Sometimes you have to remind people that, all over the Triangle, there are creative, ambitious comedians determined to make folks in and out of the state take notice. Numerous people and projects made the local scene shine this year.
"Ladies Night" was every night.
In a year when Amy Schumer became a breakout movie and TV star, proving once and for all that there's a wide audience for feminist comedy, local women played leading roles in booking, hosting and performing in stand-up shows, with both the periodic Eyes Up Here Comedy Showcase at Kings and the monthly Ladies Night at DSI Comedy Theater featuring a steady stream of female comedians. Carrboro comedian Michelle Maclay Herndon ran the Chuckle and Chortle Comedy Show at the ArtsCenter, and Deb Aronin booked comedy at Motorco and elsewhere.
Comedy got out of the clubs.
Bars and nightclubs weren't the only places where you could see Triangle stand-ups do their thing this year. The monthly Bulltown Comedy Series is still alive and well at Fullsteam brewery. For a little while, Durham's Village Lanes was home to the Pins and Needles Comedy Series. And last May, Schoolkids Records in Raleigh presented a night of stand-up. It's only a matter of time before someone finally does a comedy night at a laundromat. (It happens all the time in California.)
The NC Comedy Arts Festival turned 15.
You can always count on DSI Comedy Theater's yearly gathering of comedians and improv groups from all over the country to enhance the Triangle's growing reputation as a comedy hotbed. Last February, the festival celebrated its 15th anniversary, with venues in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham presenting an eclectic nightly roundup of live humor. The festival continues to draw star power: Maria Bamford and Emo Philips, perhaps two of the quirkiest famous comedians around, served as headliners.
Local comedians earned national notices.
As much as Triangle-based comics love being the funniest cats in the area, a few of them made major career moves outside of the region. "Mello" Mike Miller, who hosts a very amusing open-mic night at Mac's Tavern in Cary, opened for world-famous comic Russell Peters at Atlanta's Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Raleigh's Thomas Dixson opened for the pimpalicious Katt Williams at PNC Arena. But the biggest mover-and-shaker was Raleigh's Andy Woodhull, who had his own half-hour special on Comedy Central.
And they started making animated shorts.
Raleigh comedian Adam Cohen already has his hands full co-organizing the monthly Dangling Loafer showcase at Kings. But this year, he decided to make a name for himself online by launching Band Candy, a YouTube channel that features animated shorts voiced by local comedians. He isn't the only local comic doing silly cartoons on the Interwebs. LA-based Asheville boy Crazy Boris (who just performed at December's Loafer show) also has a YouTube channel, Crazy Boris Productions, which features absurd animated shorts for the fanboy crowd.