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This Week in Comedy: Jonah Ray, Martha Kelly and More

UPDATEThe Martha Kelly show at The Foundry has been canceled, according to the venue.

RAY & BRAUNOHLER: Hot off the heels of Joe Mande’s performance Monday, the 40 Watt Club will host another pair of popular comedians, Jonah Ray and Kurt Braunohler, on Thursday, Aug. 30. Ray has appeared on shows such as “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Soup,” while Braunohler has contributed to “Bob’s Burgers,” “Chelsea Lately” and “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.” Both are also successful podcast hosts, running “Jonah Raydio” and “The K Ohle with Kurt Braunohler,” respectively. 

Ray is perhaps best recognized today as the host of “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return,” a reboot of the beloved cult comedy series that aired for 10 seasons between Comedy Central and Sci-Fi Channel from 1988–’99. Released by Netflix last year, the revival was entirely funded by a Kickstarter campaign spearheaded by original creator Joel Hodgson. 

After being captured by mad scientists Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and Max (Patton Oswalt), Ray’s character, Jonah Heston, is forced to watch cheesy B movies alongside Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn), Crow T. Robot (Hampton Yount) and Gypsy (Rebecca Hanson). Films that may have once been frightening or impressive through effects—the ancient creature feature Reptilicus, a young sire’s quest with Wizards of the Lost Kingdom, a post-apocalyptic Earth in 2071 discovered by The Time Travelers—are newly appreciated by way of biting one-liners. 

Hosted by Henry Owings, the comedy show also includes sets by Michael Rowland, Samm Severin and Andrew Wright. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15–$17. In case you miss it, Ray and Braunohler will perform a second night at 529 in Atlanta on Aug. 31. Ray will also return to Georgia on Oct. 21 during the 29-city MST3K Live 30th Anniversary Tour, riffing shoulder-to-shoulder with Hodgson during screenings of The Brain and Deathstalker II at Atlanta Symphony Hall. 


Martha Kelly

MARTHA KELLY: A separate comedy event, hosted by Laugh Athens over at The Foundry, will also happen Thursday night. Comedian and actress Martha Kelly began performing stand-up in her native Los Angeles in the mid-’90s, developing her material and confidence for several years before relocating to Austin, TX, where she now lives. Since then, she has appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” “Last Comic Standing” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” 

It was not until 2016 that she made her acting debut on the FX comedy series “Baskets” as the character Martha Brooks. While she had initially been drawn to the idea of acting in college, she shied away from the camera and pursued stand-up instead, preferring the ability to control what she talked about and how she presented herself on stage. Longtime friend and show co-creator Zach Galifianakis, who also stars as the failed professional-turned-rodeo clown Chip Baskets, assured her that her personality—self-deprecating jokes, deadpan delivery and all—would be well-suited for the role. 

Embracing this new territory, Kelly has also acted in Infinity Baby, Spider-Man: Homecoming and an episode of “American Gods,” and she will grace the screen next year in the independent film Corporate Animals. Currently halfway through an 11-day “No Refunds Tour,” Kelly is on the road with two other Austinites, Avery Moore and Pat Dean. Tickets to the show are $10, and doors open at 8 p.m. 

More Local Comedy Series 

OpenTOAD Comedy Open Mic: First and third Tuesdays at Flicker Theatre & Bar, 8:30 p.m. 

Decaf Comedy: Second Tuesdays at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, 8:30 p.m. 

Educated Mess: First and third Wednesdays at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, 8 p.m. 

2 Buck Chuckles: Every Thursday at Veronica’s Sweet Spot, 6:30 p.m.

Silent Comedy Night: Third Thursdays at Creature Comforts Brewery at 7 p.m. 

Open Mic After Party: Third Thursdays (following Creature Comforts) at The World Famous at 9 p.m. 

Red Door Comedy: First Sundays at The Rook & Pawn, 8:30 p.m. 

Empty Cap Open Mic: Second and Fourth Sundays at Walker’s Pub, 9 p.m.