Columbia is not well-known for its standup-comedy scene. But various comedians and comedy venues are slowly changing that narrative.
Locals should check out Columbia's standup-comedy scene because the variance in venues allows performers to experiment with their brand of comedy in front of different audiences while giving locals multiple places to discover them.
The Joint at 1710 Main and The Comedy House are two venues that frequently host open mics weekly on Monday and bi-weekly on Thursday, respectively. Hosting these events consistently gives comedians a stable and reoccurring set of opportunities to showcase their ability.
Local comedian and weekly host of Comedy Open Mic at The Attic Lounge Christian Williams said Art Bar's open mic on Tuesday nights is one of the most diverse open mics in Columbia.
"If you go to Art Bar on a Tuesday night, we're gonna give you almost 20 comics, any other night of the week we're gonna give you 12 comics, Williams said. "There's most likely someone there that has a similar sense of humor to you."
This adds to Columbia's standup-comedy scene by providing visitors with a show that has varying styles of humor, appealing to multiple audiences.
Such a show helps make the city more popular for comedy seekers than it is currently, as Columbia isn't known for stand-up entertainment. Williams said Columbia's close proximity to more well-known for comedy contributes to the issue.
"A lot of people ask me, 'Oh, I heard there's good comedy in Atlanta or Charlotte,' and they don't think there's good comedy here, but I promise we have just as many good comedians as those other cities have," Williams said.
Such comics include Rodney Butler, Wesley O' Brien, Jenn Snyder and Wayne Cousins.
All of these comics, despite having different approaches in to writing and structuring their jokes, have unfiltered and charismatic delivery that makes them very entertaining. Each of them can be seen performing at Art bar's weekly open mic.
Having all of these comedians performing at the same open mic has helped it become a staple for comedy in Columbia.
Another helpful quality of Art Bar's open mic is that its more friendly crowd environment allows new comics to try their hand at comedy without the worry of being harshly heckled, making it a great place to start.
Having an open mic that serves as a suitable launching pad for comedians contributes to Columbia's stand-up scene being a welcoming one.
"That bar is more audience friendly, more comedian friendly, so even if you bomb your are not gonna get boo'd, or have someone say something to you, you're not gonna have hecklers or things like that" local comic Diego Zegarra Herrera said.
Uncle Fester's Sports Bar hosts a weekly open mic on Sundays. This one, however, isn't specific to comedy, as it hosts music and poetry as well. This presents a unique experience for comedians as the more varied environment lends itself to helping them practice adaptability.
"You have a place like Uncle Fester's which is an open mic not just for comedy but for poetry, for music, for different kinds of art," Zegarra Herrera said. "The audience changes constantly over there and you have to readapt to what you see."
Columbia's stand-up scene showcases engaging comedians and diverse settings to watch them in, giving fans of comedy a wealth of different experiences.
With three open mics being hosted weekly in Columbia, the city's standup-comedy scene has something to offer for everyone. Columbia's stand-up scene is lively, presenting plenty of opportunities for locals to see and participate in local comedy.