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THE IDIOT BOX: THE LINK BETWEEN STAND-UP AND COMICS

by Brian Clarey

Steve Lesser says it’s okay to call him a nerd.

“I don’t take offense to that at all,” he says. “I am kind of an across-theboard nerd.”

Not all PhDs are nerds, of course — but let’s get real: There is a definite correlation between education and nerdliness.

And Lesser’s crew, known on their South Elm Street Stage as the Idiot Boxers, has the bona fides.

“There’s a lot of education between us: PhDs, masters, a lawyer. There’s no lack of education in the group.”

The Boxers, along with a crew of standup comics and sketch crews, will perform five comic-book related shows during the convention weekend.

“One of the sketches I wrote that will be in the show is Lex Luthor and Superman breaking up and deciding they’re gonna be arch-nemeses with other people,” he says. “We’ve got a Stan Lee sketch we might do, a Marvel being bought by Disney sketch.”

Lesser and his overeducated group of nerds know that to appease the comicbook crowd, they will have to know their stuff. They’ve got to know Earth 1 from Earth 2, distinguish between the Iron Man suits and know the difference between Batgirl and Batwoman, and the red and Green Hulks.

“Nobody in our group ever likes to say something that’s coming from a position of ignorance — the Superman/ Lex thing doesn’t go too deep into the backstory, but the references are all real references,” he says. “A lot of it is stuff we already kind of knew, but if there’s something that comes up, we’ll break out the comic books or ask our friends. But a lot of the guys writing sketches, they are the experts.”

Friday night, after an installment of the Ultimate Comic Challenge at 8 p.m., the sketch troupe Mon Frere bring their newest show, “Klingon Butterface,” to the Idiot Box Stage, and you better believe these guys know the difference between the Starship Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon. Saturday sees three shows: an 8 pm. improv show appropriate for all ages, followed by a late show by a two-member group, Regeneration Nation, that takes on “Dr. Who.” The midnight set, Lesser says, is comprised of “standups that love comics.”

These guys likely already know that if you get heckled by the Hulk, be he red or green, you just let it go.

The Idiot Box runs comics-related shows all weekend long. Visit their website at IdiotBoxers.com

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