C. James Bye

Writer, Musician, Consumer of Nerd Culture.

Filtering by Tag: Comedy Coven

Comedy Coven: Artistic Differences

Welp, this happened over a year ago, and I’ve just discovered I never posted about. Below, check out content from last August’s Comedy Coven XXVIII: Artistic Differences!

Promo video edited and produced by Dan Hartley.

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WALK A MILE lyrics

EMILY
Hey guys. I’m calling because we need to talk this through.

TRICIA
Who dis? Sorry, new phone. In a Pitchfork Fest portajohn, I dropped mine in some poo.

STEPH
How typical.

TRICIA
If you just got smoked up by Madlib, you would too.

EMILY
Anyway, this is Emily! And I think this conversation’s overdue.

Maybe you both just need to walk a mile in each others shoes.

TRICIA and STEPH
[spoken dramatically] It’s too late for that. But maybe? ...No. [both dramatically turn their heads away from each other]

EMILY
So are you both ready to talk about what we should do?

TRICIA
Why should we? My new Coven is actually cool. For example, most of them chew.

STEPH
Well, my new Coven doesn’t care about being cool!

TRICIA
Yeah, what else is new?

EMILY
Hey! [beat] Cool out, you two.

Maybe you both just need to walk a mile in each others shoes.

STEPH
No thanks. I don’t really feel like getting HPV from some guy I met at Bonnaroo.

TRICIA
It was an alley. Outside a dance club. On Bourbon Street. And also: fuck you!

EMILY
That’s it!

I don’t want to embarrass someone

By naming names.

But some of us -- I won’t say who --

Are stuck in a Coven of dogs.

Can you imagine? Just dogs. And you.

And dogs don’t laugh.

It’s risibility that they lack.

They just bark and bark

And stare at you for food

As if you don’t feed them

But of course, you totally do

Ok, it’s me!

Who wants out of this Coven of dogs!

STEPH
[horrified] Emily. I -- I didn’t know.

TRICIA
I mean, come on--it has potential. [spoken] I see a Huffpost pitch: The best drugs to watch dog comedy on!

EMILY
Do you see? I’m not prepared to be on my own. I’m just not ready.

TRICIA
You need me?

STEPH
She needs me.

EMILY
I need you both!

[But she’s brought down, reminded that they’re not ready, and her hopefulness turns to disgust] But you’re both being so greedy.

Hey, “I’m Tricia--Look at me! Comedy is only funny when there’s nothing funny to see.”

STEPH
Laughs

EMILY
[turns her attention to STEPH] And there’s nagging Miss Spreadsheets. “Oh look at me, I’m Stephanie.”

STEPH
Emily!

TRICIA
Nice one.

EMILY
And then there’s me. The Ally Sheedy of our Coven Comedy.

But I’m sick of being the basketcase. I guess I’m sick of being me.

No! Not sick of being Emily.

That’s not it, not really.

[she hangs up her phone and raises her arms to the sky]

And by the power of Hecate.

TRICIA AND EMILY are surprised to find themselves in the same space as Emily. They hang up their phones.

TRICIA
[spoken] Emily? Yo. Did you just magically pull us to the same location?

EMILY
Dark goddesses! Dark moons! Dark stars! Hear my plea!

STEPH
[spoken] This is getting very dramatic.

EMILY
And through the power vested by thee

I swear!

You’ll walk a mile in her shoes [throws glitter on STEPH]

And you! I Swear! You’ll walk a mile in her shoes [throws glitter on TRICIA]

And you will be just like she

TRICIA AND STEPH
And she like me?

EMILY
Exactly!

[EMILY begins to spin with her arms out to her sides and periodically throws more glitter]

In her shoes!

TRICIA
This shit is crazy AF. Now she’s spinning?

EMILY
In her shoes!

STEPH
Emily, I had no idea you’d become such a powerful Wiccan. I am soooo proud you right now!

EMILY reaches out her arms toward both STEPH and TRICIA who freeze, arms dangling, rising on their tiptoes as if EMILY is raising them. They remain frozen there as EMILY addresses them.

EMILY
[arms still outstretched to both TRICIA and STEPH but now pointing at TRICIA] When you push me and push me with all this aggression,

Then it becomes high time you both learned a lesson.

[pointing at STEPH] And if my spell didn’t do the trick,

Then I hope you know ...that you both [she looks to both STEPH and TRICIA disgusted and shakes her head] --both of you make me sick.

PART FOUR: One Small Leap for Comedy

EMILY
[sitting alone on stage, she whistles a forlorn version of the intro to the Quantum Leap theme then, her spirits rising]

Dun-dun den daaa!

Dean Stockwell!

Trav-el-ing through time.

And his best friend!

Sam Beckett!

Not to be confused with the playwright.

STEPH and TRICIA walk in.

