, I thought “hey why not a comedy festival?” People  who know me understand that I’m more of a ‘shoot first’ type of person, so it didn’t take long for the idea to then come to fruition in its first form ~

What are the links between comedy and having a community support a cause?

You probably noticed, the show isn’t very uptight and doesn’t really play by the rules in terms of content, and for me that’s a good thing because that often times can describe parts of our organization too.  One thing that our supporters really have appreciated about us over the years is that we are somewhat of an “unapologetic” nonprofit… meaning that we try to shy away from the “dog and pony show” that you typically see in the charity world. Sure, we make sure that people understand our ultimate goal, and it goes without saying that we take our mission/work of stopping drunk diving very seriously; but raising awareness and changing the world is supposed to be fulfilling, it’s supposed to be fun.  So why not do it in a way that is inherently a fun time, by making people laugh.

In the third year of the fest, how has it grown and what did you learn from the first two?

I’d say the main thing we’ve learned is how to properly negotiate haha.  Booking comedians who have a name/following isn’t particularly cheap, and rightfully so as they bring a lot of value to what we’re presenting.  For our second installment of the festival, we booked one of my favorite comedians, Maria Bamford. After the show we got to talking, and she was gracious enough to give us a lot of insight on how to talk to managers/agents, how to make attractive offers, and what big name comedians like herself are looking for when deciding where to take their tours.  It was pretty fascinating.

With the success of the third year, do you expect you’ll do a 4th fest?

Absolutely, and can’t wait for it.  Definitely stay tuned at www.overthelimitcomedyfest.com

How can people learn more about Safe Ride?

We do a number of different projects around Frederick County in order to try and attack drunk driving from all angles; however the thing we’re of course known for is the SOS Safe Ride program.  To find out all of the details, simply head to www.sossaferide.org  and even download the SOS Safe Ride app on your phone!  Also, a big thing that we always drive home (pun intended), is that money is great and all, but the best gift that you can ever give this organization is your time. Volunteer and help save a life in Frederick County. 

Unrelated, but where can the Frederick community find out about more local comedy events?

That’s Easy.  The literal hub for local Frederick comedy is The Cellar Door on Market Street.  Every Tuesday night (8pm) there is a free open mic comedy night for new and veteran comics alike.  In addition, on every Sunday they hire nationally-touring comedians for their weekly showcase performance, which is just $10 at the door and is a phenomenal Frederick date night. The shows at Cellar Door are both run by local production outfit Wreck’d Em Comedy.

Below you’ll find my overviews of the different comedians that performed at the fest.

Wayne Dorsey

A seemingly unsure tone limboed between jokes in a deep voice dominated by calm energy. Dressed snazzily in a fresh suit, the brand of comedy jumped from topic to topic seamlessly.  “What do you call a second date with Bill Cosby? audience member: “I don’t know” Dorsey: “No, that’s the first night actually.” Dorsey is never afraid to joke about a controversial person like Bill Cosby and keep the room at ease and laughing hysterically. The audience vibe was completely carefree and joyful. Towards the end it all tied together as Dorsey joked about the under the limit name was founded. 

Ashley Pontius

Ashley Pontius

Her dad was in the audience and she riffed, “When your daughter has failed college three times and now you pay to see her do comedy.” Pontius joked and pleaded about “Being single and 27 is a weird age – you’re full grown but still young enough for dating apps.” Self-deprecation reaches its finest peaks; it all leads to honest jokes about the body and how weird certain parts can look. The audience reacted with steady laughs. “I love activism and I think I have found my cause… ASS EATING”

I was seemingly enjoying Chevalier’s set so much that I forgot to snap a picture of him on stage.

Bryce Chevalier

You’ll see him open mics or on his FB page where he posts the funniest and silliest videos/photos that always make my day. As he was introduced it was noted he is about to go on a tour. Chevalier came out with a very hilarious tone off the bat. His enunciation and vocal style have an almost SNL californian voice. Full circle jokes often start somewhere and land in an even funnier destination than imagined. “It’s a confusing world in pants for men these days – everything is tight” – When I’m not doing comedy I am a part time rapper… (w)rapper of burgers at McDonalds.” Chevalier’s most off the wall jokes contain subjects like his boss pooping and the scariest movie he’s ever seen being an unlabeled vhs in his parents closet.

Matt Braunger

Matt Braunger

It’s always awesome when a comedian the likes of Braunger comes to the Weinberg stage. I had the privilege of seeing Louie Anderson on it in 2018. Braunger’s acting performances in numerous fun shows and hilarious stand up specials made for an entertaining performance from someone who clearly has the ability to master the art of making an audience laugh.

Some fun moments from Braunger’s set:

Braunger asks crowd what their favorite drug is and someone calls out “POT!” in a loud and nearly startling yell, instantly Braunger jokes that the person was very ready for someone to ask that question and obviously doesn’t smoke enough pot by the speed and velocity of the yell.

Braunger explained that he and his wife have catch phrases they use from things they have witnessed together. He recounts a story where they saw a drunk couple where the woman was dragging the man she shouted, “GIMME THAT DIOCK!” Braunger joked about his wife using the phrase in random situations.

The night ended with Braunger bringing up a volunteer to read an ass tattoo (he got the tattoo as part of a deal with his wife) and the result was the end to a hilarious full circle story.

Author: whatisfrederick

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