By Isaac Hamlet
You’ve probably seen Brian Posehn before. He’s 6-7, bald, sports a full ginger-tinted beard, and dons glasses with thick, black rims. It’s hard to miss him, but until you see his face, you might not even realize you know him from somewhere.
At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Posehn, a comedian and actor, will be one of the many performers appearing in the Englert’s Witching Hour.
Posehn has appeared in shows such as “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Seinfeld” and voiced characters in such programs as “Steven Universe” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”
“I remember seeing his silhouette for [comedy album] The Fartist, and I thought ‘I know who that guy is,’” said Tim Barnes, a Chicago comedian who will interview Posehn for his podcast “It’s All True.” “I didn’t necessarily remember why I know who he is, but I know him.”
Posehn will appear on Barnes’s podcast at the Englert, four-and-a-half hours before he performs. Barnes’ podcast features him speaking with comedians, authors, and the like, asking them to relive funny events.
“The show is formatted so the first half is me doing an interview with the guest and asking questions,” Barnes said. “Then, during the second half, they tell a true story that’s funny and give it a headline. Hearing the headline is like the story’s horizon line and give it an extra punch.”
Both of the events are part of Iowa City’s new Witching Hour Festival, a series of events organized to allow those in attendance to confront the unknown and to see discussions and performances about the processes of those appearing.
“It’s an idea that began a couple years ago,” said Andre Perry, the Englert executive director and a curator for the Witching Hour. “We wanted a different kind of festival that presented thinkers and performers that might be a little less-well-known and give them a stage to present on.”
Chris Wiersema,one of the curators for the Witching Hour, recommended bringing in Posehn. His reasons for doing so were at least somewhat selfish, he said.
“I’ve personally been wanting to see Brian perform for Iowa City for a while,” Wiersema said. “From his work as a writer/performer on legendary sketch comedy like ‘Mr. Show’ and ‘Reno 911’ to his work as a sideman on scripted shows like ‘Just Shoot Me’ and ‘New Girl,’ Posehn is an omnipresent comedic voice both in production and performance for more than 20 years.”
Barnes and Wiersema respectively describe Posehn’s comedy as “casual” and having “a natural cadence.” Even with descriptions that have an easy-going feel, Wiersema believes Posehn will fit in fine for the purposes of the Witching Hour.
“In terms of the theme of the unknown, so much of what a comedian is saddled with doing is riding into the unknown,” he said. “The unknowns of the standup trade is having to walk into the spotlight in a strange room every night and having no idea if the tone, mood, or material that worked the night before in the town before is going to work now.”
Brian Posehn Standup
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Englert , 221 E. Washington