Local Comedy in These Trying Times (Part 3)
In my three part look at the state of Stand-Up comedy in the midst of the shut-down, I wanted remind people of the local entertainers. Especially since now is when we all need to just kick back and laugh. PART ONE got some insight from Yakima native, now New York entertainer/booker Jonas Barnes, about the industry as a whole. PART TWO dealt with how comics are transitioning from stage to digital with Northwest-touring comic Alfred Carcieri. In my final part, I wanted to discuss what has been affected in our own back yard.
Ever since Manic Thunder Improv (the improv/stand-up group I'm proud to say I'm a member of) performed its final monthly show almost a year ago, some residents have said there was a "comedy hole" in Yakima. Many funny people stepped up to the mic and worked to establish open mic nights and a comedy community to help spread the laughter and give local talents a place and opportunity to practice their trade. Brandon Huck is one of those comics / MC's who has really worked hard to get his voice heard and his jokes laughed at. Helping start the Yakima Valley Comedy Facebook Page, it has given local comics a home base on where to go to get on the mic, like Game & Grog Bar, Hop Nation Brewing Company, Bill's Place, & Yakima Sports Center (to name a few). With the stages being closed till further notice, I asked Brandon what he and the other local comics have been doing?
"We have resorted to other social media platforms to get our entertainment bug out of our system. I stream on my PS4, and some have gone on to have a nice little following on TikTok. For a little while, we were meeting on Tuesday and Thursday nights, the same as our open mic nights. We really weren't performing much material, it was really a big social meeting of the performers from our scene. By big, I mean 10-ish people. Unfortunately, the Zoom meetings have wound down a bit lately, but our group chat is lively as ever. We are really just waiting for the day to come when we can get back on a stage a tell some of our jokes again." - Brandon Huck
It seems like all of us are in the "wait and see" mode and the internet memes have been on point, especially "Apocalypse Bingo". Despite the fact that the world (especially the U.S.) feels so divided right now, we have to remember that we're all in this together. For the truly masochistic among us (and a lot of comics are), this quote from the late great George Carlin rings so true. "People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point." It's hard out there, remember to laugh. I know it's easier said than done, but laughter is the best medicine... unless you have Syphilis. If you have Syphilis then Penicillin is the best medicine.