How secret, backyard shows keep L.A.’s underground comedy scene standing strong
If there’s a secret under the surface of Los Angeles comedy, it’s probably in its backyard.
After all, the city’s club scene is legendary and the only major comedy tradition you might think of is at the Improv, but there’s so much more. The underground comedy scene is not only alive and thriving, it’s also relatively underground. That’s in part because there’s a lot of money and power to be had from these clubs and because the city is averse to government crackdowns.
It’s also in part simply because no one wants to hear about things that have been “forbidden” so long, like drugs. And, as anyone with a TV knows, no one wants to hear about drugs in a comedy show either.
“You would think that the most important thing after making it to L.A. is to open up a club.”
That’s true when it comes to comedy, but that’s not the case as much as it is in other arts. There are some things more important to see than a new show. A new show is fun the first time, and once you see it a second time it becomes more fun than the first.
Some say it’s just a matter of when, at which venues, but the truth is, no one wants to open up his house for a show about the state of comedy. It’s the kind of thing that could easily be a disaster.
“I would say that the number one thing to remember about doing a show is that you must have control over every aspect of bringing it to life,” says the late Bill Hicks, who in 1991 had his own underground comedy show that ran for three days at the Silver Lake Lounge.
The show featured a collection of comics (including comics and actors) from all over Los Angeles, as well as some from Canada and Europe. And while no television footage was used, the show still looked a lot like a “comedy” show to anyone who knew what a comedy show was. It was a collection of comics who knew one another but not one who had ever worked on television or been on the air