by Aaron BrooksPhoto by Erin Holsonback
Once a year, all hell breaks loose in Austin.
The Comedy Seance started its second run in 2013. The original idea, which ran from 2007-2009, came from comedy friends Norm Wilkerson and Avi Hartman. “Halloween was coming up and we decided to do something special. I had this idea for a new Satan character I wanted to try out.” Wilkerson’s Borscht Belt Satan emceed a stand-up showcase featuring the ghosts of dead celebrities, many of which are known for something other than comedy. The show has grown into a not-to-be-missed event every fall.
The ghosts of Judy Garland, Edgar Alan Poe, Kurt Cobain, and many others have all graced the stage on the must-see show. There have been some outside of the box entries as well; Jay Leno (he’s dead inside), the Ghost of Good Cops, and Bruce Jenner (although not dead, he took the stage “in conceptual limbo”). No one is off limits and Wilkerson encourages the comics to dive head first into the act.
The Comedy Seance is one of the most fun shows to perform on all year long. Mike MacRae, one of the perennial standouts of the show, enjoys the freedom to explore the character. “I do a lot of voices and characters in my normal stand-up act, but I use the Seance as an excuse to create an impression (Christopher Hitchens, Philip Seymour Hofmann) or a characterization (Andrew Jackson) specifically for that particular show.“
Audiences love it as well. 2015 marks the third consecutive year that The Comedy Seance has packed out Spiderhouse Ballroom, cementing itself as one of Austin’s premiere comedy events.
If you want to see the 2014 seance, you can do that here.
Aaron Brooks co-hosts the showcase Bounce House. Look at the top of this post to see what he looks like as the Ultimate Warrior.