Punk rock meets comedy at Strange Matter

Maya Earls
Spectrum Editor

Joe Staats, Jay Whitecotton and JT Habersaat perform comedy with a punk twist. Photo courtesy of JT Habersaat

Full of angst, leather and flailing limbs in a mosh pit, punk music is known for being on the edge, but on Oct. 15 Strange Matter will lighten the mood with the Altercation Punk comedy tour.

The tour will feature JT Habersaat along with a few local comedians for an all-ages night of entertainment. Originally from New York, Habersaat has grown up with punk music shows at the famed music club CBGB. After finding his love for comedy, he decided to combine the two and brought fellow comedians along for the ride.

“I always kind of dabbled in stand-up, and started pushing it for real in 2008,” Habersaat said. “I just saw a hole in terms of something that I think would work.”

Habersaat has been touring the country for a few months each year since 2008, and always changes the lineup for a different experience at each show. Jay Whitecotton, Joe Staats and Dirty Charlie will join Habersaat for the performance at Strange Matter.

“Comedy’s a big world but also a small world — you figure out pretty quick who you’d like to work with,” Habersaat said.

Habersaat said the comedy tour sprung out of the “Altercation” brand he promotes. Before the tour, Habersaat and his wife both published a punk magazine called “Altercation,” and he also runs the record label Altercation Records.

“As far as a punk comedy tour, ‘Altercation’ seems like the perfect fit,” Habersaat said. “It represents, I think, well the spirit we’re trying to bring, not that we fight anyone.”

For the comedy itself, Habersaat assures the subject matter will not be a series of Sex Pistols jokes. Instead, the comedians support the spirit of punk rock by performing rebellious comedy at alternative venues.

“It’s more about a spirit and attitude than punk as, like, a leather jacket and a mohawk,” Habersaat said.

The title of this year’s tour is “Trim the Fat” and will last 38 nights without vacation for the comedians. Habersaat said he enjoys going to a different city every night and meeting different people, but the long time away from his family is a challenge. Habersaat said he always tries to relate to the audience, and sometimes his adventures on the road serve as inspiration for his comedy.

“We were touring the West Coast in Oregon, and we were doing a Halloween show. We were performing with this band and one of the opening acts insulted the lead singer,” Habersaat said. “It was like something out of a movie. All these kids in costumes, vampires and werewolves, were chasing our car down the street.”

The tour stop at Strange Matter will be Habersaat’s first time performing in Richmond, and he said he is excited for the show. The show starts at 6 p.m. and is all-ages, which goes well with the punk atmosphere.

“I grew up going to all-ages shows in New York … so we try to do that whenever we can,” Habersaat said.

The Altercation Punk Comedy Tour will take place Oct. 15 at Strange Matter on 929 W. Grace St. The show will begin at 6 p.m. There will be an $8 cover, and tickets can be purchased in advance through eventbrite.com. On-the-road podcasts of the comedy tour are available at jtcomedy.com.

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