Joey Folsom as Lenny Bruce

Joey Folsom to Play Lenny Bruce

Joey Folsom will star as Lenny Bruce in Dallas, Chicago, LA and NYC; opening at Dallas Comedy House with local comic Paul Varghese as opener.

published Monday, July 17, 2017

Photo: Chuck Marcelo
Joey Folsom as Lenny Bruce


DallasUpstart Productions is making a comeback with Joey Folsom as the new man in charge. The next move is a big one: Folsom playing comedy legend Lenny Bruce in the one-man play Lenny Bruce is Back. Performances are throughout August at the Dallas Comedy House and the burlesque house Viva's Lounge in the Dallas Design District, and in Chicago at the Second City. In October, the show has performances in Los Angeles and New York.

At those first performances, Aug. 4-5 at Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum, the opening act will be Paul Varghese, one of the most popular stand-ups in Dallas.


Below is the Upstart news release, with a complete schedule and ticket links.


Photo: Courtesy
Paul Varghese

When Upstart Productions kicks off their major market tour of Sam Bobrick and Julie Stein’s one man show about infamous and iconic comedian Lenny Bruce, Dallas audiences will be getting one of the most popular funny men the city has to offer as the opening act. Producers Bren Rapp and Joey Folsom (who also stars in the show) are taking advantage of their opportunity to bring a scripted theatrical work, Lenny Bruce is Back, to comedy house audiences and maximizing it by signing on prolific stand-up comedian Paul Varghese to open for all three premiere weekend performances at Dallas Comedy House. Varghese, a Dallas comic who has risen among the ranks to national acclaim over the past decade and half has not only racked up accolades as The Best Stand- Up Comic in Dallas and The Funniest Comic in Texas, but has achieved widespread popularity nationally thanks to televised appearances on NBC's Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Live at The Gotham and Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution, his CDs and national tours and even via a stint as the opening act for Dave Chappelle.

Producer Bren Rapp leaned heavily on the expertise of Dallas Comedy House’s Owner and Artistic Director Amanda Austin to locate a locally based comedian who could make the most of her non-traditional production concept. “When Joey and I began crafting this tour on the premise of utilizing comedy clubs as venues to find new audiences for live theatre, we knew we wanted to engage stand-up comics in each market not only to assist us with efforts to capitalize on crossover appeal but also as an homage to Lenny Bruce’s art form and as a part of his legacy. We are definitely venturing into new territory here and having someone as skilled, talented and well followed as Paul on board in Dallas definitely stacks the deck in favor of success and for creating an incredible experience for our audiences” says Rapp, who Folsom brought on to the project this spring after his decade long fascination with Bruce and years of holding on to the script. Joey Folsom has a long standing career as a highly regarded and awarded stage actor in D/FW and, through this project, aims to use that experience and expertise to win over new audiences for theatrical work by seeking them out where they are already engaging in the commerce of live entertainment. Brining in traditionally theatrical audiences to the venues is part of the exchange and Folsom is excited about the opportunity to reciprocate by perhaps introducing Paul and Dallas Comedy House to those new to both that he and the play itself may bring in as the draw.

Lenny Bruce is Back begins its major market tour with 3 shows August 4-5 at Dallas Comedy House. Two additional Dallas performances are scheduled August 11 at Viva’s Lounge, a popular burlesque performance venue, with burlesque performer Vivienne Vermuth opening, before the show travels to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York . Tickets are on sale now at for the Dallas kickoff at


Production Information: 

Lenny Bruce is Back

Written by Sam Bobrick and Julie Stein

Produced by Bren Rapp and Joey Folsom 

Directed by Nathan Autrey

Featuring Joey Folsom as Lenny Bruce


Dallas Comedy House

8:00p.m. Friday, August 4

8:00p.m. Saturday, August 5

10:00p.m. Saturday, August 5

*tickets $10-$15


Upstart Productions takes over VIVA’S LOUNGE in the Design District

8:00p.m. Friday, August 11

11:00p.m. Friday, August 11

*burlesque pre-show before each performance designed by and featuring Vivienne Vermuth

* pay what you want admission at the door or table/VIP reservations in advance via donation to Upstart @


Chicago Dates:

The Second City-The Beat Lounge

10:30p.m. Thursday, August 24

7:30p.m. Friday, August 25

7:30p.m. Saturday, August 26

*stand up comic opening for the show at each performance

*tickets $13 general admission @


Los Angeles Dates:

The iO West Theater-The Main Stage

9:00p.m. Friday, October 6

*tickets $10 general admission @


New York Dates:

The United Solo Festival-Studio Theatre of Theatre Row, West 42nd St. 

4:00p.m. Sunday, October 29

*tickets $37.25-$70.00 @ Thanks For Reading

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Joey Folsom to Play Lenny Bruce
Joey Folsom will star as Lenny Bruce in Dallas, Chicago, LA and NYC; opening at Dallas Comedy House with local comic Paul Varghese as opener.
by Mark Lowry

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