Fresno has no shortage of local comedy nights, most of them restaurants and bars that add a comedy night to their weekly entertainment schedule. Places such as Thai Palms and Crossroads have proven there’s a market for it, no doubt. But what Fresno doesn’t have — and it hasn’t had since Screwballz closed in 1997 — is a true comedy club.
To some degree that’s what Heroes and Minch are trying to create with their new venture. Heroes will still be a restaurant and bar, but it’s taking a big step into turning its upstairs into a consistent comedy destination.
Here’s how the six-night schedule will work, from a story I wrote in today’s Bee:
It starts with open mic night, which Heroes has hosted on Tuesdays for about six weeks already.
On Wednesdays, there will be a local or regional featured comic. This week it’s local guy Terry Michaels, plus Minch and host Eddie Trevino.
On Thursday, a touring comic will come for a four-night hold-over that lasts until Sunday. This week, it’s Flip Schultz, a 2006 finalist in “Last Comic Standing.”
“We had done so many shows in so many different spots,” says Minch. “There’s almost comedy going on every night of the week, it just isn’t going on in the same spot. There’s a night in Clovis, one night in Chowchilla, one night in this side of Fresno, one night in the other side of Fresno. Why not have one spot where people know there’s going to be comedy almost every night throughout the week?”
It’s great to get a consistent comedy venue going for Fresno. It’s sorely needed. The current comedy scene in town — while busy — is a bit tough to navigate if you’re just a fan on the fringe. There are different venues for different nights, some weekends on, some weekends off. In that case, this move is good.
But it’s also worthwhile to ask: What’s the point of over-saturation for local comedy? Take this week, for example — even if you don’t include the Heroes shows, there are events Wednesday-Saturday, with two options each on Friday and Saturday. (see list below)
To his credit, Minch answered that question with a very good point: Most people in Fresno still don’t know there’s a comedy scene, so to make this new venture work, he’s going to have to awaken those people and get them out to Heroes.
There’s one certain answer here — and the concept applies whether we’re talking about comedy clubs or music venues or restaurants. If you want to see comedy thrive here in Fresno, get out there and support it. Support it at Heroes or at Thai Palms or anywhere else you can find it.
UPCOMING COMEDY SHOWS
- Tonight: Open mic at Heroes Sports Lounge, 820 Van Ness Ave. 8:30 p.m. $5. (weekly)
- Wednesday: Terry Michaels and Danny Minch at Heroes Sports Lounge. 8:30 p.m. $10.
- Wednesday: Amateur open mic night at Thai Palms, 7785 N. Palm Ave. 9 p.m. $5. (weekly)
- Thursday-Sunday: Flip Schultz at Heroes Sports Lounge. 8:30 p.m. $10. [Tickets]
- Thursday: Thai Rivera with Andre Covington at The Press Box, 6022 N. Figarden Drive. 8 p.m. $10.
- Friday-Saturday: Thai Rivera with Andre Covington at Thai Palms. 9 p.m. $10-$15.
- Friday: Greg Hahn at Club One Casino, 1033 Van Ness Ave. 7:30 p.m. Sold out.
- Saturday: Manny Maldonado at Holiday Inn Swan Court, 2950 Pea Soup Anderson Blvd., Selma. 8 p.m. $15.
- July 29-30: Ritch Shydner at Thai Palms. 9 p.m. $10-$15. [Tickets]
- July 31: The Jacuzzi comedy night with Dave Ross and Jake Weisman at Starline, 833 E. Fern Ave. 9 p.m. $5.
- Aug. 5: Rick Roddam, Ramon Baez and more at Teazer World Tea Market, 2405 Capitol St. 8 p.m. No cover.
- Aug. 6: Ian Edwards at Starline. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. $5. [Tickets]