By KELSEY GRIST, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Several local comedians with notebooks in hand made their way to Scorpion’s Bar and Grill on Monday night for the bar’s weekly co-ed Comedy Night, telling their best jokes to a wide variety of patrons from UNH and the surrounding community while bartenders served up cold draft beers and 30 cent wings.
Scorpion’s is your average college bar. The scent of beer is in the air, globs of ancient gum are stuck under the tables, and there’s dim lighting. But now there’s a twist, especially on Monday nights from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
The result of 30 cent wings combined with stand-up comedy? A fun Monday that brings regulars back time after time, turning some of them into the budding jokers that are making co-ed Comedy Night a success.
One such local comedian, the night’s host Samuel Bennett, poked fun at everything from 4/20 to the girls having drinks in the front row, all the while pretending to be the usual host for the event, Joshua Day.
In all seriousness however, Bennett said that Day has given many students and community members a “great chance and opportunity” by putting them onstage. While the bar is 21+, even underage comedians are welcome to hone their craft on the stage if they just let Day know ahead of time.
22-year-old political science major and local comedian, Kurt Isaak, says that while there are opportunities on campus to participate in comedy such as Sketched Out and Improv Anonymous, having opportunities to do stand-up in bars is a necessity.
“Scorps works really well because it’s right downtown; not a drive to Portsmouth, Manchester, Portland or Boston to get stage time,” he said. “Co-ed comedy is nice just because of the mix of student comics and even professionals. We’ve had Juston McKinney almost every other week.”
Isaak and his friend, Enan Granberry, were two of the comedians that performed Monday night.
“If you do end up mentioning my comedy, remember it’s daring social commentary that manages to be both hilarious and thought provoking,” Granberry joked.
Indeed, the majority of comics were relatable and intelligent between bouts of ill-starred flirtation with the bar’s prettiest girls. While there was much blushing, this approach seemed to be working. Despite competition from karaoke at the Knot, since co-ed Comedy Night started in October 2014, it’s grown.
“In the beginning it was tough,” said Bennett, while smoking a cigarette outside the bar between sets. Smiling, he motioned a hand at the foggy plate-glass window concealing the crowd of 20 to 30 people inside. He said things have changed since more people are coming to appreciate what co-ed Comedy Night has to offer.
“Now it’s got people that see that it’s quality comedy and it’s worth their time,” he said. “They want to be here because it’s a great way to just get out, bring their friends, laugh and have a good drink.”
Granberry believes that there is a bit more to it than just laughs and a good time. Patrons who come to Comedy Night more often than once in a while are afforded a very unique opportunity to watch the comedy process in action as local performers improve their acts over time.
“You can really see a comedian develop their bits and even their stage presence in a very short period of time,” he said.
As the semester winds down, students and community members interested in honing their comedy chops or having a laugh will be glad to know that co-ed comedy is here to stay, at least into next year.
Because it has grown since its inception last fall, Scorpion’s has asked regular host Joshua Day to continue the event throughout the summer and into the ensuing school year.
Prospective comedians are encouraged to speak to Josh Day on Facebook or add the co-ed Comedy Night Facebook page for details on how to get booked for some stage time.
Scorpion’s brings local comedy night to Durham
By KELSEY GRIST, CONTRIBUTING WRITER