STEPH
Whooaaa. Em-dog. What was that little quirky-weird thing you were just doing there?

EMILY
[startled they’ve arrived] Oh. It’s --It’s just, when I’m feeling down, I like to do two things? One: is umm whistle. And two: that is sing little words I make up and set to old TV show themes.

STEPH
Yeah. Yeah. I dig it.

TRICIA
I think it’s swell and also important that you have an outlet, Emily.

EMILY
Umm, yeah. Thanks. Well, I called you here, because, and I don’t know if you recall that night I started spinning around and shooting glitter from my fingertips and called on the power of Hecate and invoked some pretty dark magics. And umm, said some kinda mean things? To both of you. And umm, then I called down a thunderbolt that changed your personalities? Well I wanted to talk about that.

STEPH
Yeah. Totes. It was like that movie with that guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High who is supposed to be a teenager when he’s jerking off to Phoebe Cates but now suddenly he’s old enough to be Fred Savage’s dad?

TRICIA
Excuse me, Judge Reinhold was 30 when he shot Vice Versa. And it wasn’t like that at all. It was clearly more like Freaky Friday.

STEPH
You’re more like Freaky Friday

TRICIA
Grow up.

STEPH
Blow me.

EMILY
Okay. Yes! So that is the evening in question. And, well, I wanted to apologize, because I only did it because I thought --clearly incorrectly--that the spell would give you both a bit of empathy. You know, maybe see eye to eye. But it didn’t work. And now instead of us finding a happy medium for Coven to work in, you’re arguing about obscure and irrelevant ...pop culture. ...Wait a minute… Yeah! Yeah that just. Might. Work!

The theme to Quantum Leap begins to play. They sing along.

EMILY
If the two of you can’t get along

Maybe we just need to find

Some middle ground to make you both happy

Also sorry again that I switched your minds.

Maybe if we all tried to be

[turning to STEPH trying to persuade] slightly more experimental

like doing a scene where we sing

along to the Quantum Leap theme

that seems kinda funny

STEPH
That's not funny

it's cheap!

Doing song parodies

TRICIA
You call that cheap?

Just think,

I came on stage wearing just spreadsheets

EMILY
Song parodies have set melodies

[To Tricia} Now that’s what I call structured.

STEPH
I think maybe she has a point.

TRICIA

I guess I’ll give it a try.

EMILY
That’s why I love you guys.

Song ends.

TRICIA
Okay, so we’re both on board. From now on, Comedy Coven exclusively performs lyrical parodies to long-ago cancelled, half-remembered TV show themes.

STEPH
Oh, I like that half the audience will have no recollection of the TV themes we parody. That’s obscure! And obscure is experimental!

EMILY
Yes, yes. You’ve learned something. We’ve all learned something. I’m glad everyone is happy. Finally.

STEPH
I only worry about keeping it from getting boring. I mean, how do we keep it fresh?

TRICIA
Oh, I have a few ideas.

VOICEOVER: “Later that week, at the Robin Theatre.”

TRICIA, STEPH, and EMILY have put on glasses that make it look like they have tits for eyes. They sing a parody of the Growing Pains theme.

STEPH
Show me those tits for eyes.

EMILY AND TRICIA
Ooh show me those tit eyes.

STEPH
Don’t waste another minute not having tits for eyes.

We’ll know we’re near the end

EMILY AND TRICIA
We’ll know we’re near

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
The best thing is having tits for eyes!

EMILY
Ooh-oo-oo-ooh!

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
As long as we’ve got tits for eyes

We’ve got the world jealous of our tits eyes

STEPH
Baby you and me

EMILY AND TRICIA
We gotta be

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
The luckiest people ‘cause we got tits for eyes

As long as we have tits for eyes

We can take anything that comes our way

EMILY
Baby, rain or shine

TRICIA and STEPH
Tits for eyes!

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
We’ve got tits for eyes

Sharing the laughter and love

Song ends.

TRICIA
We’ve done it!

STEPH
We’re back, baby! And funnier than ever!

EMILYPlus I have good news, guys! I did some research, and the spell should’ve ended as soon as you had literally walked a mile following it. So I just need to figure out what went wrong and do a reverting spell.

STEPH
Wait, like walk a whole mile?

EMILY
Yes. Just one mile. Wait. Have neither of you walked one single mile since the spell? That was, like, a week ago!

STEPH
Pshhhh. I downloaded my seven-day trial of HBO on Amazon Prime that same day.

TRICIA
Aww, no shit! I just did that too!

STEPH
Oh shit! Have you watched that documentary, Tickled? I swear to god, if anyone takes one thing away from this experience, it’s that they should watch the HBO original documentary, Tickled.

TRICIA
Oh my god, I totally watched that!

STEPH
Oh man, is it fucked up!

