Prince Deli and Sports Bar
The local comedy scene continues to spread in an underground fashion with the recent additions of Prince Deli and Sports Bar's biweekly open mic and Preservation Pub's biweekly booked comic showcase.
Prince Deli's open mic occurs every two weeks on Wednesday nights, running opposite of Side Splitters' open mic evening Comic's Night Out. The event features "underground" comedy, which the show's host Dave Wright, a local comic, explains as being "a free-flowing, uncensored, no-holds-barred look at real life."
"Prince's is an entertainment destination in Knoxville already," says Wright. "They have numerous bands, a karaoke night and pool tournaments, along with sports. Comedy is just another feather in the cap."
The format, as Wright explains, is simple: "sign up and stand up." The show starts at 10 p.m. and runs for two hours. Interested performers should show up an hour prior to get on the list. Wright adds that time limits per set will depend on the number of performers and skill levels.
"The Knoxville comedy scene is still in its infancy," Wright says. "We have the one corporate club, but cities like Chattanooga, Nashville and Greenville (S.C.) have almost nightly open-mic shows. We want to create the opportunities for people interested in comedy to come out and enjoy. And those who want to try it to come on out and give it a shot."
Prince Deli's open mic marks a milestone in the local comedy scene, as it coincides with Alcoa venue the Bullpen's open mic night, which occurs on the same days but earlier in the evening, allowing local comedians to perform on two stages in one night.
The next Prince Deli Open Mic is on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 10 p.m. There is no cover charge.
Meanwhile, all the way across town a popular Market Square spot is now serving up underground comedy every two weeks.
Preservation Pub's newly opened Speakeasy hosts the "Upstairs Underground Stand-Up Comedy Showcase" every other Sunday night with the elevated seating area in front of the windows serving as a stage for the comedians.
Unlike some other underground comedy events, this show is not an open-mic, it's a booked showcase. On its inaugural evening on Jan. 16, the list of performers featured several comics from Charlottesville, Va., and Chattanooga, as well as local performers. The evening's performers were given 10-minute sets - longer than the average open-mic set length.
The event is hosted by local comedian Sean Chidester, who referred to the opening evening as "one of the snazziest looking places I've ever done stand up."
"I just had a blast," Chidester added. "Underground comedy is a true uncensored, no holds barred, sweaty, smelly, sexy comedian-driven stand-up show. It's great to finally have a place traveling comics and local comics can come and have a booked set in Knoxville. I'm excited to see how the rest of these shows go."
The upstairs venue approached capacity before the show started, resulting in many patrons having to stand along walls or the bar. "One thing I can say is if you are planning on coming to future shows, get there before 8," Chidester says. "Sitting room isn't necessarily limited but it can fill quickly."
The next showcase is Sunday, Jan. 30. The cover charge is $3 and the evening will feature several comics from Asheville, N.C. Local comedian and producer Matt Ward, who set up the showcase, says future shows will include several comics from nearby cities, focusing on regional as well as local talent.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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