As I walked up to Desperados on U Street, I was greeted by a man collecting tickets who describes himself to be “5 foot, 19 inches”. He appeared to be just a guy manning the front door until I found out he was Richard Bennett, LYGO DC co-founder and host of the comedy show I was attending.
As I went into the basement bar/restaurant I immediately spotted the stage: a small black wooden crate that couldn’t have been more than two feet long with a height of probably six inches. Behind the makeshift stage was a long sheet of black plastic that resembled a shower curtain. To say the set-up of the event was no-frills would be an understatement, but it is the bootstrapping approach that has helped the local group grow from a brunch-time comedy show at to quickly growing addition to the DC comedy scene.
Thanks to the success of their weekly shows at the Codmother, LYGO (which stands for Laugh Your Grits Off) has expanded their performances to the neighboring Desperados. The shows feature a rotating roster of local comics and aims to be and source of locally sourced comedy compared to the Improv, which typically features nationally known acts.
The showcase I attended featured some pretty funny people including English ex-pat Chris Milner, who effectively skewed the Ross in Old Town Alexandria, and headliner David Tveite, who was immensely entertaining. Just check out some of his material and you’ll understand why.
What I found the most interesting about LYGO is that it’s a local group that has a lean start-up feel to it. Everybody involved takes up different facets of running the business from graphic design to marketing. Right now they can’t afford to bring in comics from other parts of the country exclusively but are working to help book gigs around town to make a LYGO show appearance more realistic. However for me it’s all about appreciating the local talent, something Bennett echoed when I chatted with him after the show. Sure there’s other open mics and comedy shows around town but I really dug LYGO’s local connection much like one would appreciate the produce off the stand of a local farmer’s market.
Sure we often take ourselves very seriously here in The District but it’s nice to know we can enjoy a laugh every now and then as well.
LYGO produces a comedy show at The Codmother (1334 U St NW, Washington, DC 20010) every Wednesday and at Desperados (1342 U Street NW Washington, DC 20009) every Sunday. Both locations are accessible from the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo metro station (Green/Yellow). Tickets are $10. Check their website for a complete event calendar.