Absurd Third Thursdays Celebrates Third Birthday
|Isaac Landfert as George Burns.|
Sinking Ship is out; Sabbatical is in
One of the biggest upsets in the comedy community was the loss of Sunday night comedy at the Sinking Ship (recently branded RocketshipComedy). After two and a half years and despite continued success, the Sinking Ship decided to discontinue comedy at their venue. The Sinking Ship’s success was primarily due to the combination of regional feature and headlining comedians who were often in town at the tail end of club gigs with local comedians. It became a real staple of the Broad Ripple area, and will be sorely missed. In fact a documentary of its run (June 2011-December 2013) is in the works. However, Rocketship Comedy is looking forward has moved the successful Sunday night format to Sabbatical. Best of luck to O’Connor and Rocketship Comedy in their new home!
Limestone Comedy Festival Taking Submissions
Bloomington’s Limestone Comedy Festival is taking submissions for its second year. The submission window is open through March 21. Submit by Feb 28 for the reduced fee of $25 ($40 if submitted in March). The festival runs from May 29-31.
Southside Indianapolis has Dearth of Comedy
Long gone are the days of the strong south side rooms such as The Gas Light and The Goldmine whose longtime rooms were dropped and temporary revivals have long fizzled out. 2013 had a handful of attempts to bring comedy to the southern part of the city including a brief run at Mucky Ducks on Southport. The most promising attempt at a south side presence was the Wednesday night show at Rehab Bar and Grill/Mikeys. The show, although well-liked by management, was shut down due to the more profitable darts competitions. I am hopeful that more shows will be attempted on the south side of Indianapolis because there is less saturation of comedy in the southern half of the city.
Comedy in Crawfordsville Expands Brand with The Play-InContest
Comedy in Crawfordsville has taken off as a brand in West Central Indiana with regular shows in Crawfordsville, IN and its “Invasion” Shows hitting small neighboring towns. Started in Aug of 2012 by local comedian Neil Snyder, the brand stays strong with pre-booked open mics and shows in the centrally located shows and then pre-booked shows for the invasion circuit. 2013 saw the expansion of the brand into The Play-In Contest where comedians vie for a paid feature spot in the Comedy in Crawfordsville series. Season Two of the Play-In just began running this month.
Muncie Show Rebrands Successfully
After The Comedy Moshpit's relationship soured with Be Here Now in spring of 2013, the show was re-branded as Laughterhouse Five at Valhalla and launched its new incarnation by the end of the summer. The show is a combination of pre-booked open mic and special event shows. The room has even hosted big names like Doug Stanhope as well as quirky special events with wrestlers.
Evansville Open Mic Well Received
Evansville, IN is home to Joke Factory Comedy Club and a handful of open mics. Local comic, Dustin Matteson, decided there should be more stage options for the local talent. The open mic debut was well received at The Bokeh Lounge despite sub-zero temperatures. The Bokeh Lounge is picking up the open mic as a regular event and the next one will likely be in February.
Otto’s Funhouse—the last bastion of truly open mic comedy?
I’ve been maintaining the Hoosier Comedy Calendar since 2011, and one of the changes I’ve seen in the homegrown shows is the gradual replacement of open mic rooms to pre-booked open mic or purely pre-booked rooms. The change is not terribly surprising as pure open mic rooms often leave the booker at the mercy of whoever decides to show up on that particular night to perform. It can create problems filling the allotted time or providing the audience with enough value to the show to maintain it. Another issue is that over time there will be a pack of comedians frequenting the same room over and over which can exhaust an audience to hear the same jokes over and over. Bookers have sought to aid this issue by pre-booking the room with at least one featured performer to provide value to the show and then hand picking the ‘open micers’ based on reliability, professionalism and value of their performance. This increases the odds of the room’s survival, but can make it harder for noobs to get their stage time and develop as a performer. They need a place to practice (and suck). Thankfully, Indianapolis still has Otto’s Funhouse to rely on for a pure open stage. Anyone who shows up gets 10 minutes or three songs depending on what their act is. Monday night is often the deadest night for bars and restaurants which is why they often put open mics on those nights in an attempt to draw more people during that slow time. I could fill a book with the number of Monday night open mics that have come and gone in the last five years. Otto’s has outlasted them all going on its 12th year this spring. The main reason is due to the owner (Dave) genuinely supports local performers. Another highlight is the absolute freedom of the room to really do and say whatever you want. The room is often frequented by comedians, but also has bands, singer-songwriters and poets take the stage as well.The show is the third Monday of the month.