As if in a relay race of cute ladies, one of South Florida's finest comedy nights was handed from one of the prettiest girls in comedy to another. After Jessica Gross, birth mommy of the Moustache Ride Comedy Show, moved to New York, the torch of the laughable evening was handed over to new mommy Irene Morales.
This ride starts and ends at Lester's the second Wednesday of each month. When Gross skipped town, neither the folks at Lester's nor Jessica wanted the show to come to an end. All eyes turned to Morales, who had performed at every show. Suddenly, she inherited the title of hostess.
Morales says she sometimes feels like Gross is the fairy godmother -- and she's like the bad parent. "I'm not going to do the arts and crafts. Jessica is a superwoman for making it cute every month," Morales pointed out. Gross often created mustache-themed items to entertain, some you could wear on your face and others with which you could stuff your face -- we mean cookies, you pervert.
Morales is a crafty lady, too, and just might put together a kooky 'stache accoutrement. But at this point, with work and work and work and comedy, she it escapes her how Gross created these extra goodies each week. Otherwise, though, she's keeping the night as close to the original winning formula as possible.
Don't let the new host fool you with her humility. She's not just showing up. The funny girl is working hard for no money, and plans to pop out jokes this Wednesday on topics to which many of us can relate: how much she loathes her retail job at American Apparel and Toms shoes.
This isn't her first time reigning in the comics. She's hosted a Miami Improv showcase and co-hosted The Jerk Show. Morales won the 2008 Miami Improv New Faces of Comedy Contest, and was a finalist in the 2009 Miami Improv Turkey Contest and Miami Improv Comedy Derby. You'll also catch her making them laugh at Sweat Records' Casa de Ha Ha and the Comedy Inn, where she is the comedy director.
The success of the Moustache Ride Comedy Show arises not just from the charming host, but also from the quality of the performers. You'll find seasoned comedians taking a break from their tour schedules to sling jokes next to Miami's most promising novices. Morales calls it "a haven where professional comics who call Miami home come out and try out their new material once a month."
House comedians include Forrest Shaw, who was a finalist at the Comedy Central South Beach Comedy Festival, and Lisa Corrao and Dave Williamson, two finalists at the Boston Comedy Festival . She praises them as comics who "keep live local comedy going while moving forward in their careers." This means not every one of them is there for every Moustache Ride, but it also means that you're guaranteed a laugh every time.
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"It's a good experience for everyone," she assures.
Morales loves doing standup at Lester's. They've built a loyal and respectful crowd that allow the comedians to speak their piece. "It's not like a bar where you have to scream over TVs and chicken wings," she pointed out. Of the audience, she noted gratefully, "we're blessed." Be part of that blessing.
This week, you'll catch Forrest Shaw, Dominic Perenzin, Johnny Trabs, John Wynn, and Lisa Corrao at the Moustache Ride on Wednesday, January 11 at 8 p.m. at Lester's.