TL;DR – Dando had a hot night. The Miami comedy scene is a charming wasteland. Denver’s Comedy Works club is a model that could help terraform bad comedy scenes into sustainable laughitats.
This week I advanced to the second round in the Comedy Works New Faces contest!
I only mention it (humblebarf) for perspective. Back in my comedy-hometown, Miami, the current controversy is comedians using stolen/internet jokes to win contests.
If that sounds unbelievable, congratulations on having a good comedy childhood. Sadly, this is a regular crime in smaller scenes and outsider contests. The less connected and valued the comedy scene, the less that place will care about originality, creativity, and variety – things that true comedy scenes hold both sacred and basic.
It’s like how we can’t move forward with fighting climate change because Republicans won’t concede it’s a thing. The same goes with any scene that doesn’t reward originality, and see it as a foundational aspect of modern stand-up.
Comedy contest in themselves are curious beasts. I’ve never enjoyed them but learned to see their value – exposure, getting used to pressure, and getting used to failure. I’ve done a swath of dubious contests often because those were the only gigs available. I learned to see which contests were purely money-making schemes. I learned to Google random great jokes from stuttering first-timers. I learned sometimes they win anyway.
I’m not trying to brown-nose the club, but to relay to you my relief that business doesn’t always corrupt art. Sometimes it’s a trellis to grow juicy joke-matos (to later be thrown). A club that cares about who is on stage before how many are buying drinks is one of the pillars for a solid scene. It’s not a novel concept, but considering there are no surviving comedy clubs in South Florida – population 6 million – even the obvious ideas are spread along the beach like seashells, easily appreciated and forgotten.