The first broadcast of a new, English-language show about comedy will air on the ERR-run Raadio 2 at noon tomorrow, hosted by Comedy Estonia's Louis Zezeran and Stewart Johnson.
With two and a half years of live standup under its belt, the group has spawned a multiverse of comedic activity. Visits by legendary comedians, both living (Dylan Moran) and deceased ("Bill Hicks movie night"). Its own tour of Europe. Open mics to encourage and scout future talent. Private shows in Estonian. And although it's not clear whether the audience understood what they were seeing, the claimed first Western-style stand-up performance in Russia was made possible partly by Comedy Estonia.
Now the troupe wants to parlay the chemistry of the two core members - extroverted Australian Zezeran and the similarly engaging but cerebral-zany American Johnson - into a new weekly format.
In a serious interview, Stewart Johnson recalls that they started off with no expectations. "Before the first show, we didn't know if anyone would come or if anyone would even enjoy it," says Johnson. "The show was packed, however, and people loved it. So we had two more shows, this time in a larger venue. Both nights were sold out, and people said they loved it. We have expanded the number of shows and venues since that time, and the next logical step was to do something totally new: radio."
The main subject of the show will not necessarily be Estonia - though life in Estonia will figure significantly - it will be comedy itself.
"The idea is to, well, be funny," says Johnson. "Talk comedy. Analyze it."
"Louis and I discuss our views of life in Estonia, cultural comparisons, we interview headlining comedians who have performed in Estonia, we'll play a minute or two of clips from recent shows."
"We provide quality entertainment overall," he said.
And - lest anyone fear the show is diluting the measure of Estonian purity - Johnson notes, "The show is especially intended for people who speak or want to practice listening to English."
Although far from the first English-language show on local airwaves - various commercial stations have made forays into the format in each of the previous decades - the show will have a solid claim to be Estonia's first edutainment-oriented show about comedy on public radio that is also certifiably funny.
Stand-Up Comedy with Louis and Stewart airs at noon on Saturdays on Raadio 2 and can also be streamed on-demand.