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Comedy Sandwich – Part 2

 Justin Golak Comedy Sandwich – Part 2
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“In two years, if there isn’t a solid improvement in attendance and overall response from the media and the public, then everyone is just going to leave.  And that’ll be it.  That’ll be the end of everything we’ve worked to build and create.  That’ll be the end of our comedy sandwich.”

I said that two years ago. In that time, the city has lost two recent “Funniest Person in Columbus” winners (along with a few other truly exceptional comics who didn’t happen to claim that arbitrary bellwether, but, hey, Columbus, it’s your arbitrary bellwether, so I thought it worth mentioning). This city has moved away the main proprietor of shows that feature national touring headliners outside of the Funny Bone (even though he is gracious enough to still occasionally run said shows in Columbus, although at an understandably diminished clip). And, ultimately, this city has forced many other comics, including myself, to contemplate, or in many cases (including my own), fully plan, a move to another city within the next calendar year.

The only thing in the way of my move is a lease that I’m waiting out like an old man in hospice care waiting out his last, painful days in hesitation, but ultimate hope, that the next step will be the first in a bright and fruitful future.

In the two years since the initial “Comedy Sandwich” article came out, I have lost the two shows that I had recently procured at the time of that article’s publication. The reason for the demise of both shows? Attendance. Both shows were at great, established venues — Circus and ShadowboxLive. And, more importantly, the people I worked with — Michael Irwin at Circus and Jimmy Mak at Shadowbox—were immensely supportive from inception through production. Both men enjoyed comedy and relished the opportunity to give stage time and a little extra cheddar to local and regional acts. However, in both cases, mediocre, and too often miniscule, attendance eventually made both shows financially unfeasible.

And, at this point, I think we can put the “dissemination of information” argument to rest for why people don’t come out to shows. I think myself and every comic I know that is worth their bare minimal amount of salt as a self-promoter has used Facebook, Twitter, and the like to an obscene degree to get information about their shows out to all of their friends and followers, whether they be real, digital, or both. ColumbusisFunny.com lasted for years as a central, updated hub of information and show schedules for the Columbus comedy scene. However, that site has faded into the binary ether. As the chief administrator of ColumbusisFunny.com, when you see multiple shows, including your own, die from apathy, you decide, much like the supportive producers who nixed the shows, that the expensive server space renewal isn’t worth the attendance (or lack thereof) that the information on said server space in generating.

Traditional media has also been in place through the push of the past two years only to be met with similar indifference. Jesse Tigges at Columbus Alive has championed stories about local shows and the comics that populate them at a commendable rate. The Alive as a publication has also made a greatly appreciated habit of producing a cover story on comedy once a year. Walker and Anne Evans, along with supporting some of my shows with the sweet, sweet gift of attendance, have commissioned write ups and reviews for the now defunct Circus and Shadowbox shows.

Digital or analog. Paper or computer screen. New media or traditional. The info was out there and easily accessible.

Maybe it’s just Columbus. Maybe for all it’s huff and puff to the contrary, Columbus is filled with tame masses who would, literally and figuratively, take a bland but safe and predictable Applebee’s meal to that of more local and adventurous fare. When Judah Friedlander — a nationally touring headliner with TV credits (Frank from 30 Rock!) — came to Woodlands Tavern in 2012, he garnered an audience, over two shows, that would struggle to fill half of the Funny Bone’s showroom. However, he was invited to headline a full weekend of shows at the Funny Bone a year later. The Woodlands shows got write-ups in The Alive and Columbus Underground, and Woodlands paid for a substantial amount of traditional advertising for the shows. However, at Woodlands nobody came to see Judah relative to the crowds he attained at a traditional comedy club in the same city only a year later. Although singular and anecdotal, I don’t think any story can more point to a city that, primarily, gets it’s meals from Applebee’s and it’s laughs from the Funny Bone.

I think the relatively no-name and substantially less-fame local comic is also left in the dark of the shadow cast by the Funny Bone. I have to prologue the rest of this by saying that I am way past the punk-kid, fuck-the-club attitude that every comic has early on and (hopefully) drops as soon as possible. I have no problem with the Funny Bone in any grand or general sense — or any other club for that matter (and double props to any club doing it the right way — shout out, Go Banana’s in Cincinnati). The problem I have is with the masses of Columbus who use the Funny Bone as a magnet for their narrow, unambitious comedic interests. Every time I meet someone and they find out I’m a comic, their first question is almost inevitably, “Do you ever perform at the Funny Bone?” When I mutter, “Sometimes,” and rant off a litany of other shows around town I perform on — most of them usually closer to where they live and with a cheaper cover — they almost exclusively come back with, “Well, let me know next time you’re at the Funny Bone. I’ll stop out.”