EMILY
[sigh] Well, come on you two. [gleefully] And I’d thought when I got rid of the dogs, I’d no longer have to take my comedy partners for walks!

STEPH, EMILY and TRICIA all laugh heartily.

EMILY
Aaaand hold for credits!

STEPH, EMILY and TRICIA freeze mid-laugh and a brief reprise of the Growing Pains theme plays followed by production logos. Thank yous / good nights.

curtain call

curtain call

the boob-eyes masks worn by Coven during the final scene; made by yours truly

the boob-eyes masks worn by Coven during the final scene; made by yours truly

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The Comedy Coven produces a sketch and stand-up showcase at the Robin Theatre in Lansing, MI. To see what else we're brewing up, check out their website, like their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Like, Comment, and Subscribe! comedycoven.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/comedycoven
Twitter: @comedycoven
Instagram: @comedycoven

Comedy Coven Halloween

Comedy Coven was nice enough to ask me to do an poster for their Halloween, ahem, Hallomeme shows. Tricia's concept was a fun one: it's the disloyal man meme (sample below) but the man is the Creature of the Black Lagoon walking with his favorite scream queen, Julie Adams, and the woman who's caught his eye is Elvira. 

finished product

finished product

WIP

WIP

I originally toyed around with a background more closely related to the photo in the meme, but then my lovely wife suggested illustrating Lansing's Robin Theatre, where the show would take place, along with the surrounding buildings. This is just one of the many reasons I keep her around.

I originally toyed around with a background more closely related to the photo in the meme, but then my lovely wife suggested illustrating Lansing's Robin Theatre, where the show would take place, along with the surrounding buildings. This is just one of the many reasons I keep her around.

the meme.

the meme.

my lovely wife, pulled up on stage to help hammer a nail in this dude's nose! (photo courtesy Juila Kramer)

my lovely wife, pulled up on stage to help hammer a nail in this dude's nose! (photo courtesy Juila Kramer)

It Doesn't Fucking Matter: Comedy Coven Songs

I recently wrote three songs and lyrics (as well as some interim dialogue) for the fourth act of the most recent (and two-year anniversary) Comedy Coven show: Fake & Gay.

The setup: The Coven is fed up with dating guys with priors and girls who end up not being gay. Enter Emily's extremely scientific "Intraoral Kinsey Scale and Other Characteristics Thingy," which, with a quick swabbing of your partner's mouth, tells you most everything you'll need to know to figure out whether or not you're compatible. 

The below script (and mp3 vocal guides of the songs I delivered to the Coven) picks up just as Emily tries to pitch a catchy jingle for the device. They did a much better job delivering than I ever could, of course, and at the end had the entire theater slow clapping and singing along "It doesn't fucking matter!"

"THE INTRAORAL KINSEY SCALE AND OTHER CHARACTERISTICS THINGY"

Comedy Coven (L-R): Stephanie Onderchanin; Tricia Chamberlain; Emily Syrja

Comedy Coven (L-R): Stephanie Onderchanin; Tricia Chamberlain; Emily Syrja

EMILY

I used to think maybe you loved me now baby I know,

Cuz we both spit on a swab and baby, oh baby, it showed

That we are sixty-seven per-cent compatible-oh-oh-oh.

Although the stuff that she wants in the bedroom makes me uncomfortable.

The intraoral Kinsey Scale and other characteristics thingy Oh oh!

The intraoral Kinsey Scale and other characteristics thingy!

STEPHANIE

Whoa-whoa whoa whoa. [song stops] That entire jingle is hugely problematic, Emily.

TRICIA

Also: holy mother of fucking fuck—what was that Katrina and the Waves shit?

EMILY

It’s upbeat. [Despondent] …Like love should be.

TRICIA

Also-also: uhh what kinky shit is she making you do in the bedroom you’re so uncomfortable with?

EMILY

[blushing, looks down; beat]

STEPHANIE

That’s exactly what I’m saying. You brush that off as if it’s nothing, but the rest of the song totally focuses only on the fact that you matched on the Kinsey Scale but nothing else. I mean come on guys, we all know…

TRICIA, EMILY and STEPHANIE

[TRICIA AND EMILY morose, like children just scolded; STEPHANIE proud] That to correctly look at behavior and sexuality, we need to consider them related but different things.

TRICIA and EMILY

[still morose] Yeah, we know.

EMILY

So… you’re saying you don’t like the song?

STEPHANIE

Just—just let me take a stab at it. We need the advertising to represent our rationale for the all-encompassing magnitude of the product. Okay, let’s see. …Ok. Ok, I think I’ve got it.

"BRAND REFRESH"

STEPHANIE

The one-dimensional nature of the Kinsey scale

Leads to an idea that the more

Attraction you have toward your own gender

The less that you have toward the “opposite”

Gender!

