On Tuesday, September 20, I experienced one of the best nights I have had while at Lehigh. And no, it was not a frat party in some basement of an East 5th house. Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works hosts Stout Laughs, an open mic comedy community where anybody over the age of 21 is welcome to perform or watch stand-up comedy. I had never heard of this event until two weeks ago, when my friends Sean Snyder and Jack Loughran casually mentioned that they were thinking about performing comedy in the upcoming week. And I am certainly glad that I made time to come out and support them as they took the stage (and absolutely killed it) for the first time in their lives.
During the week leading up to comedy night, I spent numerous occasions in Jack’s room, listening to the two of them as they practiced their routine repeatedly. As natural and authentic as it may seem for comedians to tell their jokes, it may come as a surprise that the same joke you are hearing for the first time has been already told close to 50 times in private. Comedy is just as much about rehearsal as it is about execution. I provided constructive criticism to their routines, with the goal in mind to get the most laughs in their limited five minutes of time. I also gave them as much support as I possibly could, as both Sean and Jack had a little doubt in the back of their minds about how nerve-wracking it would be to perform for the first time in front of a bunch of strangers.
And then just like that, the day was here. The open mic started at 8:30PM, but nobody was sure when they would hit the stage since the routines went on a first come, first serve basis. A few mutual friends of ours agreed to meet at my off-campus house after dinner to have a few beers and head on over to Brew Works (with a designated driver, of course!). Jack and Sean would head over in a separate car to sign up earlier and watch the first performers of the night. So from around 7:30-8:30PM, my room was filled with excitement about watching our friends make their comedic debut. At around 8:30, we all jumped into the car and arrived at Brew Works.
We parked in the metered lot off Broad St., which wasn’t a problem for a Tuesday night and provided a nice short walk to the event. The event itself was held in the upper portion of Brew Works, in a room that provided enough soundproofing so as to not completely disrupt other customers. Our group arrived seconds before the host, Steve Borkowski, came on stage and welcomed us. He thanked Brew Works for generously hosting Stout Laughs, encouraged all of us in attendance to have food and drinks to show our appreciation, and then proceeded to launch into his own hilarious five-minute routine. The audience/comedians consisted of mostly young adults aged 25 to 40, with a male majority. All in all, there were around 50 people in attendance. Jack and Sean were slated as comedians #8 and #9 for the night, and after listening to some extremely talented comedians, it was their turn to perform. And of course, they both absolutely killed it! Jack’s four-minute routine consisted of many jokes relating to his height (the man is 6’6”), and Sean’s bit contained a hilarious piece: a hypothetical scenario where he becomes incredibly famous as an underwriter for an insurance company. After they both finished, we watched a couple more performers before hitting the road back to the South Side after a night of laughs (Sean and Jack stayed for the entirety of the open mic, as it is proper etiquette for performers to watch all their peers). From door to door, the event took approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.
All in all, it was an incredible experience to watch two of my closest friends be so successful in their comedic debut. It takes tremendous bravery to do such a thing, and seeing them so comfortable up on stage made me want to try it out for myself. If you haven’t gone to comedy night at Brew Works, it is an absolute must. The drinks are good, the food is great, and the performers are absolutely hilarious. If you are interested, you can find out more information by clicking here. That’s it from my front – let me know what you thought of my experience!