It doesn't look like much from the street. You walk to the corner of State and Dayton, and there's a little sign on the corner, The Comedy Club on State. There's also a sign for Associated Bank, and the entrance is shared between the club and the bank. But once you go downstairs (I've always loved basement clubs), the vibe changes. It's not a dive, exactly, but it feels a little like one in the best way. Comics mill around the bar in the dim light, bouncers check id's at the door, and there's a small doorway that opens to a classic brick-walled stage with a single mic in the spotlight.
Last week, I went there to check out the local comedy scene with my camera, but this wasn't just any show. My son, Michael, is an aspiring stand up, and he was opening for Matthew Broussard. We sat in a cozy central booth, ordered some drinks, and waited with a hundred or more other people looking for a laugh.
First, some of the local talent got a few minutes. MC Martin Henn introduced Michael, who called him a "young buck." How Wisconsin. It's interesting to have a comic in the family because they shine a hard light on your life. Jokes about my sister's large family. Being white and sheltered. The occasional dick joke. Overall, a solid five minutes, and as a former writer, I can appreciate all the craft that goes into making his jokes work. It was great to see my son so poised and funny at such a young age.
Then, another of the open mic regulars, Colin Bowden, did a few minutes of good stuff, followed by featured perform Brian Aldridge, who nailed the local culture the way only a UW guy can do.
Broussard did a solid hour, taking full advantage of his bro-hair looks and talking about life in LA. His riffs on how lady parts are mostly named after men was hilarious. The show was great, and the club is superb. Even though I'm primarily a wedding photographer, I love seeing and telling these little stories about town, and I enjoy them even more when it also means hanging out with family.