Originally opening in 1984 as the Main Street Comedy Showcase, the name and location have changed, but the mission of the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase has remained the same: to offer high quality comedy entertainment by bringing in the best rising talents. Many stars have passed through the club on their road to fame, such as Tim Allen, Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, and many more. The club continues to bring in fresh young acts that could be the next hit as well as the occasional big ticket acts. Just this summer, the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase has hosted several Comedy Central stars: standup comedian Aziz Ansari (I Love You Man, Get Him to the Greek) and Doug Benson (Last Comic Standing, Super High Me). They will also host comedian and writer Michael Ian Black in November, who is best known for his appearances in VH1’s I Love the 70s/80s/90s/New Millenium.
The local comedy club has enjoyed plenty of success since moving underneath the Seva restaurant in 1987. While the vegetarian restaurant becomes the butt of many jokes, the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase is usually loved by the comics. Ryan, a box office manager and Ann Arbor native, believes it is because, “We are just really chill here. And the audience usually is too. There are no rules or restrictions on what the comedians can’t say. It lets them be creative and do what they feel is funny.” After years of working “almost in” the comedy business, he believes the best kinds of humor are self-deprecating jokes, and taboo topics that almost make you feel guilty for laughing.
The Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase aims to bring in crowd pleasing acts, but you don’t need to be a veteran comic to get a shot here. The weekly Comedy Jamms give the opportunity for any daring individual to take a shot on the open mic. Many people apply, but only twelve, ranging from beginners to established
comics, get the chance to step in front of the audience. In the fall and winter, the Comedy Jamms are held on Wednesday at 8PM. Tickets are only $5, so it is a great time for cheap laughs if you are in the area. Anyone interested in participating just needs to call ahead and leave their name a week in advance.
The Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase has plenty of options to make sure guests enjoy their visit. There is a wait staff and full service bar with plenty of specialty drinks and snacks to make sure everyone is “well nourished.” Reserved seating is even available up to 6PM on the night of shows. The showcase is open to all those 18 and older, so if you are looking to begin your career as a comic or just offer laughs for someone else, it will be worth your time. Even if you don’t know the comedian, they could be tomorrow’s Zach Galifianakis! ~Jack Durham, Region Director