Laugh in the Face of Tryptophan

This Thanksgiving week, skip the sold out movie theaters and awkward high school bar reunions to support the booming local comedy scene.


Photo by Joseph A. on Flickr
 

Thanksgiving can be a perfect storm for nightlife. Everyone flocks back home to see family and friends. Most people have at least a four-day weekend. Plenty look for an alternative to madcap, frantic holiday shopping. And at some point, you and your loved ones may want to actually go do something, rather than continuing the endless loop of reheating, eating and groggily digesting.

It’s the reason why movie theaters are sold out and bars — especially on Thanksgiving Eve, the de facto “See People From High School” day — are packed. You can usually find a pretty good comedy show during the holiday weekend, too.

This being the city in the midst of an unprecedented comedy boom, you can find three.

Comedian and actor Aaron Kleiber — voted best comic in Pittsburgh in our 2012 Best of the 'Burgh Readers Poll — has put together a trio of shows that highlight the growth and diversity of Pittsburgh’s stand-up scene. Kleiber will host all three, starting with a Wednesday night show at The Beerhive, headlined by WDVE Morning Show regular Mike Wysocki. (Full disclosure: I’ll also be appearing on that show. Please forgive the de facto self-hyping.) Friday night sees a showcase of up-and-comers take the stage at Bloomfield’s Pleasure Bar. And Saturday, some of the city’s more daring voices will grab the mic at the Nothing Sacred Comedy Show at Ironworks in South Oakland (formerly the Hideout.) Wednesday and Friday are free; Saturday is a mere $5.

“All three of these shows are very different,” Kleiber says. “The Beerhive show, featuring established guys,” also including longtime local pro Tommy Kupiec, “there’s a show where you’ll have fun, with some guys that are definitely going to make you laugh.”

“Friday is a showcase of new guys, with a pro closing it.” That lineup features standout rookies Isaac Kozell, Ed Bailey and Day Bracey, along with headliner Terry Jones. “That’s the whole idea of a showcase — to get new guys up there that you may not have heard of, and give them a chance to do a show in front of a spotlight,” Kleiber explains.

Nothing Sacred — a recurring event — stars Alex Stypula (winner of the 2012 Pittsburgh Gilda Radner Great Comic Search,) Shannon Norman, John Winters and Tim Ross. Robert X, who made waves with a long stretch of absurdist performances on local stages before departing for Philadelphia earlier this year, will also return for the show. “There are guys in town now that are really good, but don’t have a shot to do ‘normal’ shows — they’re a little raw, they’re a little dirty, they’re a little nuts,” Kleiber says. “And that’s what the Nothing Sacred show is about. I like to show love to those guys, because I think they’re really funny.”



“The fact that we can do three shows in a week — and they can be very different shows — that exhibits that there’s a lot of good comedy in Pittsburgh,” Kleiber says. The variety isn’t to be taken for granted. While stand-up has always had a foothold here, quality once easily surpassed quantity. Today, comics fight for stage time. Every night of the week boasts a different well-established stand-up open mic, with new rooms popping up multiple times a year. Demand for stage time is so great that a normal event will often have dozens of performers vying for the mic, and desire for the finished product has grown to the point where showcases and all-pro shows are scattered throughout western PA on a weekly basis.

“People from other towns where I perform can’t believe that there are six-to-seven regular open mics in Pittsburgh,” Kleiber says. “That’s up there with a lot of decent comedy towns, and now I think we’re starting to see the fruit of those mics.”

So this weekend, feel free to ignore the empty promises of the nearest Black Friday bonanza, neglect the leftovers for a few hours and hit a cool bar for a great show. I’ve mentioned many times before that the comedy boom in Pittsburgh is experiencing unprecedented growth and diversity; what’s rare is the opportunity to see the full breadth of the scene in a few days for next to nothing. Take your friends, take your family — start a Thanksgiving tradition. The way it looks, you’ll have plenty of choices to make it an annual event.

Check out Pittsburgh Comedy for full details and showtimes.

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.
Next Steps Taken in Restoration of Allegheny Landing

Next Steps Taken in Restoration of Allegheny Landing

Officials broke ground Thursday for the reconstruction of the sculpture park’s portion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Meet The Thunderbirds, Pittsburgh’s Professional Frisbee Team

Meet The Thunderbirds, Pittsburgh’s Professional Frisbee Team

Part of The American Ultimate Disc League, the Thunderbirds' players have a passion for the game — and the fans to prove it.
Schenley Plaza to host International Sand Sculpting Competition

Schenley Plaza to host International Sand Sculpting Competition

The event commemorates Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial with massive sand sculptures.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

The month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Next Steps Taken in Restoration of Allegheny Landing

Next Steps Taken in Restoration of Allegheny Landing

Officials broke ground Thursday for the reconstruction of the sculpture park’s portion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Root and Heart Farm: Winning Friends With Salad

Root and Heart Farm: Winning Friends With Salad

Jen Urich's Gibsonia farm is mixing it up in just the right way.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


You Will Need to Use Your IQ to Make This Escape

You Will Need to Use Your IQ to Make This Escape

Perhaps the most impressive aspects of IQ Escape in Ross Township are the stagecraft and setting. The rooms are elegant, convincing and immersive.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Bucs' Biggest Problem Easier to Identify than Solve

Bucs' Biggest Problem Easier to Identify than Solve

As the Pirates try to climb out of a demoralizing slump, one factor has emerged as the team's biggest shortcoming.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
No Passport Required for Handmade Spanish Jewelry at Roberta Weissburg Leathers

No Passport Required for Handmade Spanish Jewelry at Roberta Weissburg Leathers

Uno de 50 is a jewelry brand utilizing high-end silver, leather and Swarovski crystals.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

The restoration of the iconic Noah’s Ark whale entrance came just in time to be the backdrop for this Pittsburgh couple’s wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Violet Verbena’s grey-purple tones are playful, elegant and calming. Plus, get the history behind some of Pittsburgh's architectural wonders.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments