LaughFest presents the Blackout Diaries

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By Corey Tucker – Collegiate Staff

A weekly comedy show based in Chicago that features performers sharing stories of drunken endeavors has become an annual staple at Gilda’s LaughFest.

The Blackout Diaries, created by Chicago based comedian Sean Flannery, puts not only comedians, but ordinary people on stage to tell humorous stories of over consumption. Along with the funny stories that the individuals tell comes pictures from the actual events set up in a power point format. When each performer concludes their story they are then open to questions from the audience.

For the past three years Flannery has brought his show to LaughFest. The first year the Blackout Diaries were staged at the Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids, however, the last two years the show has been performed at Perrin brewing company in Comstock Park.

Grand Rapids comedian Matt Lauria opening the Blackout Diaries with some LaughFest announcements.  Photo by Corey Tucker
Grand Rapids comedian Matt Lauria opening the Blackout Diaries with some LaughFest announcements. Photo by Corey Tucker

The most recent Blackout Diaries show happened on Sunday March 8th. For $30 audience members received two drink tickets, an appetizer sampler, and a hilarious performance by Flannery, three of his comedian friends from Chicago, and Grand Rapids native and working comedian, Matt Lauria.

The show was hosted by Flannery, who opened by telling the crowd that he was voted “Best drunk” by the Chicago Reader. Flannery then told a story of being mugged at a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Flannery recalls that the hardest part of his title is sorting purchases out at the bank.

“The worst part, especially if you’ve been on a bender all weekend, is figuring out where your drunk purchases ended and the thief’s began,” Flannery explained.

Chicago comedian, Alex Joyce tells story about spending the night in jail. Photo by Corey Tucker
Chicago comedian, Alex Joyce tells story about spending the night in jail. Photo by Corey Tucker

Following Flannery was one of his Chicago friends, Alex Joyce. Joyce told a story about encountering a unique group of people while spending the night in a drunk tank in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. One of those people happened to be an intimidating Mexican man resembling “Machete,” who Joyce had to approach because this man was using the only roll of toilet paper as a pillow.

After Joyce, Grand Rapids comedian Matt Lauria took the stage to tell a story that happened on St Patrick’s Day in 2008. Lauria was at a bar in Kalamazoo where he wanted to play shuffle board. Unfortunately, because it was St Patrick’s Day and the bar was so crowded, people where using the shuffle board table as a place to set their drinks. That didn’t set well with Lauria who was being ignored by all the people when he drunkenly asked them to move their drinks. Consequently, Lauria felt that the only way he would be able to play shuffle board would be by removing all the drinks from the shuffle board table himself—by getting a running start and sliding across the shuffle board table. Of course, Lauria and his friends were kicked out of the bar.

The third story came from another Chicago based comedian, Derek Smith. Smith recalled a story where he made a fool of himself at his girlfriend’s boss’s wedding. The highlight of Smith’s story came after the wedding when he told about vomiting all over his then girlfriend’s apartment, then having to make a drunken trip to Wal-Mart to buy cleaning supplies to clean up the mess he had made.

The night was capped off by Erica Clark, who happens to be the daughter of Mr. T, of A-Team fame. Clark spoke of a story about her and her friends getting drunk then taking her dads Rolls Royce for a drive. In the midst of the joy ride, Clark ended up cutting off none other than Michael Jordan, who had some choice words for her. Smith closed her performance with a story about accidentally texting her dad (Mr. T). The text was actually meant for a man she was seeing at the time. The details of the text are explicit, and not printable.

The show ended up being a huge success. It was sold out to a very enthusiastic audience who laughed hysterically the entire night. Although it only happens once a year here in Grand Rapids, Flannery puts the show on weekly in Chicago at the High Hat club. The Blackout Diaries also has a podcast that can be found at blackoutdiaries.info.

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