Can a Mid-Sized City's Thriving Comedy Scene Survive the LA Exodus?

Grawlix's Adam Cayton-Holland (Photo by Ryan Brackin)

If you’re a mid-level comic with a few credits under your belt, at some point you’ve probably been asked the question: “So, when are you moving to LA?” The person asking was likely from Los Angeles, and didn’t ask in the neutral tone of a guidance counselor “have you thought about moving to LA?” It’s always when are you moving. For many in this business, your hometown comedy scene is viewed as the high school of your career, with road-gigs and festivals as your bachelors degree — followed by the inevitable move to Hollywood to begin your masters.

And just as every comic [...]

Inside 'The [206]', the Most Popular Local TV Comedy in America

The seeds of the most popular local TV comedy in the country were planted 25 years ago, outside a Seattle restaurant when two strangers walked up to Chris Cashman’s dad, Pat, and thanked him for his work on Almost Live, a local sketch comedy show similar to Saturday Night Live.

“They didn't even know him,” Chris, now 36, recalls. "That was the neatest thing I'd ever heard of, and I thought, if I could just do that some day…”

But Almost Live was cancelled in 1999, just as Chris became old enough to join it. The show didn’t generate enough profits for the Texas company that bought the station and the [...]

An English Comedian in Paris

I do standup because I love comedy. Yes, I enjoy making people laugh and nothing beats the rush of being on stage in front of a great audience, however the real reason that I do comedy is just that it interests me so much, I’m willing to do anything to be a part of it. Ultimately, I’m just a fan that got way too involved. Now, I don’t know to what extent this is true for other comics; I’m sure some do it just because they crave attention or even use stand-up as a free (or even profitable) alternative to therapy. I’m not saying that this is wrong or [...]

Building a Comedy Scene in Austin with Sure Thing

Popular Austin, Texas standup showcase, Sure Thing, packs the back-porch of the Austin Java coffeehouse every Saturday night, even in the January cold. I'd been warned that it filled up quickly after doors opened, but I hardly took that seriously. So when I arrived still a good 15 minutes before the show, I was surprised to find my saved seat was the only one left, with chair vultures circling ominously. Once I saw the show, it was understandable. Sure Thing delivers on its name, with terrific Austin comics like Casey Crawford, Katie Stone, and that night’s headliner, Brian Gutmann.

In recent years Austin’s comedy scene has absolutely exploded. It [...]

Washington DC Is Building Itself an Awesome Indie Comedy Scene

The Washington Post has an intriguing look at the growing indie comedy scene in Washington D.C., a city that for a long time had little more than a couple of clubs and The Capitol Steps. In the past few years, local comics have taken a page from other blossoming comedy cities like Austin, Denver, and Vancouver, setting up independent shows at bars and rock clubs to give time to rising comics who are moving past the city's open mics.

Despite it's smaller scene, D.C. has a solid history of producing good comics, with Dave Chappelle, Patton Oswalt and Wanda Sykes all starting out there decades ago, and rising [...]

How the New Movement Built a Comedy Scene from Scratch in New Orleans

The MC yells, “Please, sound like a million people for…!” and sweeps his arm as he announces the name of the improv group taking over the stage. This exhortation a familiar one to regular visitors to The New Movement Theater, a major player in the ongoing development of New Orleans’ comedy scene. Just that little tweak from the traditional  “Give it up for…” or “Please welcome…” affects audiences’ expectations, whether there are ten people seated or a full house. People respond to it and cheer like a multitude.

Tami Nelson and Chris Trew, the founders of The New Movement (TNM), have shaped their brand by challenging the expectations of what [...]

Discovering the Comedic Melting Pot in the Heart of Berlin

After watching three German comics perform odd character bits with no punchlines, Alex Upatov didn't have high hopes for the Berlin standup comedy scene. He'd popped into the open mic a year and a half ago. He was visiting Berlin from his home in Hanover, where comedy was even less popular. No one seemed to share his passion for the American standup videos he'd been watching online since he was a teenager. So when he noticed the show's host had a Louis CK t-shirt on, Upatov got excited.

"I just thought, 'I've got to talk to this guy,'" Upatov said. Within minutes, the host was driving Upatov to a [...]