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The Beginning of a 'Standup Empire'

Michael Lee

Brently Heilbron started performing standup comedy at the tender age of 14, which means he's now been in the business for close to a quarter century. So when he says that the current scene in Austin is "an incredible time in comedy that I haven't seen in years," he's speaking with a certain level of authority.

The burgeoning Austin scene has inspired Heilbron to find a way to serve as a sort of comedy curator, presenting local talent to a wider world. That inspiration led to the development of the upcoming television series "Standup Empire." Heilbron will serve as producer and host of the show, which he and director Mike Wilson hope will do for comedy what "Austin City Limits" has done for music.

"The idea is to really showcase the diverse and cool talent on the scene in Austin," Heilbron says. And in that spirit, they're showcasing a wide range of comics during their first live taping (among those scheduled to appear are 10 year old Saffron Hendron and 65 year old Kerry Awn, for example). The goal, he says, "is to really give artists a chance to breathe, to showcase what they're like's just an incredible time to be in comedy and it's a pretty cool to be able to show it."

Standup Empire will tape its first series of shows on December 13 at Empire Control Room, with a TV premiere following sometime next year.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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