It's two for the price of one at the Savannah Comedy Revue.
The Sept. 6 performance will feature two, count 'em, two highly sought-after comics, Paul Strickland and Justin Martindale. While in Savannah, Martindale also will open for Sandra Bernhardt on Sept. 8.
Strickland has performed several shows in Georgia.
"I've been to Savannah a few times," he says. "I have a very dear friend who used to live there."
Strickland got his start doing open mics in Nashville in 2006.
"I was doing a little bit of alternative theater and songwriting," he says. "I ended up full-time as a standup in 2009."
At the time, Strickland found himself in the throes of divorce and resultant homelessness.
"I've never considered myself funny, although some people consider me funny in sort of a dry way," he says. "Onstage, I lighten up a little bit more. I definitely feel more comfortable being funny onstage than in life."
An avowed "studier," Strickland learned comedy by sitting back and observing.
"A friend of mine in Nashville was a bit down on his luck, and he said he wanted to do an open mic and he wanted me to go, too," he says. "I thought it was a music open mic, so I said okay. When I found it was comedy, we threw together a five-minute piece over the course of a couple of weeks.
"We're both still at it," Strickland says. "He works around Nashville and I moved to Indianapolis."
Strickland says he is both a joke teller and a storyteller.
"I start out in the area of my divorce," he says. "I like to really mine what that concept means for me and what it might mean for someone else.
"There are plenty of jokes that exist within that contextual narrative. All in all, people experience what I do as a storyteller.
"I do comedy songs as well," Strickland says. "It's all connected as the opening or as a way to close."
Piecing things together, collage-like, is a Strickland specialty.
"I'll have a strange experience and will think of something I think is really funny," he says.
"I sort of wind those things into what people consider the punch line. That's the way I piece together both songs and stories. I have nine or 10 really good lines, and I have to find ways to put them together in an audience-friendly way."
When Strickland first started touring, he left music behind.
"More recently, I've gone back to music as a way of expressing myself," he says. "But the show people will see in Savannah is a proper stand-up comedy show."
Although Strickland deals with hecklers about once a month, he's gentle with them.
"It usually happens when people are wanting to help, but they don't," he says.
"We work in bars, so there's always somebody who gets drunk and thinks it would be hilarious to yell things out. I try really hard to ask the person questions that sort of reveal for everyone how ridiculous they are being as opposed to attacking them.
"I find when a comic attacks a heckler outright, it really doesn't help anybody," Strickland says. "Trying to get to the bottom is potentially funnier, but you eventually do have to stand up and say, 'This is my show.'"
Strickland's website is talkingpaul.com.
"It's a brand-new website," he says. "I do a lot of alternative theater, and a lot of the accolades there that happened for me come from that world."
Martindale has always been funny, and it sometimes got him in trouble.
"I have the principal reports to prove it," he says. "I was voted 'most humorous' in my class. I have always been a teacher's favorite-slash-nightmare."
In 2008, Martindale left his native San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Los Angeles on a whim.
"The recession hit and it was really bad," he says. "Businesses were unable to pay their employees.
"I went from job to job to job to job. It messed with my head.
"I was watching a TV show where a stand-up comic was just killing it, but I said, 'He's not that funny!'
"I called up a friend who I knew had a comedy night and said, 'I really want to try it.' He said, 'You have six minutes.' I said, 'That's so long!'"
But he was successful almost from the start. In 2009, Mitzi Shore, owner of the famous Comedy Store, saw his act and made him a paid regular on the spot, an unheard-of feat that has paid off royally.
Since then, Martindale has appeared on LOGO TV's "One Night Stand Up," and has performed regularly at the Hollywood Improv and the Hollywood Laugh Factory. He also has been a featured performer for Atlantis Cruises, touring the Mediterranean, and was a featured artist at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, in 2010 and 2011.
At the FilmOut Festival in 2011, Martindale presented his film, "The Wishmakers of West Hollywood." He also is a member of the infamous DeathSquad, which includes Joe Rogan, Freddy Lockhart, Ari Shaffir, Tom Segura, Christina Pazsitzky, Redban, Jason Thibault and more.
"I had a big break from Mitzi Shore," Martindale says. "She's the one that made me legit. I had driven by the Comedy Store ever since I'd been in L.A. and wanted to perform there."
The date it happened was June 25, 2009.
"I was so excited to be on the same stage everyone else had been on," Martindale says. "There were 18 other performers."
For some reason, Martindale was bumped from 15th to third place.
"I got up there and did my set and had a blast, everyone laughed and I went and sat down with friends," he says.
"Suddenly, I was whisked to a back room. Mitzi Shore said, 'You are a paid regular.' All these people I had seen on TV were asking me who I was and where I came from.
"There are people doing this for years and years and sending in tapes and nothing happens," Martindale says. "I show up one night and everything is okay. I am technically the last person she's passed as a paid regular. It was one of the lightning-strike moments and is very special to me."
Like Strickland, Martindale is both a joke teller and a storyteller.
"I like talking about personal things or day-to-day things," he says. "I like to say things everyone else is afraid to say.
"I'm very observational and I do tell jokes. But I'm not crude. I don't do that very well. My mom wouldn't be happy if I did that."
Very animated on stage, Martindale has been compared to Jim Carrey and Robin Williams. He's excited at the chance to open for Bernhardt.
"She's somebody I've looked up to," he says. "It's a real cool opportunity to share the stage with her.
"I'm looking forward to performing in Savannah," he says. "I'm hoping everyone comes out and has a good time."
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Comedy Revue with Paul Strickland and Justin Martindale
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 6
Where: Bay Street Theatre, 1 Jefferson St.
Cost: $9, VIP $15
Info: www.savannahcomedyrevue.com, 314-503-9005