[spoken] What? My Spotify Discover Playlist had a bunch of Tool songs in it this week for some reason. …And I kinda liked it.

We need a brand refresh that’s intentional real quick.

This device will be intersectional or it will be

Bullshit!

It should account for all aspects of compatibility

Like if you found Kristen Stewart oddly sexy in the SNL Willy Wonka parody

She played!

Charlie!

It should tell me if you like the smell of patchouli

Or if you maybe like to tell jokes about dead babies

Like what’s harder than nailing a dead baby to a tree?

Nailing it to a… [upset] dead puppy.

[spoken] God dammit. I hate those jokes. I don’t know why I keep Googling them.

TRICIA

TRICIA puts her arm around Stephanie and strokes her hair

[spoken] There there. This device—it’s causing nothing but trouble.  

But I think I have just the song to make it all better.

[over intro of song] Yeah. That’s good. I like that.

photos by Julia Kramer

photos by Julia Kramer

"IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER"

TRICIA

Do you remember my boyfriend Chad?

Remember how he could always make me laugh?

I found out he was a flatulophiliac [spoken] That’s someone who’s turned on by farts.

We were still together eight months after that.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

Or how about that girl Emily dated who we all thought was great?

Her browser history was full of Vore, and I don’t mean to throw shade

But that’s fetishism for swallowing your partner whole after you mate.

So they both joined a student-run Vore club at Michigan State.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

I hope you didn’t think I’d leave out Stephanie.

She dated a girl who left her for a Brony.

Also Stephanie got into dudes wearing female doll masks—it’s called “masking.”

But that girl and that Brony are now happily married.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

TRICIA, EMILY and STEPHANIE

Oh-oh!

It doesn’t fucking matter

Oh-oh

It doesn’t fucking matter

[start handclap, encourage audience to join in]

Oh-oh

It doesn’t fucking matter

[repeat]

[good nights and thanks for coming over drum beat fadeout]

Comedy Coven Sampler CD

Music? Good. Free music? Even gooder! This 19-track sampler will be available for FREE (What? Yeah, you read that right, bruh.) at the merch table at this Tuesday's Comedy Coven show. 

The sampler includes some tunes I've recorded for podcasts and videos as well as some tracks from various bands I've been involved in (Farewell Scalar, The Captains of Industry), some tracks the Knee-Jerk Mag guys and I recorded for Kickstarter rewards, and a guide-vocal demo for one of the songs I wrote to be performed in the third act of the Coven show! So come for the Comedy Coven and stay for a free music sampler!

I'll also have a few copies of The Way We Sleep for sale for $10.

Learn how to get tickets for Comedy Coven XXIV: Fake & Gay HERE!

And if you're in need of some music for your next project, drop me a line at caseyjbye@gmail.com.

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

Cover illustrations manipulated from The British Library public domain files.

Ready for the merch table!

Ready for the merch table!

Comedy Coven Zine illustrations

I recently began working on illustrations and music for Lansing's Comedy Coven, a sketch and standup comedy trio made up of the amazing and talented Emily Syrja, Stephanie Onderchanin, and Tricia Chamberlain. I could spend hours writing about why they're awesome, but this Lansing City Pulse article does better than I probably could (plus: fascinating backstories of the group!). So go read that, then come back!

Below, check out some illustrations I've done for an upcoming Comedy Coven zine. And then check out Comedy Coven on Facebook, on their site, and at the Robin Theatre the third Tuesday of every month! Oh, and don't forget about their new Comedy Coven Presents series! The next one is Feb. 27 and featuring the hilarious Krish Mohan.

I'm so proud to have the opportunity to work with these insanely talented women. More Coven-related work to come!

A hovering Wiccan.

A hovering Wiccan.

Deer in the moonlight looking out through a moon (whoa trippy!)

Deer in the moonlight looking out through a moon (whoa trippy!)

Hans Memling inspired hell-pit.

Floating schoolgirl witch with cyote pals.

Floating schoolgirl witch with cyote pals.

A witch's ladder.

A witch's ladder.

Demon-fingers witch hand with occult ring/braclet.

Demon-fingers witch hand with occult ring/braclet.

Crow in a tree.

Crow in a tree.

Cloak girl.

Cloak girl.

Satan goat.

Satan goat.

Grasshopper familiar.

Grasshopper familiar.

Witch costume girl.

Witch costume girl.

Ol' sunface.

Ol' sunface.

Skull; excerpt from an original DC Comics Constantine sketch I made 2 years ago.

Skull; excerpt from an original DC Comics Constantine sketch I made 2 years ago.

References (along with some fantastic pieces I found on Pinterest, most of them, unfortunately not credited).

References (along with some fantastic pieces I found on Pinterest, most of them, unfortunately not credited).