On Stage

Way North

A triple shot of comedy

Monday, June 11, 2018

Clay Christofferson didn’t plan for the standup show he first produced in a north suburb of Houston to make its way to the Skagit Valley, but since Way North Comedy debuted at Farmstrong Brewing Co. approximately a year and a half ago, it’s become clear he and partners Lee Cox and Kyle Engberg made the right decision to forge ahead with the funny business.

“I found that craft beer crowds made really great comedy crowds,” Christofferson says of the successful monthly show—which takes the stage again Sun., June 17 at the Mount Vernon-based brewery. “When I moved back to Washington I got involved in the Bellingham comedy scene and was wondering why there was no Skagit Valley comedy scene. I spent time looking for the perfect place to bring back Way North.”

Standing-room-only crowds are typical at the Farmstrong event, and Christofferson says he, Engberg, and Cox work together to make sure audiences get what they came for. Each show begins with sets by four of the Pacific Northwest’s best comics, and, after a break, a fast-paced open mic features as many as 10 local acts. Paying attention to every detail of the show and making sure the lineups boast a strong and complementary mix of styles is part of the allure.

And since the trio is comprised of aspiring comedians, most of their talent-sourcing for the featured acts comes from working alongside them. Those who have been on a Way North Comedy lineup have then spread the word it’s a great gig—meaning comics from Portland, Seattle, California, Canada, North Carolina, and beyond have made the trek due to those recommendations.

When the weekly open mic Guffawingham temporarily shut down after the Green Frog closed—and before the Firefly Lounge opened in its place—they decided to produce a monthly show in Bellingham, too. On the last Wednesday of every month, you can now find them and their winning format at Kombucha Town’s Culture Cafe.

Another entertainment expansion in the works will come to fruition at 8pm Sun., June 24 at a Way North Comedy Triple Header at the Upfront Theatre. There, respected regional comedians Andrew Rivers, Monica Nevi, and Cory Michaelis will do their darnedest to wow the crowd. If the show is deemed a success, Christofferson and crew hope it might become a regular thing.

“We really want to provide an additional opportunity to see great comedy in Bellingham in a traditional format,” he says. “Big names have a tendency to come to the Mount Baker Theatre, and we wanted to shine a light on regional talent that consistently kills but that you may not have been exposed to yet. We are putting a lot of love into this show, and if it works, we’d love the chance to do it again. There is so much amazing talent out there, and we just want to bring as much of it to our backyard as possible.”

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