No rest for the wicked, I say.
A little over a year ago, Matt Ward (WELL LOOK AT THAT; HE’S FEATURING TOMORROW) contacted me to say that Clark Jones and Kenny DeForest, two rising NYC comedy kingpins and Chicago scene vets, were trying to route a tour through Knoxville on what happened to be First Friday. This simultaneously proposed both a positive development as well as a challenge. First Fridays are a big deal in Knoxville (as in many cities in the region). Many locals will be out for special monthly events, but what venue may work for this show that doesn’t already have something planned around that time?
Shane Rhyne and I jumped to the call, putting our heads together and trying to think of a good venue that could not only provide a guarantee for the cash-strapped DIY-touring comics (redundant, I know) but also guarantee a strong audience on somewhat short notice for a pair of clout-carrying comics (that earned said clout) whose lip service could do good things for Knoxville. Shane and I approached Johnny Miller and Adam Sawyer at Saw Works about doing a high-quality showcase, incorporating their Midas promotional-touch as Knoxville’s popular oldest microbrewery. As the pieces came together on our first show, we just crossed our fingers that there would be a couple dozen friendly faces in the audience, and that the headliners and brewery management would be satisfied with how things went.
It turned out to be a standing-room crowd and a body-slammingly good show that almost immediately established Saw Works as one of the top monthly comedy shows in Tennessee. Over the past year, largely due to the efforts of Shane, as well as the assistance of Sean Simoneau and Matt Chadourne, this has grown into one of the Southeast’s top monthly shows, earning a spot in the lineup next to the KING (Huntsville’s Epic Comedy Hour), among other regional hit shows. I’m proud to be able to call this show Knoxville’s own, and I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of making it successful.
I’m also proud of my cohort and their reliability in doing amazing work running this thing, since a combination of field work, family stuff, and travel, have prevented me from being at at least four of these shows. When I ran a bi-monthly at the Laughing Lizard in DC (2006-2008), having to miss a show (even if I left it in reliable hands) was pure torture. Now, all that bums me out is not being around to experience the good times, since I don’t need to worry about anyone else screwing it up. I can’t begin to explain how nice that feels.
So, yeah, come to Saw Works tomorrow night at 7, grab a drink and have some fun. We are grateful to everyone who has so far. Shane Rhyne (like he did for our first show) will be hosting, and Matt Chadourne, Sean Simoneau, and I will be doing spots as well. And make sure to follow Rain/Shine Comedy on Facebook, where Shane wrote a much longer and smarter rendition of this story somewhere.
Also, while I have your attention, you may want to highly consider coming out to this, too:
It’s out in Hardin Valley on Tuesday. Did I mention that Alex Stypula made me laugh so hard at Whiskey Bear Festival that I nearly choked? Well, he did. Also, Tim Ross has such a good brain for (socio)political comedy it’s almost scary. It’s been a little while since these dudes rolled through Knoxville (as they did with John Dick Winters on the “Race to the Coffin” Tour a couple years ago), so don’t miss them this time. Also, Jeff Blank and I will be doing spots and Matt Chadourne will be hosting. YOU CAN’T LOSE. 7pm on Tuesday night, no cover.
You guys like reminiscing?