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Ohio State Alumni duo fuses music and comedy at Shadowbox Live

Shadowbox Live is bringing two Ohio State alumni together for a night of music and comedy on Tuesday at Backstage Bistro restaurant.

Chicago-based comedian Justin Golak, a 2007 graduate, and Columbus-born singer-songwriter Matt Monta, a 2006 graduate, have been performing together since they developed the idea for a combined show in 2011.

“I wanted to do a show where he played a little bit of music, like background music, and I told my jokes over it,” said Golak. “So we went to an open mic and tried it and it seemed to get good reactions so we booked a couple of shows in Columbus and did it.”

Following their first open mic performance together in 2011, Golak and Monta tried the show a few more times and are now bringing it back with some of Golak’s new stand-up material.

Tuesday’s show, “Music and Comedy,” will feature about an hour of Golak’s own stand-up material while Monta plays background music, followed by an hour-long set of Monta’s own songs.

While Monta’s music is not comedic, the pair said their material still works well when it’s combined into one show. Although he was originally skeptical about merging their material, Monta said Golak encouraged him to just perform his own songs when they did their first show together.

“My songs aren’t funny,” he said. “(Golak) appreciates my artistic take and appreciates it enough where we can put it side by side, even if it seems to me that it doesn’t make sense, it does end up making sense.”

Monta also said he and Golak won’t be rehearsing their act together before performing, rather he’ll be providing music according to the ebb and flow of Golak’s jokes.

Golak added that his and Monta’s similar sense of humor and way of looking at the world makes it easy for them to work together on shows like this.

“We’re both just interested in social commentary, talking about the world around us,” he said. “For me I guess it’s through humor, for him I guess introspection, but I think that it blends really well together and I think it’s always a good time.”

Though Golak has performed with other musicians in Chicago, he said Monta has been his favorite musician to work with because they “have a really good vibe together.”

“Music and Comedy” will be at the Backstage Bistro Restaurant at 503 S. Front St. on June 20. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Shadowbox Live website.

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