Level Up! is one of the most reliably entertaining weekly comedy showcases in Seattle. Every Thursday at the Capitol Club, production crew Children of the Atom curate their flagship show with an eye toward young, smart, liberal comics and a sideline in self-indulgent nerdiness. Besides the core of regular performers, there are often drop-in sets by nationally touring headliners, and the producers mix it up with recurring segments like “Dork Wars,” a head-to-head debate about matters geeky (example: Vampira vs. Elvira), and “Diary Wars,” in which two comics skewer each other by reading fictitious diary entries they have written for their opponent.
Explain The Tally.
At the end of every Level Up!, the members of Children of the Atom (myself, Corbett Cummins and Scott Losse) read off the tallies we’ve taken of things that happened, things that were said, stuff that made us uncomfortable, or whatever else we happen to notice in our increasingly booze-filled brains during the course of the show.
Where did you get the idea for The Tally?
I have self-diagnosed non-medical obsessive compulsive disorder which sometimes involves me tallying things that happen around me. Something I do regularly while riding the bus is to count how many times I overhear the word “like” used in a conversation. If you see me looking at you on the bus and writing something down over and over on a notepad, I’m probably tallying all the things I now know about you that I didn’t want to because you talk really loud. I have problems. Also, I regularly forget to charge my iPod.
What is your process for picking out things to count?
It is a loose process. It can be something that happens several times or something worth mentioning that happens just once.
If someone were to draw any conclusions about Level Up! solely by looking at the Tally, what would they be?
Comedians apologize a lot. Also, Scott Losse is consistently blamed for killing boners.
Have you noticed any broad trends in comedy from dissecting a weekly show on a quantitative level?
Probably. What I’ve definitely learned is when a comedian says, “one more joke and then I’m out of here,” they really mean “I’ll leave when you laugh to my level of personal satisfaction.” That will generally take two or three jokes more than the one they agreed to.
Selections from The Tally
- Number of times a comedian told a sad story intending for it to be funny, but it was clearly just sad: 7
- Number of times host Scott Losse was outside smoking and forgot to introduce the next comic: 2
- Number of new friends Elicia Sanchez drunkenly made in the bathroom: 3
- Number of “aspiring blues singers” in Slipknot sweatshirts that lied their way into getting the microphone so they could sing Beyonce acapella: 1
- Number of people making out in the back corner that may or may not have also been performing mutual masturbation throughout the show: 2
- Number of women who looked like Elicia’s mom that left the front row after she mentioned her abortion: 5
- Number of times comedian Jennifer Burdette complained about her life and any of us felt sorry for her: 0
- Total times Scott mentioned he has a girlfriend during his set: 5
- Number of times a comic referred to the movie Star Wars only as “A New Hope”: 1
- Number of people in the audience that looked annoyed or dumfounded by that: 8
- Number of times a comedian apologized to the audience during their set: 17
- Dick Jokes: Infinity
- Awkward Moments: 8
- Total times a comedian said they were telling one more joke, but told more than one more joke: 6