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Q&A: Merry Standish to bring topical humor to Chico

Merry Standish.jpeg
Married comedy duo Aaron Standish and Liz Merry travel Northern California performing their show and will be at the Blue Room Theatre on Friday. Photo courtesy of Merry Standish Comedy.

This Friday the married comedy duo Merry Standish will be performing in Chico at the Blue Room Theatre at 8 p.m. Aaron Standish and Liz Merry have been doing stand-up in Northern California since 1990.

Where are you two from originally?

Standish: I was born in Chico and raised in Red Bluff and moved back to Chico so I could drop out of college. It took me seven years, but I did it! I started to work at the brewery. Liz came to Chico in ’84.

Merry: I am originally from the Bronx, and when I was a teenager I moved to the Jersey shore and became one of those Deadhead people who follows them (the Grateful Dead) and moves around the country. I ended up in Chico.

What originally got you interested in comedy?

Standish: In high school, a friend of mine brought me a half-finished comedy script that was a parody of the “Batman and Robin” TV show — the old 1960 one with Adam West, really campy. We started a show called “Captainman and His Sidekick Cockatoo, the Boy Fairly Decent.” That was at Mercy High School in Red Bluff. We started then in high school and took that group to Chico when we came to college. That group stayed together for about 10 years. It was called the Allen Standish Comedy Revue.

Merry: I had been a singer in bands and had done a lot of community theater. I’ve just kind of always been a funny person. I went to see Aaron’s troupe, and I just noticed there was a bunch of guys. And when they had a female character one of the guys had to play the girl, which was funny, but I offered to be a part of it if they ever wanted an actual female.

Standish: And we were married four months later.

Are there any comedians that inspired you?

Merry: All of them!

Standish: I would say that our sketch material is influenced by early “Saturday Night Live” and Carol Burnett sketches. Besides sketches, Liz does parody songs. I’m not sure who you would say influenced that. We also do a lot of stand-up, and I would say our influences there are just like everyone else’s: George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce — maybe even some Joan Rivers.

How would you describe your humor?

Merry: Lowbrow intellectual. We do a lot of topical things.

Standish: Political satire stuff. I would say the show itself is a collection of different types of humor — a collection of a fast-paced sketches, songs. stand-up and multimedia bits.

Merry: We have a video screen, and I do a fake news show and put hilarious images on the screen to help it.

Standish: Like a local version of “The Daily Show.”

Merry: A lot of it is it local. Since we play in a lot of different towns, we have to tailor it for each town.

What towns do you perform in?

Standish: Primarily in Chico, Red Bluff, Redding — the “great north state comedy triangle,” we like to call it. … Anywhere we can get a gig in the north state. We do two shows a year as Merry Standish Comedy. We’ll play in all three towns, but in between those shows we’ll play wherever we can.

What is your favorite part about doing comedy shows?

Standish: Being done and having a beer.

Merry: Watching the tape after the show.

Standish: Visiting with people after the show. We’re only half kidding. The best part is hearing the crowd laugh, getting the feedback.

Merry: We are laugh whores. Once you get that, once someone laughs at you, it’s very intoxicating and addictive.

Greta Gordon can be reached at [email protected] or @hakunagretata on Twitter.

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