News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Cool Cow Comedy celebrates one-year anniversary
BY ANNE ELDER
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
When locals think of downtown Fredericksburg, the first things that come to mind are the Farmers Market, First Friday, good restaurants and art. But comedy shows? Not so much.
This was the problem Rahmein Mostafavi set out to solve when he started Cool Cow Comedy, a local production company that brings stand-up comedians to Fredericksburg.
“There is no great comedy in Fredericksburg or the surrounding areas,” Mostafavi said. “I wanted to work in my backyard.”
This month’s show, which will be held at the Courtyard Marriott on June 30, marks the one-year anniversary for Cool Cow.
The show brings comedians Jeff Maurer and Kat Radley to the stage, with Mostafavi as the evening’s host.
The show’s headliner, Maurer, who originally met Mostafavi at a performance in Washington, D.C., is no stranger to Fredericksburg. Since beginning his stand-up career seven years ago, he has performed in the city several times—which will allow him to relate to his audience at the show.
“It’ll be nice to kind of stretch my legs, I’ll be able to do my crowd work,” said the New York-based comedian.
Maurer was a semi-finalist in Season 7 of the NBC show “Last Comic Standing,” and has previously performed at DC Improv and Riot Act.
“He is hilarious,” Mostafavi said of Maurer. “I don’t know how much funnier you can get.”
But it wasn’t always as easy for Maurer, who recalled one show in Fredericksburg early in his career.
“[It was] three truckers watching me tell jokes about World War I,” he said. “It was such a bad match. I knew, we knew, we weren’t similar people.”
That experience helped him develop as a comedian, though.
“I think the main thing you learn over the years is how to make what you find funny funny to other people,” he said. “I know a little bit more about how to write a joke and how to get people to see what I find funny without it taking too much time.”
Radley, the show’s feature act, has also previously performed at DC Improv, and was recently awarded the 2011 Friars Club Audience Award at the Women in Comedy Festival in Boston.
“I love trying out a new joke for the first time,” Radley said. “There is definitely something nerve-wracking about saying something in front of a group of people you’ve never said before, hoping that it’s funny and you’re not crazy. If you do that and you get a laugh, it’s pretty awesome.”
Radley, whose first jokes came from conversations with her senile grandmother, said that she can definitely see herself as a full-time comedian in the future, touring in her early years and finding a more stable gig later on.
“Only in comedy can you drive three hours to do a 10- minute set and then get paid with a basket of French fries,” she said. “Who wouldn’t want that as a career?”
Radley said her audience can expect more than a stand-up routine from her.
“In addition to being really funny, they will most likely also find me to be really attractive and will fall in love with me,” she said. “They should just be prepared for the emotional roller coaster onto which they are about to embark.”
Mostafavi is also a stand-up comedian. He has performed at DC Improv and regularly performs at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.
“I’ve come a long way,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with the validation that Fredericksburg has given me.”
One of the area’s few Iranian–American comics, Mostafavi doesn’t shy away from controversial humor. But back at home, Fredericksburg becomes a focal point in his act.
“I really like talking about local stuff with people in the ’Burg,” he said. “We’ll spend the day waiting in line at Carl’s, but ignore all the Civil War history.”
Mostafavi also incorporates his wife and three children into his acts, saying that in Fredericksburg, about 90 percent of his audience is married with kids, as well.
“[They are] much more my peer group, so it works out with me,” he said, also mentioning how supportive his wife is of his comedy and company.
Both Mostafavi and Maurer stressed the quality of the comedy presented by Cool Cow.
“Fredericksburg is getting a good value because basically we come to Fredericksburg because we haven’t been on TV yet,” Maurer said. “You will be able to say ‘I saw them for $15 five minutes from my house.”
“The comedy in Fredericksburg is sharp; it’s intelligent—people should expect to see nothing less than a professional comedy club,” Mostafavi said. “If they support it, it’s going to get bigger and bigger.”
However, the show is limited to those over 18 years old.
“We’re adults; we talk about adult things—plus we hate kids,” he said with a wide grin.
WANT TO GO?
What: Cool Cow Comedy one-year anniversary, hosted by Rahmein Mostafavi. Performances by Jeff Maurer, and Kat Radley
Where: Courtyard Marriott, 620 Caroline St., downtown Fredericksburg
When: Saturday, June 30. Shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; 7 p.m. show has dinner option available through the Marriott
Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the show and at the door, available at coolcowcomedy.com
Saturday, July 28: Featuring “Last Comic Standing” semi-finalist Jason Weems
New Year’s Eve Show, Monday, Dec. 31: Featuring Erin Jackson, who has appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and will be featured on the TV Guide Channel’s new comedy series, “Stand Up in Stilettos.”
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COMEDIANS!
Rahmein Mostafavi: coolcowcomedy.com; jeffmaurer.com; katradley.com
Anne Elder is a recent graduate of the University of Mary Washington and a freelance writer.