When Dallas-based comedian Byron Stamps first got the idea for Truth in Comedy–TiC, for short–he had no plans of taking the show on the road. When he did begin consider touring the show, Topeka and Kansas City weren’t at the top of his list.
Stamps says, “Initially, I had some other cities in mind to start, but I’m very glad that things worked out the way they did, and the Midwest has been the next stop on the journey. My daughter had a volleyball tournament in KC and I said, why not do a show in KC?”
For the uninitiated, Truth in Comedy is an intimate affair, and is equal parts storytelling, comedy show, and art talk.
Three community members tell a story from their personal life experiences. The stories are typically reflections on difficult moments the person has faced or currently faces. Three comedians each do a stand-up set loosely based on one of the stories. Tying it all together, the artist creates a triptych: one piece of art per story, often with the three pieces relating to each other in some way.
The TiC Order of Operations is storyteller/comedian; storyteller/comedian; storyteller/comedian; art talk.
The initial tour, in February of this year, didn’t go exactly how Stamps had envisioned it.
“The shows came during a snow storm (I guess it was. I’m from texas so anything more than a sandwich bag of snow is a blizzard) and I was surprised people showed up, but they did, and we had a great time.”
I had the privilege of being one of the storytellers at the inaugural Topeka show, along with the current Poet Laureate of Kansas, Huascar Medina, and Lily Gruber, with artist Olivia Hernández, who creates under the name ONOH.
Since then, Stamps has hosted three shows each in Topeka and Kansas City so far, with plans for shows to be on-going, every-other month.
“I have been extremely pleased with how Topeka and KC have received the shows,” says Stamps, “as well as [community members] being receptive to being storytellers and artists.”
It hasn’t been easy, but Stamps is committed to continuing to tour TiC, bringing this unique twist on entertainment to the area for some time to come.
“From a starving artist perspective, growing and building the shows outside of Dallas have been a labor of love…,” Stamps comments. “[I]t is an independent, DIY show. However, the people that I have met, the places that I have visited, and the genuine love from Topeka and KC have made it all more than worth it. … Such great arts communities.”
I was fortunate to catch a TiC show in Dallas, as well as another show in Topeka. Attendees should expect to have their thoughts and emotions provoked (Kleenex advised). I’ve cried, laughed, been shocked, and felt hope at the stories of persistence and resilience–like a really good therapy session with forty of your closest friends whom you haven’t met yet.
Want to know more about TiC? Check out this edition of 785 magazine for an article by Huascar Medina.