Comedian Jill Bourque is hoping for an exhilarated audience at her fifth-annual Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve show—but no cardiac arrests.
(Writer’s note: The first New Year’s Eve comedy show I attended, Ron White was the headliner, but before he could take the stage, an audience member had a heart attack in the front row of the Funny Bone comedy club, I told Jill. He survived.)
“You always wonder what’s going to happen when you perform in so many shows,” Bourque said.
Hopefully, her 2014 begins on a less serious note.
“I hope there’s some incontinence from laughter,” Bourque said. “That would be the ultimate.”
This year’s event will be held for the first time at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Bourque is co-hosting with a Bay Area favorite, Brian Copeland, and the line-up features a cavalcade of quirky comics: Kelly Erskine, Laurie Kilmartin, Joe Klocek, Casey Ley, Dan St. Paul, and Brent Weinbach.
“Brent was kind of the genesis for this show. I love his unconventional comedy, and when I was producing shows for The Purple Onion, he was headlining one weekend. We were talking, and he inspired me to create this New Year’s show that would be full of unconventional comedy,” Bourque said.
Her biggest challenge hasn’t been putting together a stellar line-up but to get the comedians to dress up a little for the special occasion. To battle that, last year Bourque had three costume changes, culminating in a big, orange and silver balloon gown.
“I almost became a drag queen last year,” she said. Bourque aims to top the 350 balloons that adorned her petite frame last year. “More, more, more! I think we’re adding some three footers to this one,” she added.
Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve is also not normal because it culminates at 10 p.m. San Francisco time—or midnight in Normal, Illinois, Bourque says.
“I like an 8 o’clock show because I like a crisp audience. Some of the shows go beyond midnight, but I don’t like that kind of sloppy audience. It’s not fun for everyone. It gets a little belligerent,” Bourque said.
But her show does end with a bang or two—a giant balloon drop.
“We have these giant, three-foot-in-diameter balloons. When they drop, there’s five minutes of just the balloons going around the theatre,” Bourque said. “I’ve heard stories of people taking them with them on BART.”
For those who want to continue having a good time until midnight (and beyond) local time, for an additional $99, attendees can bounce into the Marines’ Memorial New Year’s party after the show for an open bar, dancing and champagne at midnight.
You may not see Bourque there, though, because last year after the show she spent 45 minutes taking photos with people who were all a’flutter over her balloon gown. If time allows, she might “float by” the party.
“So many balloon jokes, so little time,” she laughed.
Brazilian Mash-Up Artist DJ Lucio K will also keep the festivities lively, Bourque said. For tickets and more information about Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve, call (415) 392-4400 or visit www.nynnye.com.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.