On Stage

Comedy Nite

It is what it sounds like
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n order to find out where the “g” and “h” in Comedy “Nite” snuck off to—and how that wily “e” edged its way in—you’re going to have to make it a point to attend the monthly gathering and ask someone in charge about it.

I’m guessing, though, that once you show up, order a round of drinks for yourself and your friends and settle in to watch a few rollicking rounds of standup comedy, you’ll quickly forget about the errant letters, and instead focus your attention on the comedic stylings of host Randall Ragsdale, comedian Chris Moran, and headliner Kortney S. Williams.

To get answers to a few other questions I had about Comedy Nite, I went to Jay Benton, who started the monthly series in August of 2010 with the help of a few friends, including Seattle-based comedians Big Irish Jay Hollingsworth and Sweeng One.

“I started going to a lot of comedy shows down south, like Kings of Comedy and Jamie Foxx,” Benton says of his quest to bring regular standup shows to places that don’t have dedicated venues for the art form. “I love comedy and spend a lot of time watching open mic and regional showcases. It’s the best way to get to know who’s who in the Seattle/Portland area. Comedy Nite headliners are great folks I have met at these shows.”

Benton says that in order to headline a gig, comedians must have a strong 45-minute to one-hour set and be prepared to travel to Anacortes and Bellingham for the performances. In return, they get paid and also get to choose their own subject matter—even if it’s not exactly rated PG.

“Comedy is a rule-free space,” Benton says when asked about the “anything goes” shout-out on the group’s Facebook page. “Comedy often [takes on] hot topics and taboo issues. We had a comic once talk about designing cannabis-infused personal lubricants. Another time a comic invited a couple ladies having a birthday party on stage to do blow jobs (shots, of course). It gets crazy fun sometimes.”

Even if their subject matter is of a tamer nature than those of the scenarios mentioned above, comedians that have taken part in Comedy Nite are eager to return, Benton says. He thinks part of it has to do with the audiences who show up ready and willing to be entertained.

“We are so grateful for the people who come out,” Benton says. “It’s amazing when we fill a room with people there to enjoy themselves. Comedy Nite couldn’t happen without our fans of standup comedy.”

Benton points out that $10 for two hours of quality entertainment is a pretty good deal, and says those who attend shows are supporting regional performers who often incur travel expenses in order to make it onstage.

“Comedy is a great date night and well worth a few bucks,” Benton says. “Do you like to laugh? Are you looking for something other than a movie night? All without emptying your wallet? Then check out Comedy Nite.”

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