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Weird Comedy Show Dark Web Tonight Returns

After a 19-month hiatus, Ben Harkins’ video clips show will be strange-corner-of-the-internet to the extreme.

Comedian Ben Harkins has been saving up weird stuff he finds on the internet for the past 19 months. That all but guarantees that the return of his live video clips show Dark Web Tonight will be strange-corner-of-the-internet to the extreme.

“It’s a lot like America’s Funniest Home Videos,” Harkins admits to WW. “But if I see that something has 20,000 likes, I’m not going to put that up. If the audience sees the same stuff they’ve seen before, they’ll be totally bored.”

Dark Web hasn’t had a show since February 2021—for pandemic reasons. Though several people approached Harkins about moving the show remote, he resisted.

Part of the reason was, he couldn’t get in the spirit. “There was like the civil war, rising fascism. I did a couple Zoom shows, but I lived around the corner from the police station, and when things would start kicking off there, it just felt kind of bogus trying to do comedy.”

Harkins adds, “To be funny, I think we need some sort of shared baseline reality.”

Another reason to hold off on the show for a while was the passing of one of the former hosts with whom Harkins founded Dark Web, Mira Death. “Mira was the heart of the show, so deciding to bring it back was an emotional thing,” he explains.

But he kept amassing weird, funny videos, and with two new co-hosts, Calaix Alexander and Noah Watson, he’s ready to get back onstage.

“Noah was on the show before, when it was at Kickstand, because Mira had disappeared to L.A. He was the DJ. Calaix is great to have around because—like when Kate Murphy was on the show—she can be mean to me [onstage]. I need someone to keep me in check because I kind of have to go pretty far out there. I become a little bit more unhinged.”

Though his standup is ultra deadpan—earning him a place in WW’s 2019 Funniest Five—Harkins has plenty of experience as a host. In the past, he’s hosted two public access shows: Ben Harkins With Ben Harkins and Ben Harkins for Me. You can also still find his YouTube men’s self-help parodies: Ben Harkins for Men.

Further reading: Ben Harkins’ Deadpan Comedy Belies His Self-Described “Mystic Streak”

Harkins explains Dark Web as a place where he can let out a little bit of the paranoid, black magic stuff that he’s interested in, but that he can’t find a place for in standup. “I pay attention to conspiracy theories and cults. I think it’s fascinating, but it doesn’t have a place on a standup stage.”

Asked if Dark Web’s return would have a Halloween theme—since it always has a black metal theme, which is one of Halloween’s more intense cousins—Harkins shrugged: “Yeah. We’re always spooky season. But why ignore the fact that it’s October?”

Harkins, Alexander and Watson will be joined by guest comedians Cameron Peloso, Bryan Bixby, Julia Corral and Dan Weber.

GO: Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave., 503-841-6734, funhouselounge.com. 10 pm Friday, Oct. 22. $5-$7.