Proud Larry’s has long been home to Oxford’s burgeoning comedy scene, but in recent months, comedy connoisseurs have been treated to touring comics from Memphis, New Orleans, and other southern entertainment hubs. It seems that Mississippi is carving out a spot for itself on the touring comedy circuit, and the upcoming show on Saturday, May 21 should only further cement that status.
Kristine Levine of Tuscon, Arizona and Dave Nelson of Valdosta, Georgia will grace the Larry’s stage that night, in addition to an opening set from local Logan Little and the evening’s host, Connor King. Fans may recognize Levine from IFC’s Portlandia, on which she’s had a recurring role since 2011. She has also performed at such renowned events as Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and SXSW in Austin, Texas.
According to Levine, Portlandia “needed a female comedian to play a fat nympho, and [the casting director] said, ‘I know that character! We’ll have Kristine come play herself!’”
Levine has been performing on stage for seventeen years, and has also done commercial and radio work in her former hometown of Portland. More interesting, though, is her fourteen-year stint as a clerk at a porn store, from which she’s drawn inspiration for her stand up career. She is currently shopping around a TV pilot based on those and other real-life experiences, entitled “Life Is Ass.”
Nelson is likewise a veteran of comedy, though he has been living and working in the southeast for some years now. The Kansas City native produces comedy shows and podcasts in Valdosta, Georgia, while holding down his day job as a communications professor. Despite teaching public speaking classes, he says that his real life and his stand up career do not cross paths.
“When I teach, I’m paid to teach. When I do stand up, I’m paid to do stand up,” says Nelson. “I try to keep those worlds separate.”
A touring musician in his younger years, Nelson has high hopes for the two-week tour, but isn’t looking forward to sleeping on floors as much these days. “It was cool back then,” he notes, “but I’m really going to miss my Sealy Posture-Pedic mattress.”
Levine and Nelson are old friends in the close-knit comedy world, and Levine says that they will continue to do tours together.
“Not only is [Dave] funny, but he has the business acumen that I completely lack,” she says. “I haven’t gone out on tours, because I honestly don’t have… the brain for it. Dave is very, very organized. He has all the skills that I lack, and he’s a great opener, so it’s a dream situation for me.”
The two-week tour will take them to some smaller towns throughout the southeast, such as Lafayette, LA and Montgomery, AL. And though Levine is a product of the Pacific Northwest and its progressive politics, she “fell in love with” the south on her previous travels, claiming that “the audiences are amazing.”
In that same spirit, Nelson encourages Oxford audiences to “get out and see live entertainment… instead of Netflix & chill,” and Levine promises that “you’ve never seen anything like me, as far as female comedians go.”