Forgive another food analogy (remember, I’m a Midwesterner too), but it reminds me of those Walmart steak commercials. In the commercials, patrons at a fancy steakhouse are fed steaks from Walmart and, after they give kind words and accolades about the steaks, are told that the steaks came from Walmart — a great surprise to the patrons. I have been on the Funny Bone stage before. And, while not always, a vast majority of the time my set goes anywhere from good to quite well. And, every time that happens, I want someone to throw on the house lights, run out from backstage, and tell the crowd, “Would you believe that you can see this ‘Funny Bone comic’ almost any night of the week around town for a few bucks or sometimes free?”

Stop looking at the steakhouse, Columbus, and start looking at the meat.

Now, in the above, I’m just referring to the masses. The general public of the city. But, to be fair, any art form that does not take even a small market share of that has no sustainable future. I think there is a group of people in this city that scours around for unique shows and happenings throughout town. Unfortunately, if I were pressed to guess, I would put the number of people in this city who habitat that group at around 250. And here’s the more unfortunate breakdown of the group. Of those initial 250, about 80 are performers and artists themselves. While, in spirit, these may be the most supportive of the herd, they are also the hardest to regularly wrangle out to shows. Because they’re performers. Speaking as a performer, when you spend multiple days a week on or around a stage, you are likely to pass up a performance by even your favorite band for a few drinks at the bar or a Netflix marathon at home. Then, you have another 100 people who are in that group just to say they are in that group. People who will show up to your show as long as it’s at an impressively taggable venue (with, hopefully, impressively taggable people), so all their Facebook friends can, more hopefully, be jealous of where they were and who they were with. They’ll walk in the door and straight up to a balcony or out to a patio where they can talk about how great the act on stage is as they seemingly avoid that stage to remain in conversations with people of inflated importance about the act.

That leaves about 70 people who just generally dig a good goings-on in the city. And, fortunately, a few of those people come out to comedy. And, to those few people — and very intentionally, only those few people — thank you. The people who have supported comedy in this city, as a “fan”, in a meaningful way are few but mighty. Most have been in it for years and have not lost their vigor for the scene over time. Those that qualify know who they are — and are likely the only ones that will click through the link to this article when I share it on Facebook. So, thanks for the click-through. And, while you’re here, one more time, thank you for being a fan (sung to the theme of “The Golden Girls”). Sure, I probably owe at least a little bit of gratitude to anyone that ever paid $5 to come see me wax funny, but as a Cleveland native and lover of all of Cleveland’s pro-sport teams, I will always appreciate the die-hard over the fair-weather. And while I love them, they are simply not enough. They are akin to a dedicated and passionate TV show fanbase writing letters to network executives to save a program that is irreversibly headed toward cancellation.

If the first “Comedy Sandwich” article was an article of “why,” I think this article is simply an article of “is.” The first article looked at why people don’t come out to shows and what can be done to remedy that. Two years of remedies, effort, and hours of written, scrapped, and perfected material later, the fact is that people don’t come out to shows. It just is. I’m mildly ambivalent to finding out why anymore — and in full fledged I-don’t-give-a-fuck mode when it comes to how.

The amount of quality shows in this city are shrinking and the amount of quality performers to fill the available slots are shrinking even faster. And whether that is the result of a misstep in overall scene promotion or the collective community saying, “we heard you, and we decided we don’t give a shit,” the fact is that the scene is subsiding.

Most of the truly talented performers have left. The ones that are still here won’t be for much longer. Most will, thankfully, make a physical move to a more supportive and invigorating city while, sadly, many will make a spiritual move towards their day jobs as the primary career path they set for themselves no longer remains financially or creatively viable.

The deceleration in the introductory quote that, “that’ll be the end of everything,” might sound, at best, hyperbolic and, at worst, narcissistic, but I believe it to be true. I’m not saying that the comics in this city that are unwilling or unable to move yet lack any special talent or gumption that me or my contemporaries have, but why would they try to grow the scene? A case study has unfolded right before their eyes and the results are not encouraging. If they decide to stay in the city, they can hit a few mics around town and travel to the variety of shows offered regionally — many within a two-hour car ride — to get better then pick a coast and go. Or, they can make a move to one of the many lush, second-tier cities around the country that can get them better work, connections, and experience and then choose east or west. Either way, to pump valuable time and energy into propping up a scene over one’s own career seems like a path no new comic would choose in this town — nor one I’d recommend to them.

