Act 2: BigBoned Comedy returns to BBC Wednesday
With a debut show under their belts, the organizers of the BigBoned Comedy series are hoping that things progress smoothly when round two commences Wednesday night upstairs at the BBC Bar and Grill, 2022 E. North Ave.
Of course, they do not want it to go too smoothly.
The idea behind BigBoned comedy is to assemble a loose, raucous group of standup comics on the first Wednesday of the month and take aim at a specific topic with laser-like focus and razor wit. If a few people get offended in the process, well, that's part of the fun -- and a big reason the room has more of a "punk rock club" feel than a standard comedy venue.
"Some of us just don't fit in comedy clubs," said Arthur Hinty a founding member and performer in BigBoned Comedy. "They're the McDonald's of entertainment -- everything is designed to be bland and inoffensive, people drop in willing to grab whatever happens to be on the menu, and an hour later they can barely remember what they ate. That's just how the club (and the audience) wants it.
"But, some of us like comedy that makes you think, that says something about the world, that challenges you to think about a subject in a different way. And some comics want the freedom to say what they have on their minds, not what will keep the comedy club audiences from getting too riled up."
Hinty said the inspiration for the series came from a rather famous friend in the business.
"The idea came from my friend Doug Stanhope, who dreamed up an idea for a comedy crew called 'The Unbookables' that romps around the country, playing punk rock bars and Legion halls," Hinty said. "In five years, he's gone from playing tiny bars for 50 to 100 people to playing larger halls of 500 or more. Comedy clubs don't figure into his equation.
"Locally, that's the goal we have with BigBoned Comedy. We have a theme or topic for each month's show and hand-pick the comics who best fit in with that theme. We do multimedia (video and music) during our shows, and we're planning approaches that haven't been seen around here. It's not always stand-up -- it won't be improv -- but we think it'll be unique and fun.
"Hopefully we'll put on shows that give the audience a fresh look at what comedy can be ... and we'll challenge the comics to think outside of their rehearsed comfort zone and gain a fresh perspective on what they do. That way, we can strengthen the local comedy scene, build some bonds between the veteran and aspiring comics, and help each other improve."
The debut show, which was held the night after the presidential election, carried the theme "USA: WTF?" and had a political theme.
"The show went fine -- the local comics did especially well -- but the headliner (Peoria-based Travis Lipski) proved to be a true Unbookable. He drank a lot early on, and you could actually see the booze kick in midway through his set. It ended in a spectacular disaster -- he came off the stage and was insulting the audience. Finally, when he tried to give me a lap dance, I pulled the cord out of his microphone and they brought up the house lights. Sometimes experiments flame out."
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