Music City Earns Laughs for All the Right Reasons

May 2016 Brings Lots of Laughs to Music City, From Improv to Stand-up

Third Coast Comedy Club

Nashville sure is entertaining. But it's about to get a lot funnier. For a year Founder/Artistic Director of LOL Nashville Luke Watson and co-founder of Improv Nashville/Artistic Director of Music City Improv Scott Field have been looking for a permanent space to house a new Nashville comedy club.

They found one in Marathon Village (in the old Imogene + Willie space at 1310 Clinton St.) and now the duo is at work opening the doors to a permanent comedy club in Nashville. Turns out there's lots of comedy going on in Music City. In fact, Watson says it is on a stage every single night. But unless you're in the loop, you might not know where to find it. Once Watson and Field's Third Coast Comedy Club opens in June, that won't be the problem.

The funny team has launched a Kickstarter campaign and scheduled a live fundraiser at esteemed venue 12th & Porter on Sunday, May 15, 6:30 p.m. to help them get the club open. The fundraiser will feature live music, stand-up, improv and other acts from local comics. All money raised that night will go toward the campaign, which has goal of $25,000.

But wait! There's more! That's not the only hilarity taking place May 15. That's the day that's #BrokenRecordShow vol. 2 launches. This is the kickoff of an eight-day (May 15-23) at The East Room in East Nashville. The idea is to offer stand-up comedy, everything from showcases to headliner-length sets to surprise drop-ins 'round the clock. The goal is to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the longest standup comedy show with multiple comedians (184 hours, 16 minutes) by just five minutes…Who holds the current title?

The same Nashvillians who are trying to break their own record, of course. They grabbed the crown last year, when they obliterated the title from some Los Angeles laugh-makers.

Comedians taking the stage will run the gamut from folks you've heard of and folks you haven't (although will be glad you have). The show starts at 5 a.m. on May 15 on purpose so that they team breaks the record in prime time on May 23. Siriux/XM is a sponsor this year and they will be recording the show for broadcast, says local comedians and organizer Chad Riden. 

"It was like a comedy boot camp, Riden says of last year's record-breaker. "To qualify to perform, comics had to have 20 paid gigs under their belt and have been working professionally over one year. Some of the locals who qualified just weren't used to doing sets longer than 15 or 20 minutes." The team started everybody out doing 15 minutes, eventually expanding to half an hour. "After three or four days of that, something magical happened," Riden says. "Eventually, the people who really made good use of this unlimited stage time got to this place comedically where they could largely improvise a 30 minute set.

It was amazing. The comics and the volunteers and the fans bonded in a way that I've had trouble describing to somebody who wasn't there. It was the greatest, dumbest thing we ever did....and we’re going to do it again." 

Why is all this stuff taking place in mid-May? That's when the Wild West Comedy Festival comes town. Names ranging from Jeff Foxworthy to Miranda Sings to even Brad Paisley will be making people laugh at venues across town. Many of the performers will be in historic venues normally thought of for music shows, like the Ryman Auditorium and War Memorial. And that's exactly what local comedians hope will will happen, that Music City can also be thought of as comedy city. 

Tickets are available in advance for many of the shows, but some, including the #BrokenRecordShow welcome you to just stop in when you can (particularly during those wee hours, the acts can use some audience encouragement).