2019 Comedians

Matt Bach – Grand Blanc, MI


Matt Bach is excited to return to Oscoda for the second Paul Bunyan Comedy Festival. At last year’s festival he was amazed to see people in shorts waiting for the Dairy Queen to open while there was 5 inches of snow on the ground. But it was 40 degrees out, so why not? Matt is a failed newspaper reporter who at age 48 decided to try stand-up comedy. He is now is approaching his 100th show with performances at Laughfest in Grand Rapids and the Detroit to L.A. Comedy Competition at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak. Focusing on his family, the Grand Blanc resident and has a unique and hilarious perspective on life.

Joe Bates - Indianapolis, IN


A writer for the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show, Joe Bates is a stand up to watch. Bursting with an unearned absurd confidence, Joe manages the balance between realism and lunacy in his act while still remaining grounded. Joe has not only been featured on SeeSo but also was a finalist for Comcast's Trial by Laughter. Joe has worked with such comics as Todd Barry, Matt Braunger, Ms. Pat, and Brooks Wheelan, as well as performed on festivals such as Blue Whale, Come and Take It, Bird City and Whatever Fest. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn to love again. Joe Bates!

Alex Caine – Tucson, AZ

Alex is a not well known comedian. He's from Missouri, Texas, and Arizona depending on who is asking. All you need to know, he has been to the same coffee shop twice a week for two years and none of the staff knows his name.

Tom Chillstrom – Minneapolis, MN


Tom Chillstrom is a comedian worth seeing. With a bright smile and hair that is even brighter it is actually pretty hard to miss him. A rising star in the Twin Cities comedy scene and quickly becoming a favorite of the Upper Midwest, Tom has proven that a bit of wit, genuine stories, and sheer likeability can also be funny.

Ellen Doyle - Van Nuys, CA


Ellen Doyle is a stand up comic, story teller, and profesional tourist originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania and currently based out of Los Angeles, CA. She travels the country with her dog, Ghost, telling jokes to whoever will listen. Ghost was featured on Animal Planets Rescue Dog to Super Dog. Ellen has no on camera TV credits. Dog:1 Owner: 0

Clay Foley - Urbana, IL


Clay Foley loves being a comedian. He can’t hide it. Whether he’s cracking one-liners about soy milk or chronicling his failed marriage, Clay’s eyes say, “Can you believe we’re doing this?” That gratitude - and the ability to turn a killer punch line - have earned him a spot among flyover country’s more compelling comics. 

With an easy and engaging style, Clay describes his human experience. Four decades of life recounted thru the lens of a middle-aged, vegan, former animal cruelty investigator.

Ben Frederick - Bartlett, TN


Ben Frederick is a stand-up, improviser, and writer from Memphis, Tennessee. His eclectic style has earned him multiple "Best of Memphis" nominations as well as First Runner-Up "Funniest Person in Memphis."  He is currently a member and producer of the Bluff City Liars improv troupe and producer of "3 Course Comedy".

Trevor Gertonson - Chicago, IL


Trevor Gertonson started in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Acme Comedy Club where he was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Funniest Person in the Twin Cities Contest. He went on to perform his stand up throughout the Midwest and parts of the East and West Coast in rock venues and comedy clubs/festivals. He has been a regular at Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids, MI and the Elgin Fringe Festival. 2018 was his first year performing in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival. His first 30-minute special I've Seen better was released in 2012. He is also the creator of the comedy showcase DVD series Laugh You Bastards. Trevor’s stand up has been reviewed as “funny, weird and deeply human.” You should go see him. He would appreciate it.

Will Isenberg - Madison, WI


Will Isenberg has been performing comedy for two years. He featured in Madison Comedy Week in June 2018, and was a semi-finalist in the Big Diss Roast Battle Tournament in May 2018. He performs on two showcases a month, and co-hosts an open mic.

Luke Johnson - Sioux Falls, SD


Luke Johnson (Sioux Falls, SD) has been performing stand up comedy for three years, with a style that combines his understanding of language with his lack of understanding of...everything else. He has appeared on stage with such talents as Spencer James, Sean McBride, PJ Walsh, and Timmy Williams. He is a co-producer of the Sioux Falls Sno Jam Comedy Festival, and the former World Champion of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

Jonathan Jones - Rowlett, TX

J.J. Jones is referred to as a modern-day renaissance man because he is constantly trying to be as well rounded as possible. A few unique highlights include working as a professional wrestler, winning a plus-sized men’s pageant, and being invited to be a keynote speaker at Harvard. These experiences create a fresh perspective about topics including fatherhood, black culture and even fast food! With an unpredictable style JJ mixes sarcasm, out of the box observations, and self-deprecation that produce audiences laughing hard and performances that are memorable. JJ’s favorite testimonial about his comedy is, “to keep your eye on this brilliant comic!” He may be wrong about the renaissance thing, but at least he’s right about the round part…

Ericson Just - North Hollywood, CA


Authentically flawed and embarrassingly honest, Ericson Just spent the first quarter of his life in Philadelphia trying to find love only to realize he was way more in love with himself than anyone else. Naturally, he then made a bee line to Los Angeles where he has been getting himself in trouble speaking his mind ever since. When he’s not on stage talking about himself he can be found trying to get others to talk about him on his podcast Just Ericson.

Calvin Kiple - Forest Hill, MD


Calvin Kiple is a rising star in the Baltimore, Maryland comedy scene. He hosts a monthly show out in the county called Comedy at the Tower for suburbanites that can't find parking in the city. On the other days of the month you can find Calvin featuring at shows from New York, New York to Washington D.C. This is Calvin Kiple's second appearance at the Paul Bunyan Comedy Festival and a homecoming since Calvin lived in Oscoda as a child when his father was stationed at the Air Force base.

