Local comedy circuit is always a riot

by John Anderson

Winstons

Sadly, with Los Angeles only two hours away, many big name comedians choose to skip San Diego on their national tours. While the occasional big name does come through town, San Diego isn’t exactly a world-renowned comedy center. Luckily, the city does have a thriving local comedy scene, with a number of talented comedians testing the boundaries of humor and social acceptance. Several local bars have embraced the comedy circuit, providing burgeoning comics with a stage, a mic and preferably a thoroughly boozed audience.

Winstons in Ocean Beach hosts regular comedy competitions and open mics every Friday. The Blarney Stone in Clairemont Mesa is one of the most unpredictable places on the circuit, where it is not unusual for audience members to flash or throw darts at performers while loudly heckling and talking over the talent. Bar Eleven, known as “your neighborhood rock & roll joint,” hosts open mics at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. For a more organized local comedy show, The Comedy Palace and The Comedy Store put together great shows on the weekends.

Be warned, going to see local comedy has its risks. Unreceptive audiences, drunken hecklers and poor performances can turn a fun night out into a hellaciously awkward experience. Acknowledging this possibility and embracing it will help relieve the tension. While it is certainly better to witness success, there is nothing quite like watching a comic bomb. The feelings of commiseration, sympathy and, if the comic handles it properly, a hilarity all its own make the experience worthwhile even in the event of catastrophe. Just remember to laugh with the comedian, not at them.

Look out for headliners such as Zoltan. Voted funniest man in San Diego – a well-deserved honor – he often makes appearances at local comedy events. Be sure to also check out the underground comic genius that manifests itself in Danny West, Brennon Bullock, Jesse Egan, Dallas McLaughlin, Christian Spicer and a host of other must-see local comedians as well. Support some starving artists, laugh, drink and be merry.

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