.Left Coasting

ae planetcruzPlanet Cruz returns with impressive comic line-up

Richard Stockton’s love for Santa Cruz goes beyond “what rational thought would indicate,” he says. It’s the city where, like so many others, he found himself.

“Before my brain congealed I was a feral child/ Raised Republican for real/ Then I moved to Santa Cruz and my spirit healed,” he recites from a song he’ll play at the upcoming Planet Cruz Comedy Hour on Saturday, Nov. 22.

While you may have heard that song before, there is plenty of fresh material and a roster of noteworthy stand-up comedians (“the most progressive, clever and telling stand-ups”) slated for the upcoming show, co-written by Stockton and GT cover-story moonlighter Sven Davis, with an emphasis on local issues and tropes. “An amazing amount of talent has decided to come together for these shows we do. I’m not quite sure why,” says Stockton.

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“We have Kellen Erskine and he’s just a brilliant deadpan, one-liner comic. In honor of the drought, Santa Cruz has found the driest comedian in the country,” says Stockton. “Teresa Tudury is just this brilliant singer-songwriter with this really progressive element to her.”

The comic line-up has an impressive resumé, with comedians who have performed on NBC and BET, national late night shows and America’s Got Talent. Comedian Don Reed, who was discovered in the ’80s by Bill Cosby and went on to do 1,000 warm up acts for Jay Leno, is coming to Santa Cruz for the first time via Planet Cruz.

The goal of Stockton’s decidedly “left coast” show is to unpack this city’s unique weirdness; “You can be who you want to be here. A stockbroker came here and was bored with being a stockbroker and he liked to sew. He reinvented himself as the Great Morgani; I just meet all kinds of people.”

Stockton formed the comedy variety show at Kuumbwa Jazz Club in 2007, and it’s become locally famous (and infamous) for poking fun at local politics and culture. Nowadays, the “Prairie Home Companion”-esque show is broadcasted through podcast and radio, reaching ears far and wide.

“I got an email from these guys, they’re a scientific exploration thing—I think NASA is involved—these guys are in a submarine under the Antarctic and somebody sent them a CD of a whole bunch of Planet Cruz shows and apparently they listened to them under the South Pole” he says. “I was kind of proud of that.”

Info: 7:30 p.m., Nov.22, Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 423-8209. $20-$25.


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