Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Dead Crow’s “Hot Shots” brings something spicy to the Port City comedy scene

WILMINGTON — Downtown Wilmington’s Dead Crow comedy is bringing something new to the Port City comedy scene, and it’s different than anything you’ve seen before. “Hot Shots” features local comedians eating spicy food, and by spicy they mean ghost pepper status, then trying to perform their sets.

Tyler Wood of Nutt House Improv hosted the Wednesday night show. Inspired by his friend Chad Riden, who runs a similar show in Tennessee with “Nashville Hot Chicken,” Wood said he wanted to bring the highly successful show to the Port City.

Troy Coleman (L) and Tyler Woods (R) sample the pasta. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Troy Coleman (L) and Tyler Wood (R) sample the pasta. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

The show featured comedians Jarrod Fortune, Troy Coleman, and Krystal “The Pistol” LaFianza-Pitzen.

Wood said that Dead Crow’s door guy Justin Vanderlaan whipped together a pasta dish that was not for the faint of heart.

“All I know is that it’s hot pasta, with a really hot sauce that includes ghost pepper extract,” Wood said.

Vanderlaan said he’d been wanting to try out this recipe for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity to unleash it on the world.

The dish was made with vegan pasta, that actually had ghost pepper flakes mixed in. It was then cooked with black peppercorn, ghost peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, green peppers, oregano, habanero peppers, more ghost peppers, a ghost pepper extract that measures 3,000,000 units on the Scoville scale, by which spicy foods are measured, and finished off with “just a dash of fresh basil.”

“Hot Shots”

Each participant would be allowed one shot glass of milk, and their sets have to be five to seven minutes long.

Jarrod Fortune catches his breath between jokes. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Jarrod Fortune catches his breath between jokes. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

Before the show, the comedians were nervous. According to Wood, “It’s less about like comedy and people laughing, and more like, let’s go see people hurting themselves.”

“I’m mostly worried about some adverse side effects later, that’s why I’ve got my Pepto and stuff,” Coleman said, pulling items from guacamole to white bread out of his bag. “I’m worried about throwing up later, I’ve heard horror stories of this stuff burning peoples esophagus and getting all inflamed after throwing up, that would definitely make the stand-up really fun.”

Fortune, who says he normally doesn’t go past mild on his food, said he was fine with the whole ordeal up until Tuesday evening.

“I was fine, and then Tyler wants to keep milking it. Then I saw a video of him talking about it, and Justin explained it like there’s habaneros, the ghost chili flakes in the sauce and the extract, I don’t know anymore,” Fortune said.

Krystal “The Pistol” was more concerned with the after effects of the ordeal than anything else.

“I hope I don’t get hemorrhoids or something,” she said. “It’s gonna burn.”

Krystal "The Pistol" LaFianza-Pitzen post performance. Note the milk. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Krystal “The Pistol” LaFianza-Pitzen post performance. Note the milk. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

“I just don’t know if I should drink water, I’m really concerned for my after plan. Like, after the food has been ingested, and apparently, I shouldn’t drink alcohol,” she went on. “My game plan was just to start taking shots of Jameson so that I get hammered and then I’m numb. But you guys are telling me it’s a bad idea.”

Fortune was first on stage, and certainly had the hardest time with the heat. He got about halfway through his first joke when the ghost peppers struck, stopping him in his tracks. And with that, the hilarity ensued.

LaFianza-Pitzen fared slightly better, making it about halfway through her set before breaking out in a sweat. She even managed to eat a few more bites before her act ended, but quickly jetted off stage for the bottle of milk waiting for her off stage.

Finally, Coleman took the stage, with Wood alongside him. The duo managed to chow down the whole plate, with Wood quickly retreating red faced to the side of the stage. Somehow, Coleman managed to power through, making it all the way through his set in style.

After exiting the stage, Coleman said it was definitely painful, but he thought the next time they could probably up the ante a little.

Wood plans on holding the show throughout the summer, on the fourth Wednesday of every month. For more information, visit Dead Crow Comedy’s website at, and be sure to follow them on Facebook for the latest on the Wilmington comedy scene.

Send comments and tips to Cory Mannion at, @corymannion on Twitter, and @corythamann on Facebook.

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