It is a reference to one of our most favorite, goofy, and completely ridiculous sketches…(on the show title).

Nick Peterson

Comedy Writer & Performer, Live! From La Crosse

We visited with Nick Peterson, this time to chat Live! from La Crosse’s “Episode 23: We Hope THE ORB Likes This” We talk about the cast, past online shows, his affinity for writing funny music, the good cause associated with the show, what’s next, and some news on a celebrity guest host at an upcoming show.

Amy Gabay 00:05
We chatted with Nick Peterson. This time to chat LIVE from La Crosse “Episode 23: We Hope THE ORB Likes This.” We talk about the cast, past online shows, his affinity for writing funny music, the good cause associated with the show, what’s next and some news on a celebrity guest host at an upcoming show. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:32
I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:33
And this is La Crosse Local.

Brent Hanifl 00:58
So Nick, we talked to you about 100 podcasts ago. So I imagine, you know, you got some new stuff going on. What’s happening?

Nick Peterson 01:06
Well, LIVE from La Crosse has finally started kicking back into action after about two years of being inactive and in a live sense. We’ve done some virtual sketch comedy shows to bide our time. And then we did some restructuring. But on March 5th, Saturday at The Main we have a show called We Hope THE ORB Likes This. It’s our 23rd episode, but our first episode back in a little, in almost two and a half years.

Brent Hanifl 01:34
So where does that title come from? What does that even mean?

Nick Peterson 01:37
It’s a reference to all the sketches we did, We did write this sketch, Taylor Goodine wrote this sketch, before this whole, the orb meme became very popular like just this last December, January. We had named the show when we were supposed to have it back in October before the first delay due to COVID. But since then, the popular All Hail The Celestial Orb meme became very popular. It is a reference to one of our most favorite and goofy and completely ridiculous sketches we’re going to do in this show.

Brent Hanifl 02:11
Getting back from doing the online thing and just, you know talking about the past couple years with COVID. Do you have the same cast or has it been switched up a little bit or what’s happening with the people putting on the show?

Nick Peterson 02:22
The same cast. But the one big change we made was we’ve done a bit of reorganizing, and people probably won’t notice this watching live show. But it’s interesting as we’ve done a bit of reorganizing about our approach to developing a show. In the past it was more like we had our writers writing things, we had our performers performing things, we had our singer singing things and so on our directors directing things. But now it’s become more of a more hands makes lighter weight situation, where everyone has a hand in writing, everyone has a hand and performing and just making it more of a collaborative process. Instead of at first, our structure was more based on Saturday Night Live, and where you kind of had teams of pockets of people doing different things. And now it is more of a classic sketch comedy sense of like, no, we’re going to get a room together, every decision is made together. Every joke is rehearsed and talked about as a group. And we and it’s, so the feeling that has been the biggest change. And we’re kind of hoping that even though writing wise, that’s not going to change, like the structure of the show, really, that the feeling of camaraderie and unity as a group will shine on stage a bit more and more people will have opportunities to lead sketches or sing songs and do different things.

Brent Hanifl 03:36
For practicing, are you actually you know, in the Main Event Center? It’s kind of like a brand new space now, are you actually practicing there, have already done that live performance on there yet, or practice or whatever?

Nick Peterson 03:46
We have not. This will be our first performance at the Main. We’re really excited about this new venue. Matt Mahlum has done such a fantastic job with that place, we’re really excited to work with them. We’re hoping to get in there and play with this space using this show really as a chipping off the rust from two years of non live performing. We’ve done some comedy since then. But we’re excited to try out this space. So this show, though it is a two year polished show, we’ve been working on this one for a long, long time. We’re also walking into a new venue and trying out like you know with every venue you go to there’s different sound boards and tech people and the stage is a different structure and entrances and exits are a little different. So this show is a bit about us kind of playing in the space and getting comfortable with it because it’s a new place. That said, we’ve been there several times working with Matt, talking with him and we couldn’t be more excited, not just for our group performing this space but what the potential that this space has and what he’s already bringing to La Crosse every weekend.

Brent Hanifl 04:43
You know talking the past here, in the few that you did online were just hilarious, you know in the sense of someone who doesn’t, for whatever reason I just never came out for LIVE from La Crosse. But seeing online, it was just you know, well produced and just hilarious. So, you know, I don’t know if you felt that or if you think you found a different audience or a new audience that may be coming to the shows?

Nick Peterson 05:07
I really hope so. The motivation wasn’t so much to grow the audience. The motivation at the time, because I know a lot of us are trying to forget it. But early COVID, the feeling was, oh, my God, this is never going to end. So the first show we did, you know, it was in May of 2020, we’re only two months into this with no end in sight. And the feeling was, at that point, the feeling was, we’re about feeling about as bad as we possibly could everyone was really down like, it’s the first step of this marathon. So the first show was kind of hastily thrown together and a learning curve, so some of the video was a little off, and some of the audio was didn’t quite sync up things, but we had some really good quality product. And we used the learning from that show to build a second virtual show that we put up in December of 2020. And that show, I feel stands up to any online virtual sketch comedy that you’re gonna see. I mean, not only we are able to learn how to do some basic animation, we came up with a brand new title sequence, and worked on transitions. And it’s just the avenue of comedy in video sketch is a bit different avenue than live performance, because you can mess with your comedic timing a bit, you can do multiple multiple takes, and then pick the perfect one. And then we started messing with some green screen work. So elements of it, we’re hoping that will bleed into this show and become part of our live show that said, you know, we are going LIVE from La Crosse. We don’t want to, like roll out the TV and say, okay, people you paid for this, here’s the video we did. We’re gonna have a little, we’re gonna incorporate elements of some of the video work and the new skills that we’ve learned, but it’s still going to be a live show.