So, that’s it, maybe for everything, but for me for sure. And don’t keep your eye out for a farewell show. There won’t be one. I see no need to commemorate my creative departure from a city that was indifferent to me when I creatively populated it.

Anybody in Columbus that will miss my comedy is likely a friend of mine to the order that I’d be happy to let you visit me and crash on my couch. You make the drive. We’ll both have more fun that way.

In the meantime, you can catch Justin on Friday at 15 & Killin’ It at Wild Goose along with Travis Irvine, Dan Wilburn, Laura Sanders, Sumukh Torgalkar and others. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are $8 at the door.

Photo by Walker Evans.

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  • Just some general first-impression thoughts on this topic…

    I’m sure this is a sentiment shared by many creative types in cities the size of Columbus. There’s enough of an inkling to have a local/indie/underground scene, but there’s a struggle to find mainstream acceptance in a city that’s not used to seeking out alternative forms of entertainment.

    I think it’s probably easier to carve out a name for yourself in certain fields (visual arts, entrepreneurship) than it is in others (performing arts, filmmaking, comedy). At the end of the day, if you want to be a Hollywood director, you’re going to struggle by not being in Hollywood. And if you want to be a Broadway dancer, you’re going to struggle by not being on Broadway.

    For the record, I’ve seen Justin perform a handful of times (never at the Funny Bone, but also not as often as I would have liked) and he’s a really, really funny guy. If you’ve never seen him do stand-up, then this editorial piece may come across as whining or complaining. But I see it more as a two-year experiment that didn’t work out as he had hoped. If you’re going to fail, fail fast as they say, so moving on is probably the right thing to do. I can see Justin moving on to big things in NYC or LA (with years of hard work and “paying your dues” of course) that probably wouldn’t realistically be achievable here.

    In looking back at the article from 2 years ago, I forgot how many people were commenting that Columbus needs a real comedy club that isn’t at Easton, and preferably Downtown. While there are plenty of great venues (mentioned by Justin) that are doing comedy nights or open-mic nights, I do feel that a fully legitimized venue is something vital that is missing from boosting the scene to a level that local comics would probably like to see it at. I don’t really equate seeing a show at the Funnybone at Easton to dining at Applebees IMHO. I think it’s an acceptable fact of reality that most people expect to see comedy in a comedy club. In the same vein, we could throw up a projector at Tip Top and start having a movie night, but the majority of the population of Columbus is still going to go see 99.9% of their movies the AMC megaplex. So it goes.

    Anyway, wishing Justin the best. Planning to attend 15 & Killin’ It tomorrow night too. Sounds like a fun lineup. ;)

  • I feel Justin’s pain, I really really really do. As a musician in Columbus I have a ton of empathy. I also agree with Walker the fact that there really aren’t many comedy “venues” in town that people see as legitimate. The great thing about Funny Bone is that it’s just that..a comedy club. You go there to watch comedy. There are tons of music venues around town that bring national acts in and also support local bands. LC, A&R Bar, Basement, Newport of course the big ones. But also Bluestone, Rumba Cafe, Woodlands, really any place that has music regularly has touring bands coming through as well as local bands. I also think it’s difficult because comedy craves such a focused audience, it’s in fact more like theater where if the audience isn’t paying attention the show is really going to not be great. That’s different than music where people can talk, and talk loudly, hang out for a bit watch, go out on the patio, come back in watch some songs sing along, drink, etc. and still have a great time but with comedy you really have to have people listening to the jokes in order for them to laugh and have a good time. All of that being said, the idea that Columbus will ever be NYC or LA is something that you have to get out of your mind. Those cities have had established comedy clubs/scenes not to mention the other arenas that comedy can exist in (movies, tv, script writing, etc.) for a looong time. To try and build Rome in two years and then say you’ve failed is well…I guess it’s great you made the effort but it’s just going to take longer than that. I remember an article written in the Other Paper (RIP) about music..something to the tune of “nobody comes to local shows anymore”. I get it, it’s super frustrating but if you’re not happy here than find something better, it’s what you deserve. In the meantime, I think that the comedy scene may grow or may not. I don’t really see the point in putting a final stamp on everything and saying comedy is dead in this town. Maybe that was not the point of this article but that’s kind of what I read. I hope people will go see more live comedy, I hope young people will be inspired by the HARD work you guys did put into the scene and start a similar movement. Believe me I don’t want to see young creative types move out of this city either. Maybe we just have yet to find our Columbus Comedy identity.

