One of the many things I value about my 101 in 1001 ‘mission’ is that it is nudging me out of complacency and into action. For example, last night I had many very good excuses I could have used to justify staying home, vegging on the sofa watching mindless TV, and crawling into bed at 8 pm. (I.e., I was sick with a pretty yucky cold, and the city was in the beginning phases of a snow storm, and it was dark and cold outside…) However, because of the 101 list, a few weeks ago I secured the tickets for last night’s comedy show; and while my sweetie would have completely understood if I wanted to postpone, I didn’t want to disappoint him – and I wanted to be able to complete another item on the list. (What can I say, I’m a task-driven person.) So last evening, despite poor health and poor weather, my sweetie and I drove to a local entertainment venue to watch some comics perform a bit of stand-up.
I have been to a live comedy club before, but it was over a decade ago, in a pretty ‘gritty’ part of downtown Minneapolis, with some less-than-family-friendly acts performing, on a very bad first date. The crowd was young, vulgar, and drunk – and the comics weren’t much better. Suffice to say, I did not have a very good time. So I thought I would give live comedy a second chance – but in a setting that was a bit ‘cleaner’ (both literally and metaphorically), more sober, and with a guy I really like. 🙂
New Hope Cinema Grill is a rather eclectic venue. It’s basically comprised of four large rooms: each room has a huge projection screen (typical of a normal movie theater), but each room also has a stage (jutting out from the bottom of the big screen).
The seating area is segmented into three tiers – but each tier is only half-a-foot higher than the section in front of it. Every seating area has a counter facing the screen/stage, then behind the counter are a smattering of small, round club tables with four chairs squeezed around each one. (Realistically, every table only seats two people.) The venue shows movies (some semi-current, some on their way out of town), hosts comics every Friday and Saturday night, and shows the local football game on Sunday afternoons. Food and drinks are served at every event (be it a movie, a comedy show, or a game) – hence the “grill” in the name of the venue. It’s kind of kooky. But it’s close and it’s relatively cheap, so whatever. 🙂
Last night my sweetie and I saw four different comics perform. The first man to take the stage was the ‘host’/emcee of the evening; he basically introduced each performer, and told five minutes of jokes between each one to keep the audience ‘warm’. However, he wasn’t very funny. He did try to keep his material grounded in current events (for example, he referenced the snow storm we were currently in the midst of), so I give him positive marks for effort; but by and large his jokes landed with a heavy ‘thud’. In fact, the funniest comment he made was right after he delivered a particularly bad punch line; he responded to our lack of laughter by saying, “Hey, I have two kids under six years of age at home; I welcome your silence. In fact, I relish it!” So okay, props to him for trying to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. 🙂
The second comic to take the stage was slightly better than the host. However, Performer #2 was more of a good story teller than he was a ‘comic’; so while I didn’t overtly laugh at many of his jokes, I did grin a bit at some of the imagery his stories conjured in my mind. He did a segment about silk pajama pants, and made some connections to oceanic oil spills and prehistoric pterodactyls that were pretty amusing. He was a good warm-up for the third guy to take the stage.
Comic #3 was definitely edgier than Performer #2 – but #3 was still reasonably non-offensive. He did drop a few gratuitous curse words (which I’m not a fan of – anyone can swear and get a reaction; to me, a real comic is someone who can get a laugh without having to resort to cursing [or salacious/overly sexual content, etc.]), but he also engaged the audience in an appropriate way, and made his material more relevant to us, to the individuals he saw sitting before him – so that was fun to be a part of. He also couched his act in more current events (exploring topics like Thanksgiving, and local small towns, etc.), and I appreciated that element of customization as well.
Then, an hour after we arrived, the main headliner took the stage, and delivered a 60-minute routine. Comic #4 grew up in a very small town in Minnesota, then left the state after high school and spent a decade in Los Angeles. He then returned to his original home town a year ago. So he had some good material to share. 🙂
At 10 pm, the show wrapped up, and by 10:20 pm my sweetie and I were back home. (Which was fine by me; I was still pretty sick with a tough cold, and really did need to get to bed and get some sleep.) On the drive home my sweetie and I shared our thoughts/reactions to the various performers and the evening as a whole: we both had a good time, and would definitely do it again. So hooray for trying something fun and new; and here’s to discovering common interests! 🙂