Brent Hanifl 06:48
Those news components of that show are just laugh out loud, like I was just amazed at the quality of the product you’re putting out there.

Nick Peterson 06:55
Thank you.

Brent Hanifl 06:56
You also write music too. So I believe there’s gonna be some music coming on this show as well?

Nick Peterson 07:02
Yeah we always try to have a musical number, too, we’re very musical based. I mean, you think of comedy like obviously, we have stand up comics in our group, we also have a lot of theater people as well. And even our stand up comedians, and basically all of our group have a strong affinity for just the love of music and trying to branch, bridge the comedy elements and music. And what we try to do is like, one of the staples of our show is ending the night on a big musical number of some sort. This show we created, we wrote a song ,created one that kind of we’re thinking encapsulates how the last two years have felt. But also we’re hoping it will be like a relief of we’re hoping that we’re kind of coming out of the last two years and like starting new and things are opening back up and mandates are being lifted. That this song which is called Personal Hell will resonate with people in a different way. And they’ll find the irony in the comedy at a different level. And that being said, though, the show isn’t going to be an hour of COVID jokes. As a matter of fact, we don’t even reference COVID at all in it. It’s really about like, escaping that conversation for the most part, even though I’ve been talking about pretty much the whole time here. But it’s, we want people to come out and for a little bit just forget about everything that’s going on for once and be able to go out and enjoy some live comedy.

Brent Hanifl 08:38
Noticing the Main also, it seems like they have a real avenue for raising money, too. So it looks like five bucks every ticket purchase will be donated to the Good Fight Community Center?

Nick Peterson 08:49
Mm hmm.

Brent Hanifl 08:50
Did you guys have a choice in that, or was that, did Matt kick out that idea?

Nick Peterson 08:53
When we first approached Matt, he was still kind of still very early in the stages of the Main opening up. I don’t think they had had their first event when we started meeting with him. So a lot of it was new. But he, one of his main motivations for doing this has been putting good things back into the community. Obviously, our show we believe, strongly feel and believe is one of those elements of putting good things in the community. But we also want to find ways to like branch outside of the performance and arts and be able to use our platform to help other groups in mind. So tickets are $15, but for every ticket that we sell $5 of those of each ticket goes to the Good Fight. It’s a youth center for at risk teens, I believe. It was Matt’s idea of the basically the only caveat was you just want he didn’t say what charitable organization was he just said we would like you to have some type of charitable donation to some local organization. And our one of our managers Bobby Schmidt, sorry Bobby Bigelkie came back with the the Good Fight as an organization our group really connected with and it was one that we all thought yes, that’s what we want to support with our monies.

Brent Hanifl 10:05
So Episode 23: We Hope THE ORB Likes This, Saturday, March 5th. You also reference there, it says here at the bottom, I’m on the Facebook event page, about a celebrity guest. Or you’re going to announce it there, or what’s celebrity guest host coming in May?

Nick Peterson 10:22
We are, that is that’s a big announcement. Well for this show, because we’re kind of feeling out the space and we haven’t been performing in a while, this show is a bit of chipping off the rust, like I said. But we recognize that we want to get people out to the show and enjoy it with us. And we realize it’s been a long time since we’ve been on stage. And we’re hoping people haven’t forgotten about it. So we want to have an incentive for people. So we have a show on May 7th and what we’ve done is we’ve hired a celebrity guest host to come and guest host our show. Now two years ago, we had a guy named Eric Stolhanske. He was the Super Troopers actor and Beer Fest. And with the Broken Lizard Comedy group. He’s got a new movie coming out on Hulu this summer with the Broken Lizard group. But we have another very big name who’s been in if you’ve seen any 80s like coming of age kid, comedy or movie, you know who this actor is. So what we’re gonna do is at the end of this show, we’re going to announce who this person is. And if you’re at the show, we’re going to give you first dibs on buying tickets to that show, because we’re assuming we’re hoping like the Eric Stolhanske show, this show is going to sell really, really quickly. And we want to give the people who are, who have been following, who have been faithful to us that first opportunity to get tickets to the show, but this is a really big name. And I can’t I honestly can’t believe we got this guy. We’re super excited.

Brent Hanifl 11:41
Sweet. So, speaking of tickets, where can people pick them up? Where’s the best avenue to check those out?

Nick Peterson 11:46
The best avenue is unfortunately using Facebook still. We have a, I know we’re gonna get it worked out.

Brent Hanifl 11:53
All right.

Nick Peterson 11:53
We have a Facebook event put up Episode 23 We Hope The ORB Likes This. If you follow any of our cast members or the group on Facebook, that’s the best way to do it. But on there is a link to Brown Paper Tickets. That’s the online selling resource that we use but tickets will be available at the door. I can almost guarantee if you show up the day of the show you can get tickets at the door $15. But if you want to get them in advance, make sure you get a seat, Brown Paper Tickets is what we’re using for online ticket sales using our Facebook event page.

Amy Gabay 12:27
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


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