Brian McDowell - Belleville, IL


A proud native of Tennessee, Brian McDowell has been doing his part to help show business fill its quota of old straight white men who complain about everything for almost twenty years, both onstage as a comedian and as an award-winning small town newspaper columnist. This is his first-ever appearance at an actual comedy festival.

Louis Michael - East Lansing, MI


Louis is a childish at heart and playfully wanders through life and reminds us how strange and absurd it really is.  Eclectic, with a unique goofy confidence, his edgy and not entirely well thought out jokes, and whimsical stories will have an audience's laughing perhaps to their surprise, cutting like a butter knife with an edge.

Paul Montanier - Windsor, ON


Known as the workhorse of Windsor comedy, Paul has gained a reputation as a fresh face to look out for. Paul has been featured on the Windsor Comedy Festival, Chatham Comedy Festival, Laughfest, the Bordercity Comedy Festival and in 2017 he won the Next Best Comic Competition. As one of the house MCs at Haddon's comedy club Paul has had a chance to work with K. Trevor Wilson, Randy and Lahey of the Trailer Park boys, The African Princes of comedy, and had dinner with Norm Macdonald one time. Seriously, Norm Macdonald, it was crazy.

Chad Powers - Manhattan, NY


Chad Powers was an NYPD cop for nearly a decade until his hand kind of exploded. Now he's a NYC based stand up comedian and writer performing in clubs all over the city as well as comedy festivals throughout the country. His material focuses primarily on his family, his old job and that damn hand. He's really stuck on that, it's kind of sad.  

Annie Russell - Chicago, IL


Annie Russell is an emerging comic based in Chicago. Annie has opened for Marc Maron on the “Too Real Tour,” for Al Madrigal at the University of Vermont and performed in dive bars across the country. She has been delighted to open for Jen Kirkman, Roy Wood Jr.,  Ron Funches and other national acts. She is a co-producer and co-host of Arguments & Grievances, a monthly live debate show and podcast.

Daryll Schmitz - Chicago, IL


Daryll is a comic that doesn’t hide the embarrassing qualities and moments that make him who he is. Born and raised on the mean streets of small town Wisconsin, he’s quickly acclimated himself to the quiet life of Chicago. Daryll is a graduate of The World Famous Second City Training Center’s Writing and Stand-Up Programs. He is a national touring comedian, A Producer at the Laugh Factory in Chicago, producer of a traveling show called Verified Laughs, and has written a monthly sketch comedy show for Second City. This year Daryll has performed in clubs throughout the country including Las Vegas, Dallas, Denver, and The World Famous Comedy Story in Los Angeles.”

Robert Schneider - Troy, MI


Robert Schneider is a stand-up comedian from Detroit MI who tells jokes about relationships, religion, and other topics that start with the letter “R.” He has shared his skewed POV in clubs, bars, coffee shops, lines in grocery stores, basements, and hookah bars all over the Midwest, L.A. and the province of Ontario. 

David Shank - Clarkston, MI


You can sum up David Shank’s comedy in one word - Truth.  He spotlights the ridiculous behavior of fake and shallow people with  savage honesty, and holds a mirror up to society in a way that will keep you gasping for air with laughter. 

Jamie Shriner - Chicago, IL


Jamie Shriner is a Chicago-based comedian, writer, actress, singer, and teaching artist. Shriner recently closed her breakout hit Wife Material (Underscore Theatre/Prop Thtr), which earned praise for its unique voice and all-new music. She has performed at The Comedy Bar, The Laugh Factory (The Nasty Show, SMUT), Flappers Burbank, and on independent showcases throughout the country. She holds an MA in Musical Theatre from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and earned her BFA in Musical Theatre at Milikin University.

Erik Terrell - Philadelphia, PA


Erik Terrell is a big kid with a big heart. His love for the stage began in his freshman year at Hampton University in 2009 as he landed a supporting roles in “A Love to Call My Own” and “Dreamgirls” in both sophomore and junior years. He’d become President of the “Hampton Players” by his junior year.

In college, Erik hosted and performed on most of Hampton University’s Homecoming and Spring Fest Comedy shows. After graduating college in 2013, he returned home to Philadelphia where he was soon picked up by Helium Comedy Club where he’s opened for Dick Gregory, Sam Morril, Dov Davidoff, Godfrey, Mark Normand, etc. He then quickly began headlining venues along the East Coast and working at various New York Comedy Clubs including Gotham Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, etc.

Greg Winston - Bloomington, IN


In an alternative act Winston mocks the flawed perspective of autism in society. He toys with audience about how oblivious he really is leaving them mezmorized. Winston has been seen around the country, but his pride and joy is being named a semi-finalist at Laughing Devil Comedy Festival in NYC.

Maxi Witrak - North Hollywood, CA


Maxi Witrak is an open book with a few pages torn out. After a sheltered upbringing complete with show ponies and controlling mom-ager, she talks about ditching privilege and going after her teenage dreams as a twenty something. From drumming for a pop punk band to dating with the expectations and fashion sense of a 17 year old raised by brothers, this grunge goddess from Seattle faces adulthood with unbridled disappointment. Inspired by Tig Notaro and Whitney Cummings, she skips the small talk. She’s the edgy-cated Johns Hopkins grad who left the world of 4.0 and front of the class to check out the back of the bus. A bit unpolished perhaps, but the most graphic she’s going to get is maybe a pie chart. At the end of the day she’s just a tomboy, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. 

© 2020 by the Paul Bunyan Comedy Festival