Free Laughs on Tuesday

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Rivers Langley at the Unneccessary Evil Comedy Show PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER

by hannah lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

Love coffee? Love comedy? Then join Auburn native Rivers Langley for a free comedy show at Coffee Cat on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Langley, a comedian living in L.A., originally from Auburn, gathered a collection of comedians including Keith Carey, Nicole Becannon, David Perdue, Samm Severin and Tom Goss to come to Auburn for a show.

“I always try to put on a stand-up show somewhere in town when I come back home,” he said. “I didn’t have a chance to put on a show in 2020 for obvious reasons so I’m so happy to be back doing my thing. On this particular occasion, I’m back in town hosting the Fall Boogie in Waverly on the weekend before the show.

“… I grew up in Auburn and still have a lot of friends here so it’s always nice to see everybody and to be able to showcase all of the insanely talented comedians I know who come to town for these things.”

Langley attended Auburn University and graduated in 2009 after spending his four years in school working for WEGL 91.1, the campus radio station.

“I was hosting the daily news show in addition to two long music shows on Sunday,” he said. “I would also just hang out at the radio station during the day and if someone didn’t show up for their show, I’d jump on air and fill time between classes. It was, by far, the best thing I did in college.

“About a year after I graduated, I was working at Mellow Mushroom (English degrees, right?) with a guy named Ryan Oliver who had recently begun pursuing stand-up comedy. Ryan was driving back and forth to Birmingham and Atlanta regularly to go to open mics and shows and getting pretty good at it. In talking to Ryan I realized, ‘Oh, wow, you can just do that. If you’ve got gas money and a bit of ambition, you can just BE a comedian. You don’t have to ask.’”

Thus started Langley’s journey to being a comedian. Believe it or not, the career started on South Gay Street at Gnu’s Room. 

“We went to the show at the Gnu’s Room and I saw people my own age doing comedy and doing it pretty well, all things considered,” he said. “After the show, Mosman said, ‘I think we should try this. You know that Anthony guy, right? Ask him if we can do five minutes on his next show.’ I asked Anthony and he was nice enough to give me my first set ever the next month at Olde Auburn Ale House (which is now The Hound) in early 2011.”

Langley has a weekly stand-up show in L.A., in addition to shows he’s produced.

“I put my whole life in a Nissan hatchback and left Auburn on July 16, 2012,” he said. “I had a brief stop-over in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Had one really crazy night where I had to follow Robin Williams at an open mic at a bar called “Dirty Trix Saloon.”) before moving to L.A. on Labor Day 2012.”

Now, Langley does work in filmed sketch comedy (his group ‘Hush Money’ became popular enough to get noticed by Amazon and Comedy Central.) and hosts a weekly podcast called “The Goods from the Woods” (The podcast receives over 10,000 downloads a month.).

“We get around 10,000 downloads a month and just getting to hear feedback on Twitter from people who listen to our show has absolutely meant the world to me, especially during the pandemic,” Langley said. “In March of 2020, we basically transformed the podcast from a more-or-less evergreen show about comedy and pop culture into a side series called “The Corona Diaries” where we switched it up into talking about what we were doing to stave off boredom in quarantine while also covering the news and documenting the fall of western civilization three times a week.

“We ended up doing 150 episodes of The Corona Diaries and the podcast absolutely saved me from going crazy during the pandemic. I even did phone interviews with some of our listeners who are frontline workers on the show. That gave me such a sense of perspective. Our listeners are so cool. We got so many messages during The Corona Diaries from people saying ‘Thanks for doing the show, it’s really helped me out to be able to laugh during all of this.’ It sounds cheesy but that absolutely meant the world to me.”

As for the future, the Auburn native said his main goal is to have fun and make others laugh.

“If I can make one person forget that they’re going through something tough or having a bad time and laugh at something dumb I said at a show or on a podcast, it was all worth it,” he said.

Langley encouraged Auburn natives to come out to Coffee Cat on Oct. 19 from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

“Well, when I lived [in Auburn], I always enjoyed it when something different was rolling through town,” he said. “This is definitely gonna be something different. World-class comedians performing for free on a Tuesday night? Why wouldn’t you wanna see that?”

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