“After a year and a half, I just wanted to knock the rust off before producing and hosting again. You’d think it’s just like riding a bike. But there was definitely some social anxiety after that long break.”
Jordan Pauley is a stand-up comedian and the man behind Crimson Jester Productions.
“I always had friends tell me, ‘Yeah, you’re really funny. You ever think about doing stand-up comedy?’ But stand-up comedy didn’t really exist in Kenosha,” he said of his early days.
It all got started one spring evening, six or seven years ago, at the now defunct Comedy Cafe in Milwaukee. It was an open mic, but not the typical open mic. “It was a bringer mic. So you had to bring a certain amount of people to be able to perform,” Jordan explains.
Describing the difference between that first bringer mic and his performance style these days, he said, “I don’t stutter as much now as I did then. I’m more sober when I go on stage now.”
When he isn’t making us laugh, Jordan is also a photographer. Over the last several years, he and his camera have been a familiar fixture at various open mics and concerts in the area.
“I started bringing my camera to the open mics because it was a good place to learn. There’s a lot of movement, a lot of action. Lights changing,” he said.
He used his skills and equipment to capture the unrest experienced in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August of 2020.
“I wasn’t at the first handful of protests,” he said, recalling the events of last summer. “I actually went out to a Back the Blue rally because Daniel Thompson asked me if I wanted to go with him and help document things.”
He was faced with the reality of counter-protesters and violent altercations. “This was before everything went crazy. Before the news crews,” he said. “I was like yeah, if this is what’s happening, during a global pandemic, this should be documented for future generations.”
One pandemic and several thousand protest photos later, Jordan Pauley is once again taking to the stage.
Kicking off his return to the world of producing, hosting, and performing in comedy shows is an All-Comedy Open Mic. The fun begins Downtown at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Kenosha’s Creative Space.
“As far as I know, there hasn’t been another one in Kenosha in the last two years since the last one I ran. If no one else is doing it, I’m either doing something right or something wrong here,” Jordan said of this event. “In asking around, it seems there’s a lot of people who are more interested in trying comedy for their first time. I think after this last year, they’re like, ‘I’m gonna do it.’”
Jordan will also be participating in “A Kenosha Christmas Carol” at Fusion, telling a few jokes and playing a character called “Charity Man.” This December 11 event is sold out, but will be streaming live on the Facebook page of K-town Connects Podcast and several others.
On another Friday night, December 17 at 8:00 p.m. to be exact, Jordan acts as host and producer for the show “Out in Public Comedy Show,” at Public Craft Brewing Co. Comics Aaron Clark, Drew Flagge, Jose Montero, and Nathan Clemons are the supporting acts for Chicago comedian Mike Hover. There will also be a performance by popular local band Earthmother. Tickets for this event are $15, and can be purchased at the door.
Check out Jordan’s projects on social media: