107.5FM WCCN The Rock - The Coolest Station in the Nation
Memories 1370AM 98.5FM
98.7FM / 1450AM WDLB - Timeless Classics
Listen Live: 107.5 THE ROCK92.7 FM
Family owned radio stations serving all of Central Wisconsin

Neillsville to be Part of “Big Star Comedy, Small Town Show”

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 -- 12:01 PM

(Regev Nystrom, Leader-Telegram) The more dismissive may call it “the middle of nowhere” or “flyover country.” After all, what is in Neillsville that is worth making a TV show?

According to Regev Nystrom with the Leader-Telegram, for those not familiar with the town, quite a bit. Neillsville will be the star in an upcoming episode of a new show, “Big Star Comedy, Small Town Show.”

One of the show’s creators is Detroit-based comedian Frank Roche. Roche has been doing comedy for 25 years now, and describes his style of comedy as “high energy and alcohol-infused.”

After catching the stand-up bug when he was in high school, he never looked back, even ending up on “America’s Got Talent” and was in the top 100 acts of 2012. He eventually partnered up with comedian Kevin Cahak, one of the finalists in the Funniest Person in Minnesota contest in 2017.

“Everybody’s creating content, right? So my friend and I basically thought about how we would make a show. We still include comedy, but also make it educational in a way as well,” said Roche. “He and I wanted to bring history, travel and stand-up comedy together.”

Featured in each episode of the new series will be a comedy show performed at a historic venue in a small town, with a different headlining comedian each time. The rest of a typical episode will explore the history of the small town and what makes that place unique.

Neillsville is the only stop that the show will film in Wisconsin, with other episode locations filming in small towns in the Black Hills outside of Mount Rushmore, Louisiana, and more. Roche said that he wanted to hit as wide a range around the country as possible in the show’s initial 10-episode run.

In the upcoming Neillsville show, Roche and Cahak will be opening for comedian Rocky LaPorte. LaPorte is a familiar face in comedy and has been seen on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” as well as in his own Comedy Central specials and has performed with the likes of Garry Shandling, Drew Carey, Louie Anderson and more.

The performance will be one of the points of interest in the city, the Silverdome Ballroom, built by an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. The ballroom, now in the National Registry of Historic Places, has had acts grace its stage that include Duke Ellington, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lawrence Welk (pre-television show), George Jones, Johnny Cash, Buffalo Springfield, and more.

While it is mostly a wedding venue now, the ballroom still schedules an occasional show. The creator of the ballroom also created the speakeasy next door, with its own history.

“The speakeasy next door to it happened to be a regular stop for one Alphonse Capone, so they got pictures of him throughout the place and the Al Capone chicken is the specialty on the menu, even now,” said Roche.

Other sites that will be seen include the Tufts Mansion, the Clark County Jail Museum (one of the oldest jails), the Highground Veterans Park, and even Chatty Bell, the largest talking cow.

“Part of proceeds is going to the Raptor Education Group Incorporated in Antigo, Wisconsin,” said Roche. “(REGI) is open to the public and they bring in groups of school kids as far as teaching them about different raptors. They get them back to health and every so often then they release them. So people will come out just for that.”

Roche is hoping to prove that, even if you have a small town, you can still have a huge show, and is optimistic that the first episode of his show in Neillsville will be a sign of things to come. “The show on the 18th will make up half of the episode,” Roche said. “We are hoping to pack the place for this first show.”

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.