  • Thanks for the comment, efilsitra, and the brotherhood of empathy you’ve included me in on. While I could have written this article based on the motivation from my own experiences in Columbus’ comedy world, talking to artists in other mediums, like musicians, about this stuff and having them mirror some, if not all, of my frustrations definitely added extra ambition to my words when I was writing this.

    To clarify to you, and a good chunk of other people who have made similar remarks, I don’t think ANY city, let alone Columbus, could become NY or LA. Not only are they established in their art scenes, they are huge, sprawling metropolises that will likely never be matched as a destination by any city. I just notice that a lot of comics that I like, who, yes, live in NY or LA, are from second-tier scenes that were very supportive and let them cut their teeth before a move–cities like Philadelphia, DC, St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Fran, or Boston (just to name a few). Even locally, Cincinnati has produced a lot of hilarious “big city” comics who are thriving on the coasts. Cleveland has also established a good launching pad for comics–although its heights probably only hit recently, maybe 2ish years ago, but it’s definitely very strong and maintaining.

    Sure, everyone everywhere has to move. You have to pick a coast eventually. But if you go out there unprepared, you’ll get swallowed up. I thought Columbus had the chops as a city to provide that breeding ground–not necessarily be a destination it itself–however, I feel like that isn’t, and may never be, the case. If I told you my goal was to not make Columbus the next NY but rather to make it the next Cleveland, I think you would say that goal was reasonable and also say that the failure of that goal is something of great concern for Columbus as a “comedy town.”

  • kjr

    I have some sympathy for what Justin is saying. I’d love to see a vibrant local comedy scene, but the problem doesn’t lie solely with the audience. It’s a chicken and the egg problem. There isn’t a critical mass of performers big enough to keep the shows interesting. I’ve seen Justin perform, and he’s very funny. The same goes for Laura Sanders, Sumukh Torgalkar, Travis Hoewischer, and a number of other local comedians. I like supporting this scene, but every time I see a show posted it’s pretty much the same lineup, which makes it hard to get motivated to go. Hearing the same jokes gets old. Yes, there will be some tweaks, and a few new jokes here and there, but you see a lot of the same material. That’s not a knock on the performers, it’s just the nature of standup.

    Maybe that leaves me out of the “die hard” category he describes, but it explains my lack of motivation, and I think the lack of motivation of a lot of other comedy fans in Columbus.

  • Just some quick back-of-the-napkin math to see what we might consider realistically achievable…

    If the Columbus Metro Area is nearly 2 million people, let’s say the goal of the comedy scene is to engage a tiny 1% of the total population. That’s 20,000 people.

    Let’s say that we ask those 20,000 people to go out to 2 local/indie/underground comedy shows per year. So that’s 40,000 audience members per year.

    Let’s say that there’s five regular stand up comedy nights per week, 52 weeks per year. That’s 260 shows per year.

    If we divide the audience members by shows, that works out to an average of 153 audience members per show.

    To me that sounds like a relatively realistic goal for a comedy scene in a city the size of Columbus.

    Once again though, I think the problem is that we have comedians and entertainers who are attempting to solve the problem, even though it’s not really their realm of expertise. Instead, the real solution lies with a business person or entrepreneur who wants to open a comedy club business and attempt to monetize those numbers above into one singular venue that would make it easy for both audiences to attend and for comedians to focus on entertaining rather than scene building.

    So… who wants to open a Downtown comedy club? ;)

  • ToddAnders

    Let’s do the financial numbers:

    153 people
    Come to a show 3 nights a week
    Drink 2.5 drinks for an average check of $12.50
    Average Weekly revenue of $5737.50

    Rent downtown – $15/square ft
    Wages – $8/hour
    Utilities – $400/month
    COGS – 35%
    Taxes – 37% (30% profit, 7% sales)
    Build out w/ furniture – $100/square ft

    On a 2500 square foot space, weekly costs:
    Rent – $722
    Wages – $192
    COGS – $2008.13
    Taxes – $2122.88
    Build out amortized over 5 years per week – $1041.67

    Total Weekly Profit – $692.49

    So…who wants to risk their ass for less than $700/week in hopes that 153 people show up 3 times a week?

