The Spokane Comedy Club (SCC) has been operating in town for almost a year, and in that year, it has transformed comedy in the area.
One of the biggest ways that SCC changed the area was just in the visibility of comedy. Before SCC, a very small number knew about the clubs that came before it. For years I would have people ask me where I perform, and when I told them that there was a comedy club in town, they would have a shocked look on their face, as if I told them that I am actually a little person standing on another little person’s shoulders. It was frustrating because all of your attempts to get comedy in the area to be recognized seemed to be for naught. The clubs before SCC just didn’t do a good job at advertising. Just putting a sign up in front of a bar saying comedy doesn’t work as well as it did before.
Having a big club in town means you will have more people trying to become comedians. People see the club, and then think this is their way to stardom. This is always a good thing because usually those are the more vocal people that will get word out that comedy is going on. This leads to more packed open mic line ups, but it means they will get their family and friends and co workers to come see them. This works out like a grass roots advertising campaign.
A weird thing happened to the scene about 9 months after the club came to town, a lot of the more seasoned comedians stopped coming around. It was weird because, here we are with a club that is being packed, and the people that stuck it out in shady open mic dens are no longer to be found. I hypothesized that it was because the talent level of what the new club wanted discouraged these comedians to a point that they no longer come out. That is quite sad because this is what all those empty shows were all about! You are about to be rewarded now, and you stop coming around. It is heartbreaking.
If there is one negative to having a major club hit our scene, it has to be with independent shows. Before the club came to be, there were a lot of independent shows around the town. Eight months after the club? 80% of those shows disappeared. I think what happened was all of these comedians that were putting on these shows thought that they would be working the club, when that didn’t happen for a lot of them, it left a hole in independent shows. Don’t get me wrong, there are guys that were still producing shows when the bottom fell out, but not at the level that is was before the club came to town.
The club has given me, personally, a lot more exposure. I get to perform a lot more private shows for a lot more money because people have seen me at the club. I also get chances to perform with some really big names in comedy because of them and that increases my chances of working with them in the future. Having a club of this nature in the area did good things for me as a comedian, and I think for the whole of the Spokane area. This area has so many people, and the fact that no one was serving them top notch comedy was almost a crime. Now that the club is approaching one year, I think it will do better things for our scene.