By Arlene Mateo
The Comedy Store—a quintessential tourist attraction—is located in West Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard. Its black and red drapery, dim lighting, and worn furniture leave the impression that not much has changed since the 70s, but don’t let that fool you!
If you can look past the average bar food and two-drink minimum, The Comedy Store is an incredible LA experience—a writer’s hidden gem.
The Performers Keep You Engaged
If you are anything like me, then chances are you’re lost in your head more than you’d like to be. That’s why The Store is a great spot to catch a break. Once you are ushered to your seat, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the laughs. Legends like David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richard Pryor have made their rounds there, and for 15 to 20 bucks you’ll see some of the best talent in the business. Comedians like Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan, Ali Wong, Daniel Tosh, and Dane Cook, work through material in the main or belly room, and each comedian varies in style. The lineup is fresh, the patrons are hooked, and the dark lighting and casual vibes make it easy to unwind.
You’ll Be Full of Energy
I must warn you, you will probably leave a bit riled up, but that’s a good thing! Comedians tend to say what many would not dare think out loud, so be prepared for humor that will make you uncomfortable, get you fired up, or leave you totally perplexed. Great art should be that way— you may walk away feeling ready to write or with a sudden urge to have your own opinion heard, so once your emotions subside, let the pen roll and see where it takes you.
Learn How to Edit and Create Characters
The material is drafted and revised in front of you, which can be an amazing learning opportunity for writers at all levels. Comics want you to laugh, but not every joke sticks the landing, and no matter what the outcome may be, some performers will walk you through their thought process: “Hmm that didn’t work, how about this joke?” Others will sweat profusely and develop nervous tics, and occasionally, some comedians might get angry (I’m sure you can imagine a few).
As writers, our creative process is similar—an absolute emotional rollercoaster. Watching others take chances and make mistakes offers a fresh perspective on a process we often stress over.
Comedians Hustle, Hustle, Hustle!
They are relentless, and you can be too! A serious comedian performs several times a week— open mic, after open mic, they get up on stage and gear up for wherever the night takes ‘em. At the Comedy Store, you’ll see greats like Marc Maron or Chris Delia have a bad night, but no worries, they’ll be back!
Quite often, writers tend to sit on their material and they’re scared to put it out there, but what if you take the comic approach? No matter what, always keep the momentum going, send out your story, sign up for a reading—whatever you have to do!
It Helps You Grow as an Artist
After a couple visits to the Comedy Store, I knew I wanted to give performing a shot! The very next opportunity I had, I signed up for a reading with pspoets and was hooked! Not to mention, the poetry crowd is a lot more forgiving than a comedy crowd!
Do yourself a favor and plan a visit to the Comedy Store, who knows where it will take you next!