The holidays will be ushered in with laughs this weekend with the The Eric and Joe Before Thanksgiving Christmas Variety Show IV: All In A Days Work.
Creators Joe Bennett and Eric Clemens admit it’s a long title but that’s part of why it’s funny.
It’s the sixth year for the show.
“I just love doing it,” Bennett said.
Bennett writes the show so coming up with a theme each year helps keep it focused, he said.
For this year’s program, he thought about mundane things of life everyone experiences.
“There’s a lot of comedy in there to mine,” he said. “It’s dealing with those everyday things of life but we’re going to make them absurd and bring some comedy to it.”
Clemens said if he had to write the show they’d be in trouble.
“It would take me 10 years and it wouldn’t be good after 10 years,” he joked.
Along with the cast and crew of volunteers, this year’s feature band is led by local recording artist Mark Melloan.
“They sound incredible,” Bennett said.
If you’ve never been to the show you’ll still get the jokes, he said, adding if you’ve been before there’s still Easter eggs that refer to other shows.
They both thought it would just be a show they did once to scratch performing in a variety show off their bucket list.
“We were shocked that it almost sold out,” Bennett said.
It’s now grown to a three-night event.
“After our first performance, we said 15-year-old Eric and Joe would be pretty happy for 30-year-old Eric and Joe for doing it and that people came to see it,” Clemens said. “It was neat to see how many people came out to support our stupid adventure.”
He said it was even better they left talking about how funny it is. For some, it’s become a holiday tradition.
“I’m always surprised people come back but I’m glad they do because we love doing it and we hope this is a thing that brings the community together,” Bennett said. “We want to bring some hope and joy because there’s enough stress in life and hopefully we’ll bring some happiness and laughter and we point to Jesus in the end.”
It’s very important to them the show is family friendly, he said. Bennett wants his kids to be able to attend.
“We work very hard to make that happen,” he said. “I try to describe it as Saturday Night Live but for everyone.”
This year’s show feels different for Clemens.
“I’m just a lot more excited about this year’s show,” he said.
Bennett joked they finally got the show right.
“I know my lines already,” Clemens said, which is new because he said he usually doesn’t have them memorized until halfway through the first show.
The dance number is one of Bennett’s favorite parts of the show. Clemens doesn’t love it as much.
“Watching him line dance is like watching someone’s brain break,” Bennett said. “Don’t watch anyone but Eric.”
Clemens said Bennett tells people every time there’s a dance number he can see the audience carefully watching him.
“It’s like they just saw a train wreck,” he joked.
Some characters make an appearance each year such as Troy T. Wood and DJ DJ Tanner. These two characters are even featured on T-shirts for sale.
The two creators and volunteers have been working since September to make it a good start for the holiday season, Bennett said. There are many working behind the scenes to pull it off as well.
“I’m just really grateful and thankful for the amazing group of people who help and invest in this,” Bennett said.
Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday at the State Theater in Elizabethtown.
General admission tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. VIP tickets are $25 and only sold in advance. The VIP tickets include seating in the first 10 rows and your choice of a Troy T. Wood for president T-shirt or a DJ DJ Tanner for vice president T-shirt.
Proceeds go to Helping Hand of Hope Beds for Children through a partnership with Give 270.
For tickets or information, go to theericandjoeshow.com.