Race to the Coffin Comedy began in the summer of 2013 as a tour, consisting of five naive comedians hitting the road despite not having any idea how to tour or even do stand up comedy if we’re being honest. A successful Kickstarter funded this experiment, just in the nick of time before everyone started crowd funding their tours and were subsequently hated for doing so.
In 2012, Pittsburgh comedy legend, Aaron Kleiber booked a show billed as “Nothing Sacred”. It consisted of Pittsburgh’s “edgiest” jokesters. Basically anyone with a beard or tattoos or a belief that god’s fake. Those five comics would eventually become the Race to the Coffin Comedy Tour, minus Robert Ecks(philly) who was replaced by Jesse Irvin.
Jesse Irvin and John Dick Winters, both being failed punk musicians, wanted to go out on the road and play empty bars and living rooms like the good old days. They recruited Alex Stypula, Shannon Norman and for some completely unknown reason, Tim Ross. The original working title of RTTC was the “Day Job Keeping… Pieces of Shit of Comedy”. It had a nice ring to it they thought but the gang, despite their edgy persona and the accuracy of the name, thought it a little too rough even for them. So one faithful night, drunk, in a terribly smoky bar, Shannon Norman spit out “Race to the Coffin” and that was that. The gang booked 10 shows in as many days, internet begged for money and hit the road!
While it started out as a tour, RTTC is more of a brand these days. It is synonymous with high quality D.I.Y. stand up comedy all over Pittsburgh. Producing shows like “Comedy Roulette: Comedy with a Catch”, a rotating themed show; “Joking Off” a weekly stand up competition(ended in sep 15’); “Secret House Show” which is a god damn secret; “Sit Down and Laugh” coming to Hambone’s in Nov. 17’; and of course the “Burning Bridges Festival”, Pittsburgh’s biggest, most fun, most punk, most drunk comedy fest.
Thanks to everyone who ever bought a ticket, a t-shirt, gave us food, a place to crash or put up with Tim fucking Ross.