Where the Funny Matters: Laff Hole @ Chop Suey 1/9/08

laffhole1.jpg
photo by Heather Christianson

review and additional photos by Corbett Cummins

There is a growing presence in Seattle’s nightlife. Perhaps, you have seen evidence of it already. Small stages filled with nothing but a lone microphone and wooden stool, but it’s not a singer/songwriter night. People in hip clothes staring at their notebooks and muttering to themselves, but it’s not a poetry slam. Laughter and cheers coming out of odd venues at odd hours, but it’s not a burlesque… well, not technically.

It’s comedy night! And there is a good chance that it has already infiltrated a bar near you.

Comedy is nothing new to Seattle. Jerry Seinfeld said, in an interview with the Seattle P-I, that the first time he sold out a house and felt like he was understood was in Pioneer Square’s Comedy Underground. Since then, numerous world-class comedians, from Margaret Cho to David Cross, have come here to film their DVD’s.

laffhole2.jpg
photo by Heather Christianson

But Seattle is not just a stopping point for famous funny people. It’s home to a thriving community of hard working comedians who go out, night after night, in search for an audience, a mic and a stage. And they don’t have to look too far. Thanks to its growing popularity, you can now find stand-up comedy throughout all of Seattle, from rock clubs like Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey to the back rooms of restaurants like the Kona Kitchen in Northgate.

One of the brightest comedy gems to shine in this community is Laff Hole, a weekly comedy show that takes place at Chop Suey, sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon and The Stranger, and is a production of the Peoples Republic of Komedy, a workhorse production team that consists of Kevin Hyder, Daniel Carroll, Emmett Montgomery and Scott Moran.

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The staff of PRoK will put you on the mailing list for the revolution!

Laff Hole’s Emmett Montgomery said that event originated because there weren’t enough places to tell jokes. “We had Comedy Underground and Giggles, that’s about it,” he said. However, Laff Hole remains successful even as more and more comedy nights pop up. He attributes this to the fact that it is a show produced for and by comedians. Scott Moran agrees: “I see it as a positive version of Lord of the Flies, in that it’s a comedy show run by comics. It’s sort of a playground, a place to develop.”

This spirit was evident at last Wednesday’s show. Not only did it showcase a wide variety of funny guys, but it also served as a stage for headliner Andy Peters to record material for his upcoming DVD.

In the show, PRoK’s own Scott Moran started off the night with a set that included video clips of elephant pee, musical stuffies and other things he had found on the internet. Moran was also the MC of the evening and he did a good job of keeping the night rolling and the audience at bay.

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Tyler Clark: looking forward to 2 or 3 decades of getting carded

Show opener Tyler Clark’s material was primarily about a guy’s life in his early 20’s. Unfortunately for us, he’s about to pull stakes and move to New York. Luckily, though, he gave us a list of things that he plans on doing out there:
1. Become Batman
2. Start a project and become a drug lord… as Batman

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Xung Lam triumphant… again

Next up was Xung Lam. Lam is a veteran comedian. His set was spotless and packed with jokes that effortlessly leaped through themes of race, robots and self-deprecation without leaving the audience behind.

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Nick McCord relaxing backstage

He was followed by the explosive Nick McCord, whose high-strung stage presence is almost enough to overshadow the physical theatrics of his performance. He was, in fact, the only one to perfectly execute the splits on stage.

After McCord’s set, a comic video production group known as the “Entertainment Show,” presented its rendition of a Pabst Blue Ribbon advertisement. It was fun, silly and involved people getting kicked in the groin.

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Merriman and Georgio face off… for all of about 30 seconds

Then, just before intermission, audience members Jake Merriman and Soloman Georgio came up on stage to take part in The Face Off. This is Laff Hole’s weekly audience participation event ins which two audience members stand face-to-face and fire off non-sentence phrases until one of them laughs. After countless rounds of phrases unfit for the Internet, Georgio came out as the winner. After the intermission, the Georgio received his prize: a one-minute set on the Laff Hole stage.

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Peters in repose on the, uh, commode

Then it was time for the headliner Andy Peters, who brought a truckload of energy to the stage, which he used to incite the audience. He began his piece saying he was not going to perform due to the management’s failure to attend to his tech rider which included a bottle of Crystal Pepsi, a pair of Moon Boots, a Dino Riders Thermos, a “Do the Urkel” Board Game, and several other random items easily attainable on eBay. While some of his audience digressions were a little distracting, many of them paid off, as he convinced people in the crowd to yell, impersonate Death Metal singers, and throw shoes on the stage.

After Peters’ set, the crowd dispersed while the crew, comedians and friends went back stage to drink cheap beer and talk the talk of funny stuff.

Montgomery was pleased with the evening’s performances: “It was a pretty fun night.”

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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Always a good time, Laffhole is a staple in the scene. They also have a good deal of relative newcomers come up and do their best stuff. Glad to see they are getting the attention they deserve.

    Other shows worth checking out:
    – Making Strangers Laugh – Mars Bar
    – LoBall – Mr. Spot’s Chai House
    – Kona Kitchen
    – Pegasus Pizza

    I would be remiss, also, in not mentioning The Next Monsters of Comedy Showcase which is my personal baby: http://www.NextMonstersShowcase.com

    Sean

  2. Posted January 15, 2008 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    I realy enjoyed reading this. Awesome! great writing and photos!

  3. Posted January 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Georgio is such a sexy beast. And funny, too. I have seen some of those guys perform and I just hope they never stop. I can take all the God-firebombing-the-gays you can dish! Kudos!

  4. Jaqi
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Laffhole is a great room run by great people. Sometimes, however, I feel like the independent rooms are drawing publicity away from really amazing touring comedians that are starting to return to Seattle’s clubs (thanks to the rise of the independent scene). Don’t forget the new club on the Eastside, Laughs Comedy Spot, which is proving to be a great support to local comics, as well. (Doug Benson is there this weekend!)

  5. Gary Cummins
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    The best kind of reading is reading about stuff you didn’t know. Seems odd that this kind of great information hasn’t been gathered together before. Once again KEXP is the in the lead. Now I know how and where to have fun while getting out of the rain. Great stuff…keep it coming!

  6. Posted January 18, 2008 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Solomon Georgio is a thief and a liar. He doesn’t play fair, only cheap. He paid of the ref. I hate him. I hate, hate, hate, hate him. He’s winner by technical knock out only. How does it feel winning when I scratched on the 8 ball. He didn’t come close to cracking me. I’ll get him, you hear me… I’ll DESTROY HIM!!!!!!!

    Comedy is a good time isn’t it? Aren’t jokes wild?

    I love you Corbet, have my man baby.

  7. Simon
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    ANDY PETERS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Posted February 12, 2008 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    ……”Jaqi Says:

    January 16th, 2008 at 5:28 pm
    Laffhole is a great room run by great people. Sometimes, however, I feel like the independent rooms are drawing publicity away from really amazing touring comedians that are starting to return to Seattle’s clubs (thanks to the rise of the independent scene). Don’t forget the new club on the Eastside, Laughs Comedy Spot, which is proving to be a great support to local comics, as well. (Doug Benson is there this weekend!)”

    Plug *cough* Ahem.
    And now try our new line of pet deodorant products!

  9. Posted February 19, 2008 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Laff Hole is a special special place, and I miss all you guys. Great pictures Heather!

    It’s 4 degrees in Chicago.

    And I agree, Georgio is a rotten cheat.

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