The Uniqueness Of The Spokane Comedy Scene

I live in Spokane Washington.  Here it is on a map:

800px-Map_of_Washington_highlighting_Spokane_County.svg

Spokane’s location is unique.  It is the biggest city this side of the state and every other large city (Seattle, Portland, Boise) is at least 4-6 hours away.  Spokane is basically on a comedy island, a comedy Galapagos, where comedians grow a bit differently then in other cities.  For instance, because there are at most 25 performing comedians at a given time, there is time to be had at open mics.  This is different than other areas such as a Seattle or Portland where there could be hundreds of comedians trying to get on a limited amount of open mics in the city.

An open mic in Spokane can net you 5-7 minutes, whereas in Seattle 2-3 is the norm. What makes this unique is that comedians with a a lot of material can filter through it much faster than in an area where you get less time.  There are even some open mics in Spokane where you can get 10-15!  This stage time is important for those comedians trying to find their voice.  It also means that comics growing here can be “game ready” sooner.

Because of the small number of comedians, all the comics know each other.  This can be good or bad depending on how you see it.  I think it is a good thing because constructive criticism from someone you know doesn’t seem as bad as from someone that doesn’t know you as well.  There is a camaraderie amongst the comedians in Spokane that is unique.  Any drama is pretty contained to about 1 or 2 people.  As in Seattle or Portland there can be lots of different sects because of the size of the city and the number of comedians in the scene all competing for those limited spots.  The bad though is that because you know all the comedians you can get too comfortable and not as willing to point out things they could fix in their act.

Spokane has a reputation as being a hillbilly area and all the comedians might as well be wearing cowboy boots and spitting tobacco juice all over the stage.  Because Spokane is so far away, it is hard for a lot of comedians to get over to Seattle and Portland, so comics over there are just left with their imaginations.  It also doesn’t help that when those comedians come to Spokane or look at doing shows over here, that there aren’t many shows going on all the time.  That may be Spokane’s biggest fault.  Because of the amount of comics and the more conservative nature of the region, that there just aren’t as many shows going on at a given time.  That can give the illusion that there isn’t comedy going on or that the comedians over here aren’t as serious about it as those in larger cities.

Spokane is a unique area with it’s own comedy eco system that continues to grow.  The comedians here are as good as any you can find in a Seattle or a Portland.  To get your start in Spokane is a great opportunity to grow much quicker than other places.  You may also meet some great friends as well.

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2 thoughts on “The Uniqueness Of The Spokane Comedy Scene

  1. Harry-
    I’m now living in Michigan where I do a little comedy writing and performing,, but having grown up in Spokane I’m always interested in hearing about the comedy scene there. Your blog gave a nice overview. Are there any comedy clubs in Spokane Valley? If possible, please follow up by e-mail.
    Thanks,
    Bill

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