  • @Justin – In your two years of working on this project, did you ever talk to anyone with experience in successfully operating a bar/comedy club? I’d love to hear more from an expert about the viability of something like this.

  • Some people have mentioned it to me–especially after the first Comedy Sandwich article. I know people want to see comedy in a comedy club, but honestly, many of the spaces we do shows in regularly are just as good space-wise as any comedy club I’ve been to. Whether it be seating, lighting, sound, etc. I just think that if we could even guarantee 50 people for a show, many venues would be willing to give out money, stage time, and prime spot (weekend, 8-11PM) for a show to exist and all would be happy–from audience, to performer, to venue.

    I understand what kjr is saying. But, like Walker said, we need more people coming out less to fill the gap. 2 times a year from a dedicated fan base would be more than enough. So, yes, kjr, if that’s your frequency, we appreciate your patronage. I guess, just, you know, if you had a good time, tell a friend? (or 50 friends?)

    I just think that’s the real chicken to egg. A lot of people say they want comedy in a comedy club. COMEDIANS want that too. If you could show a developer/manager that you are getting numbers at a Woodlands, or a Sidebar, or wherever, they might be willing to take on the task. But, a club should be built to capitalize on a need or facilitate a group that’s overgrown its bounds. There doesn’t seem to be a need for comedy, particularly stand-up, from the community as a whole. We aren’t exploding out of venues or drawing folks, so why build a club? I guess I’m saying, if we were drawing, a developer might say, hey there are a lot of people coming out anyways, let’s funnel them in to one location that we run and then maybe we can also get some outliers by having “comedy club” on the building. In short, I think comedy in Columbus is not in a “if you build it, they will come” situation–I think it’s, rightfully for those that would make the financial risk, a, “If they come, we’ll build it.”

  • Justin Golak said – “We aren’t exploding out of venues or drawing folks, so why build a club?”

    No one bought iPhones before they existed. Right?

    For a much smaller scale example, I’d say there was absolutely no visible/measurable pre-existing demand for a vintage arcade bar prior to 16-Bit Arcade opening, but they seem to be doing pretty well with it.

    PS: Good seeing you at the CU Holiday party tonight! Thanks for coming out! ;)

  • ToddAnders

    Love the soft slap without recognizing the financial facts; So, building a comedy club is as life changing as the iPhone? Wow…So insightful.

  • egghead22

    Justin – I respect your comments and feelings. But I do find that the term “comedy” is very one-dimensional in this article and in the discussion. I think it might behoove everyone to define what is meant by “comedy” and see if there are ways to expand the scene by doing so.

    For my purposes, I will expand “comedy” to encompass more, because there actually is a good amount of “comedy” that resides in Columbus and is garnering national attention. For example, there are at least 10-15 functioning improvisational comedy groups throughout Columbus and they play many venues, some with standing gigs at places like MadLab, Wild Goose Creative, The Gateway, and even OSU. The Funny Bone, Studio 35 and other venues host Improv Wars where anyone can participate. Shanes Dinner Theater hosts comedy – both standup and improv. Surly Girl has open mic night. And there are “meetups” that are organized for sketch writers, stand up comics, improvisers, playwriters and more.

    This year both stand up and improv was featured at Comfest – again. Columbus hosted the second annual Columbus Improv Festival which drew talent from Chicago (Susan Messing, Michael McCarthy, Megan Johns and more), Cleveland, Kansas City and more to provide workshops and to perform at the festival. My point is that viable energy is here. In Columbus. But it resides in different forms that need to come together and work with local venues and each other to make a sustainable scene.

    I know successful comedy IS happening in Columbus – if you define it as I have. I understand if you prefer not to, but I actually think it is a missed opportunity if you don’t. Maybe I am crazy in my thoughts, but imagine opening a downtown club that offers all different types of comedy and entertainment, and you just may find more of a crowd and following. How fulfilling for the entertainment as well as Columbus.

  • egghead22 said: “Maybe I am crazy in my thoughts, but imagine opening a downtown club that offers all different types of comedy and entertainment, and you just may find more of a crowd and following.”

    Yeah, that’s what I would imagine would work best for the sake of diversity. Standup, sketch, improv, etc.

