‘Pokeballs’ gets all Dr. Who on fans
The Show Us Your Pokeballs crew is going back, and forth, in time for their latest show, an homage to everyone’s favorite Gallifreyan time lord, Dr. Who.
“I’m really excited for this one, it’s not just Dr. Who, there are lot of geek culture references, but fans of Dr. Who will especially love it,” said writer, director and actor Josh Kahn. “These shows are always so much fun. They’re geek humor done by geeks for geeks, and I say that with all love possible. There are jokes for all different kinds of fandoms in here, and if you are passionate about anything related to geek culture, you will enjoy it.”
“It’s standup for nerds, by nerds,” said co-writer, director and host Nikki Gillette. “It is geek culture comedy. We do stuff on Anime, Pokemon, Star Wars, comic books, Dr. Who, if it’s got a fan base in geek culture, we probably cover it.”
“If you can nerd out about it, we do it,” Kahn added.
This is the third Pokeballs event, and the idea for them popped last year with Gillette, before morphing up a few levels and gaining some experience points in 2015.
I’d been going to conventions for about eight years and was thinking about panels to do, things that hadn’t been done before, and I thought, ‘what about a nerd-themed stand-up show?’” she said. “I found out someone else had done it before, but I thought, how can we take that idea and make it bigger and better, and so Show Us Your Pokeballs was born.”
From there, they took it to its natural incubator – comic book and anime conventions – last year, where it built up a passionate following before they decided to leave the womb of niche fandom and take it to the masses at the Speakeasy.
“It went really well at the cons, but we were a little nervous to perform it outside of there, because it is a show with a lot of references that the general public might not get,” Gillette said. “But people really liked it. The people who got all the references loved it, and people that didn’t still got enough of them and thought it was really funny.”
In addition to performances by Gillette, Kahn and Ian Heaton, as well as stand up by Dan Umthun, the show also features some amazing and inimitable fan fiction recited by comedian Benjamin Graham. If you’ve ever wondered what the X-Men would be like if it put more emphasis on the X, you’ve got the idea, even without psychic powers.
“That’s one of those things that even if you don’t totally get all the references, it’s still pretty hilarious,” Kahn said. “And even if you don’t know the comic books, so many people have seen the movies so they’re familiar with most of the characters, so I think that’s one of the bits that a lot of people, even if they’re not into all the geek fandom stuff, really find funny.”
Gillette and the squad have several Pokeballs dates booked at the Speakeasy this year and are taking the show on the road to various conventions around the Midwest. Gillette said she’s looking forward to the mutation of the franchise into a monster large enough to attack Tokyo, or, well, at least Bettendorf.
“I feel really good about it, this is the first real project I’ve done on my own, as a comedian, getting the idea, getting people together and making it happen,” she said. “It feels good, and it feels good seeing people have fun and geek out and laugh and enjoy it.”
Show Us Your Pokeballs Gets Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey
7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show, Saturday, Feb. 20
Circa ’21 Speakeasy, 1818 3rd Ave., Rock Island
$10 in advance, $12 at the door
(309) 786-7733, ext. 2