According to LA based comedian Andrew Solmssen, it’s “in the tradition of LA comedy to take place where it has no business being.” Currently, that tradition is firmly upheld by the comedy community in the Greater Los Angeles Area by comics big and small, experienced and green. There are shows that have taken place in garages, on rooftops, in the back of comic book stores, in sex shops, and more. Yet, while the cavalier independent spirit of LA comedy being fed up with relying on someone else for stage time, few shows are set-up and run so perfectly that you wouldn’t know that you were in someone’s living room.
While shows like Meltdown in the back of Meltdown Comics (AKA the Nerdist Theater) have been featured on Last Call with Carson Daly, there are other shows that also “do it right” in the most unlikely spaces. One-Two Punch, a comedy variety show taking place in a repurposed living room, and Neighbors, a stand-up show that takes place at an independent clothing store called the Warehouse, are two such shows that, luck would have it, you can catch both this week for less than $5. If you’ve never seen live comedy or you’re a borderline obsessive comedy nerd, these are two shows that need to be on your comedy bucket list. Also, you need to start making a comedy bucket list if you’re going to continue to live in or near LA.
Barbara Gray and Whitney Teubner put together an almost seasonal comedy show at their lovely Benton Manor that has become one of those urban myths that happens to be true. Moving all the furniture in their living room, renting chairs, setting up proper lighting, draping a traditional red curtain with a wonderfully homemade sign that spells out letter by letter One-Two Punch already makes for a great set-up for a night of comedy. Then, there’s a punch bowl and LA’s best comedians to make a great night of comedy, a one-of-a-kind night of comedy. The likes of Maria Bamford, Rory Scovel, Matt Braunger, and Kyle Kinane have graced their stage and have made audiences at “One-Two” feel like they’re at a normal comedy venue. Featuring random characters and sketches as well, there is no excuse to miss out on this show, especially after it’s been featured in the LA Times and only costs $3. Well, if you can’t get in because there is no room left to sit or stand is the one and only reason you should miss out this Saturday with the amazing Brent Weinbach and Eric Andre who both were on Lopez Tonight before it went off the air as well as Johnny Pemberton who was one of the Just for Laughs Montreal’s Fresh Faces.
Though only on their sophomore edition, Neighbors had such a fantastic inaugural show that it needs to be the word-on-the-street in Echo Park, Downtown and beyond. For all of this year, comedian/producer Abbey Londer has run several one-off comedy shows throughout LA from the Hollywood Improv all the way to the XRT theatre in the Warehouse District to success. Along with earning her stripes proving that Abbey knows how to put on a show, Neighbors is co-produced by up-and-coming, touring comedian Karl Hess who has been on the road with the aforementioned Kyle Kinane and has been also an aforementioned JFL Fresh Face. The duo make their night of comedy at the patio of a clothing store an event that no one would have the slightest idea wasn’t a Comedy Central taping. Though there isn’t a roof, but a great vibe is already set by the brick walls, a firepit, a professional DJ, and a food truck. Neighbors takes place tomorrow night at the Warehouse (1197 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA), free of charge, with a fantastic line-up including Laurie Kilmartin who writes for Conan, TJ Miller who has an upcoming Comedy Central Special, Pete Holmes who already had a Comedy Central Special, and more.
Whether comedy actually has business in living rooms and patios is up for debate, but that should be no reason to go against tradition, especially this one.