  • ErikSternberger

    Justin, I thought of something reading your replies and the cities you mentioned (Although I would argue that Boston is a town you can make it in comedy in, alongside Atlanta and Chicago, but I digress) There is a huge elephant in the room I see looking at all the mid-level cities that have good scenes you mention and Columbus. They are not college towns. Can I throw the idea out there that OSU is bad for the scene? If you have any kind of show on a game night you are screwed. Hell, even with a day game you can bite it hard because people are all “wiped out” from tailgating all day. That is 16 Saturdays where you have a thin to no crowd. Tough for a bar to have a comedy night and not show the game when you look at the numbers.

    On the flip side of that is if you go to an improv show at OSU they pack in a crowd so dense and huge that there is obviously people in town that love comedy, but what happens to them once they graduate? Where do they all drop off to? $5 shows are not that much more than Free shows and you can drink at them.

  • I don’t know if OSU is a negative, per se. I do agree that gamedays can be a frustrating affair for anything–including a comedy show.

    I would agree that it is frustratingly neutral. A large mass of people with disposable time and income (at least disposable at the $5 a show level). And I’ve heard tons of people say, “if we could get OSU kids out, we’d have something.” Problem is, they don’t really leave campus. And a bar on campus will make more money by having a dollar shot night than a comedy night (or music that isn’t acoustic covers for that matter), so the space isn’t really available.

    Improv groups have been doing well on campus for a while. And, so I don’t just sound like a big bag of negative, a few comics/students at OSU have started the Buckeye Stand Up Club with the goal to have a stand-up equivalent to 8th Floor Improv. And it’s going quite well. They are only about a year full functional and they already have a monthly showcase in the Union–I was lucky enough to headline one in October and they got a out a great crowd in terms of size and quality. The student comics are funny for how new they are and they have weekly meetings where they discuss group going-ons but also workshop jokes.

    That being said, I don’t know if any audience members who had a good time at a Union show would come see me, or any other comic, off campus. I would bet probably not. So, yes, frustratingly neutral. I don’t know if I’d say the university is a negative though–outside of gamedays. Interesting observation though.

  • MoNicole

    I agree with a lot of what Justin is saying. I thoroughly respect him as a comedian; he’s definitely one of the best in this town. I think as a newcomer to the scene, I have a different perspective. I put it on my blog.

    There’s also another response/perspective by an improv member that she put on her blog as well (for those who want different perspectives from those in the community). Her post.

  • Thanks for the links Morgan! Glad to see this article sparking additional discussion from perspectives. ;)

  • Ibookcomedysometimes

    I see a lot of blame on things like city, venue, people, OSU games etc out there… But absolutely no blame on yourself. A venue is a room. People will go to an event that they want to go to. They’ll find a way, if your gig is appealing to them. Make your gigs appealing and sell yourself better.

    Quit blaming the city. The city isn’t marketing and promoting you. YOU are marketing and promoting you. Take a bit of responsibility instead of placing blame on a great scene.

  • snow

    I see two major points. Of course, there’s Justin. ToddAnders has the other and poses, “Who wants to risk…?” Then Walker comments about getting feedback from a comedy club owner. The other comments are thought provoking, too. I am a former owner and the might be considered.

    I believe that the toddanders insight is invaluable. In principle, it works for both a venue and a troupe; at some point, someone must cover expenses, with a profit preferred. Combine it with a show that interests the public and you get “show business”. Tip your hat to all the venues mentioned. During their own careers, those owners put risk ahead of reward. I did and was rewarded. It’s unfortunate that money was not the reward. Instead, the times created life long memories and lasting friendships. Only a very few performers can appreciate the level of risk an owner takes.
    I don’t believe there’s a chicken and egg analogy here. First, it’s the show. It’s really almost all about it. I see Justin’s comments less about complaint and more about observation, albeit loquacious and perhaps missing a critical aspect. It’s about the show. Broadly brushed, it’s about the troupe. There’s no precedent for a single performer doing it alone except for that violin guy in Branson.

    People love good entertainment, indeed they pay for it. Put humorous performers together and put on a show. Travel to venues after selling the product. Create material and refine it. Change when it’s needed. It’s not enough just to be funny. It might sound trite but the business of comedy isn’t funny. In fact, it’s cutthroat. There are few at the top of a comedy industry where thousands perform. Only a small percentage of comics get to earn a living at it. And by the way, it’s not likely they are in Columbus. Columbus is a favor. Here, you can learn if you’ve got a shot at NYC or LA. (Insert insightful analogy here.)

    Ohio is ripe for development. Someone could develop it. Maybe there’s a home in store for the troupe. Maybe it’s in Columbus. That would be great. It sounds difficult with the odds stacked against success because it is and they are.

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