Tour opens new door for comics in 'Crisis'

Alex Stokes, Jay Pinkerton and Sandy Goddard of Mid-Life Crisis comics.

Alex Stokes, Jay Pinkerton and Sandy Goddard of Mid-Life Crisis comics.

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Knoxville's Mid-Life Crisis comics, consisting of Alex Stokes, Jay Pinkerton and Sandy Goddard, kick off a two-week-long tour at Side Splitters on Sunday.

The group, whose members range in age from mid-30s to late 40s, is taking its blend of comedy - spanning from Goddard's family-based (though not necessarily PG) humor, to Stokes' anecdotes of twice-divorced life, to Pinkerton's darker act (including occasional references to intimate encounters with the elderly) - to eight different cities across the nation.

The local comics came together within the past year, meeting at open mic shows. Although they take the name the "Mid-Life Crisis" comics, their humor stems mostly from relatable real-life scenarios, awkward situations, and the occasional controversial bit, not aimed at any one particular demographic.

The show marks a first for the group - the members of which usually perform individually and not as a collective. They occasionally hold emcee or guest spots at Side Splitters but have never done an evening where all three perform as the guest, feature and headliner.

Stokes explains that the show is going to be "a little different than anything we've done before."

"We've worked hard to put a little more show into it," he says. "The comedy will still be there hopefully, but we've added a few subtle special effects to make it an even more enjoyable show."

"We're going to get up there and read poetry," Goddard jokingly adds. In reality, each member has a 20-45 minute set with Goddard headlining the show.

"Bridgette (O'Dell, Side Splitters co-owner) offered us a chance to do the kickoff show here," Pinkerton says.

The group leaves town immediately after the show ends and drives to Dallas, where they will be crashing with Stokes' mother on that leg of the tour.

The tour stems from a longtime dream of Pinkerton's, the group's oldest member, who wanted to drive out to L.A.'s famous club the Comedy Store to perform (where they will be doing three-minute sets).

"I did some (stand-up) in the '80s and got out of it, didn't do it long," Pinkerton says. "I got back into it about a year ago after a separation from my wife and family. I just wanted to do something I wanted to do, for me. I've always wanted to do it, and now it's my time to do what I want to do.

"My whole thing was to do a trip out there and back and do it on a budget, with minimal money," he says. "I wanted the rawness of it, even as far as maybe sleeping in the car."

"Most of this is done with our own money and our own creativity," Pinkerton adds.

The tour takes the comedians through Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Houston, Baton Rouge, La., and New Orleans, but their longest sets will be at the Knoxville show.

At stops like Las Vegas (which has multiple comedy venues), they plan to stop by open mics at additional clubs where they aren't scheduled. "We might try to see how many clubs we can hit in a night," Pinkerton says.

"I'm going to tell one long joke between four clubs and see if people follow to hear the end of it," Stokes adds.

Despite having reached an alleged age of emotional maturity, Goddard and Pinkerton fight like sugar-rush-driven 10-year-old boys. "I used to be the peace-keeper" Stokes says. "But I gave up."

"Most of your time spent on vacation is spent with families," Pinkerton says. "We chose to spend it with each other on the road, which we'll probably regret by the time we get to Memphis."

"I regret it already," Goddard responded.

"Everybody's like, 'Yeah, well, you're nuts. Driving to California and back is just crazy,' " Goddard explains. "The more we got to talking about it the more things happened. We started planning shows in between - from here and California and back. It's grown faster than what we had expected it to."

"As far as it all goes, it all comes from the genius mind of Jay Pinkerton," Goddard adds.

The Mid-Life Crisis Comics perform at Side Splitters on Sunday. Tickets are $8.

n Einstein Split-ified: Knoxville's improv comedy troupe Einstein Simplified has moved its show to Side Splitters for Tuesday nights in March. Tickets are $5.

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