Have a laugh!
Comedy is on the rise in New Orleans
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 14:11
It’s a Friday night, and you begin to figure out your evening plans. A few bands play at Prytania Bar, Bruno’s has several tempting drink specials, but what about a comedy show?
The comedy scene in New Orleans is on the rise according to Scotland Green, one of Carrollton Station’s comedy open mic night hosts.
“More people have heard about our Wednesday night open mic now,” he said. “Because we’ve been here and we don’t take a week off, people tell their friends. Even Zach Galifianakis made an appearance when he was in town.”
Comedy has also appeared on Loyola’s campus lately. The University Programming Board brought in comedian Adam Mamawala earlier this semester, and improvisational theatre troupe Upright Citizens Brigade visited Loyola’s campus during Family Weekend.
Tad Walters, history and economics sophomore, has tested out the New Orleans scene several times with his stand-up comedy set. He participated in Carrollton Station’s open mic last year as a freshman.
“A group of my friends would get together and we’d go,” Walters said. “There’s always a good crowd that comes out.”
For Walters, comedy began in high school. “I was involved with the Speech and Debate team, performing in Humorous Interpretation,” he said. “That’s what got me going.”
Loyola graduate John Magallanez said that he was too shy to partake in open mic nights while attending Loyola. But since graduating this past May, he regularly performs in his hometown of San Antonio.
“I do open mic nights or free shows about five nights a week, and I have about one show a month,” he said. “Right now I’m practicing. I’m learning how to write jokes, and I’m learning the proper structure.”
It took time to gather the right confidence for comedy, Magallanez said. “After my first show, I was worried that people were just laughing and cheering for me because I seemed like a nice guy,” he said.
Magallanez is among many young comedians trying out comedy for the first time. On a national scale, comedy has become more popular, Green said. “It helps the local scene,” he said. “People want to try it, which builds the mics and builds the shows.”
A New Orleans comedy theater and conservatory called The New Movement may also have something to do with comedy’s increasing local popularity, Green said. The New Movement provides classes that teach students the art of comedy and improv. The theater also works to put on regular comedy shows.
Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, both from New Orleans, co- founded The New Movement in Austin, Tx. They soon realized that New Orleans could benefit from their theater, too.
“This city has always appreciated good live entertainment, and the energy here is incredible,” Trew said. “There have always been improv groups and standup comedians here, but there wasn’t a tribe of hardworking people all supporting each other under the same banner.”
The New Movement is like a record label for comedians, he said, and since opening in March, more than 15 of The New Movement’s performers have gone on multi-city comedy tours.
Magallanez said he is excited to hear comedy is picking up in New Orleans. “I was talking to some comedians who have done shows in New Orleans. They always say that because it’s such a musical city, it always somewhat overshadows the comedy performances,” he said. “I love that comedy is breaking out and becoming more accepted as a performing art.”
Cherie LeJeune can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org