Northeast Times

Having a laugh on Fairmount

A few comedi­ans have got­ten to­geth­er to bring a fresh, new com­edy scene to Fair­mount Av­en­ue.

For the past six months, one-liners have been fly­ing every Monday at the Urb­an Sa­loon for an open-mic com­edy night that high­lights loc­al com­ics, a num­ber of whom will re­turn later this month for a new stand-up show­case.

To cel­eb­rate the six-month launch of the open-mic event, cre­at­ors Mary Radz­in­ski and Car­o­lyn Busa are launch­ing the Laughs on Fair­mount Show­case Show, from 8-10 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the ven­ue, 2120 Fair­mount Ave.

The $10 show­case will fea­ture loc­al com­ics Sean Pre­ston, Nicole Yates, Noah Gold­stein, John Kensil and head­liner Pat House.

Radz­in­ski and Busa, both com­ics them­selves, met at the Urb­an Sa­loon sev­er­al years ago dur­ing an open-mic night and, as mem­bers of the small club of Phil­adelphia fe­male com­ics, struck up a quick friend­ship and began brain­storm­ing for new comed­ic ven­tures.

“We were think­ing of start­ing a room for an open-mic on a night when there wasn’t much go­ing on in the city,” Radz­in­ski said. “Urb­an Sa­loon’s open-mic had petered out, but we knew they had a great room and we wanted to provide a place where people could come and try out their jokes in a warm en­vir­on­ment. So once we both got the time to put in­to this, we ap­proached the own­ers and they were really gra­cious and thought it was a great idea.”

While open-mic events are re­l­at­ively com­mon in the city, LOF of­fers sev­er­al com­pon­ents not found else­where, the or­gan­izers said.

Many open-format com­edy shows will stretch un­til the early-morn­ing hours, but LOF keeps it short­er, usu­ally wrap­ping up by about 10:30 p.m.

“Some open-mics will go un­til at least 1 a.m., but we wanted to try and get every­one out earli­er but still pack in all the com­ics we could to keep it ex­cit­ing,” Busa said.

The show, which is free, does not take place dir­ectly in the bar area, which Radz­in­ski said provides an ideal at­mo­sphere.

“Our room is sep­ar­ated from the bar, so the room’s giv­en straight to com­edy, which is really great,” she said. “We know that all of the people who are in the room want to be watch­ing a com­edy show. Some­times at open-mics, you’re in that bar en­vir­on­ment where there are TVs and every­body talk­ing and maybe people who didn’t know they were com­ing to a com­edy show. But every­one here wants to be here.”

Usu­ally at least 25 en­ter­tain­ers take to the stage dur­ing the show, some of whom re­turn week after week and oth­ers who are new to the ven­ue.

Since its March launch, LOF also has con­tin­ued to build a fol­low­ing of what Radz­in­ski jok­ingly calls “ci­vil­ians” — those folks who them­selves were not gran­ted the stand-up gene but who come for the free laughs. 

“Every night has been good, but we al­ways find something to pick at and work on be­cause we’re really hard on ourselves,” Busa said. “So we’ve been really work­ing to grow the audi­ences and get­ting people to come back each week, and it’s been work­ing well.”

Now that LOF has gained trac­tion, the pair thought the time had come to ex­plore a new format that cel­eb­rates the blos­som­ing com­edy scene in Fair­mount.

“We’ve es­tab­lished this room and been work­ing to build up Fair­mount’s repu­ta­tion for com­edy, so we thought there could be a good week­end op­por­tun­ity there,” Radz­in­ski said of the Show­case Show.

The event will fea­ture a “cross sec­tion” of the open-mic show, with a mix­ture of fre­quent LOF per­formers, those who are new­er to the com­edy scene and vet­er­ans.

Busa said the at­mo­sphere at the show­case will be some­what dif­fer­ent than the weekly open-mic nights.

“Our hope is to have the show­case be like a full com­edy show,” she said. “We’ll have a bar back there and a waiter com­ing around for drinks, and we want to have a big full audi­ence be­cause this is the real deal. And it’s great that Urb­an Sa­loon is sup­port­ing us in this.”  

Busa and Radz­in­ski are aim­ing for the show­case to be held monthly, with dif­fer­ent per­formers each time around.

Radz­in­ski noted that both the Show­case Show and the weekly open-mic can work hand-in-hand to gen­er­ate buzz about the fu­ture of Fair­mount’s com­edy scene.

“We want the show­case to cel­eb­rate what the room has be­come and by draw­ing people in on the week­end show, hope­fully we can get even more people to stop in for our Monday night shows,” she said. “We’re really ex­cited and thank­ful for all of the sup­port we’ve got­ten and are look­ing for­ward to something really big.”

For more in­form­a­tion, search for Laughs on Fair­mount on Face­book.••

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