Bret Ernst will talk about anything onstage. "My family, myself, and my relationships," he says. "Personal stuff. I'm not really a joke teller, more of a storyteller. I get political every now and then. I'm a middle-of-the-road guy, so it's fun for me to shit on both sides." Describing himself as a "South Park Republican and a Jon Stewart liberal," Ernst can't understand why people in his industry seem to coddle President Obama. On the other hand, he emphatically recommends watching Rachel Maddow's interview with Jon Stewart from a few years ago. "It's the greatest interview I've ever seen. Google it." When not onstage, Ernst hosts an eponymously titled podcast on gocastnetwork.com. "It's a relief, because you can talk without having to worry about being funny," he explains. "If something is bothering me I can talk about it on the podcast and vent it in a normal conversation." Occasionally it will spark a bit. "You can stumble across something and think, 'Hey, I could take this onstage.'" Ernst has been part of Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, The Late, Late Show, and several other TV programs. He was also in a Ke$ha video. "That was a few years ago," he laughs. "The director was a comedy fan. I do a joke about Italian guys in nightclubs, and how my friends behave. He asked if I could bring that character to the video. She's a very sweet girl. Really cool." Ernst takes his comedy seriously. "I'm a huge supporter of free speech," he says. "And standup is the last real form of that, because it's you and a microphone and your ideas. What makes comedy great is that it delves into things other people can't delve into, raises consciousness, and really gets people thinking." Monday's New Year's Eve celebration features a buffet, comedy set, and an after party. 18+; 21+ later shows.
Dec. 27-30, 8 p.m.; Dec. 28-29, 10:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 31, 7 & 10 p.m., 2012