School is back in session and that means the college audiences that fuel small local shows are also back and looking to laugh. Which is good, because there are comedians STANDING BY to tell jokes!
Tonight, the Hot Broth Comedy open mic rages on at the Comedy Spot in Ballston. This open mic is pretty much the only reason ever to go to Ballston. Free, and BYOB. Tomorrow night, Three Chord Comedy is happening again at the Velvet Lounge. Super cheap, only $2. The open mic at the Eleventh Street Lounge in Clarendon has gone weekly rather than twice a month, which is good because the lineup was always so packed comics frequently couldn’t get more than 5 minutes. Totally lame for trying to practice a longer set. It’s a good room, too- it looks like Prince remodeled the Fight Club basement, but it’s small enough that the comics don’t actually have to use a mic to reach the whole audience (though you’ll still see some of the newbies clutching an umbrella or something like it’s a mic to steady their nerves. It’s cute, really).
Finally, the Bentzen Ball is coming- it’s a festival of “alt-comedy” produced by Tig Notaro. I really couldn’t tell you what “alt-comedy” is, since standing up in front of a roomful of strangers to tell jokes all by yourself is already about as indie as you can get, but maybe… “Anything smarter than Dane Cook” is a worthwhile definition? Anyway, it’s October 22-25th, and there’s a whole boatload of medium-famous comics, both local and from out of town, coming to a bunch of venues around town that do not traditionally host comedy. The most mainstream famous ones on the list are easily Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman, and Oswalt is even funny! I’m also seeing a lot of the best locals on the list, so this one is worth your time. Since you have to actually add tickets to your cart to find out how much they cost (LAME, organizers!), I will tell you that a single show is $15, a 3-show pass is $40, and a weekend pass (for a ridiculous number of shows) is $110. The best part? A portion of the proceeds will benefit Walter Reed Army Medical Center.