On a winter Wednesday night in Boston, sometimes we get stuck in the hump-day blues. It’s only mid-week? Why is Friday so far out of reach? For all the financially-strained individuals seeking entertainment to sky rocket themselves into Thursday with positivity by laughing at someone else’s jokes and shaking off your own situation (is this too personal?), I suggest you attend the Limelight Studio Comedy Club show at 8:00pm. The shows are $5.00 at the door and include cheap beers, a close-knit studio atmosphere, and an opportunity to get a peek at the up and coming comedic genius in the Boston area.
In the heart of the theater district right near the Arlington T stop, Limelight’s Wednesday night show features up and coming comedians and young talent in the Boston area, including nationally recognized headline comedian like Corey Rodrigues and Kelly MacFarland. The Limelight Comedy Club creators are a tight circle of young professionals from New York, Los Angeles, and Boston that believe in each other’s raw, comedic talent and enjoy getting together and making people laugh.
“One of the unspoken parts of a career in comedy is that there this a lone-wolf aspect to writing your lines,” says Tim Sturtevant, a founder and comedian at the Limelight Comedy Club. “What you think is funny is really subjective. So when you have a group of guys who come together to talk comedy, it builds an essence of brotherhood. For example, I might think that my jokes are hilarious, and then we all come together and share our latest stage stories and realize we have something in common-they’re not as funny as we might think!”
Originally, the crew met at King’s Bowling Alley off of Boylston at the Wednesday night open mic sessions. At King’s, the guys connected quickly and found common ground through witty banter and story-telling. The guys include Ian Barton, Arty Przychodzki, Matt Miller, Kyle McNally, Mark McDonough, Alex Gettlin, Tim Sturtevant, and Luke Touma. I had the opportunity to speak with the comedians at the studio to get the story about their club and careers. The interview was just as entertaining as the stuff I’ve seen on the stage; we were able to conclude that Arty hates brunch and that no one could understand what Tim was saying through his off-collar jokes during the interview, which apparently isn’t so far from the usual. It was easy to tell in the first five minutes of the interview that each comedian has a lot of passion for comedy. Przychodzki, one of the performers and founders of the comedy club, wanted to get him and his friends involved in stand-up comedy and was interested in booking their own room to set them apart from the rest of the Boston mainstream comedy scene.
“It’s pretty prophetic that we all decided to start doing a Wednesday night show together at our own room at Limelight,” said McKnally. “We all got to know each other on and off the mic and things kicked off from there.”
The stories you hear and the people you see on stage are new to the Boston comedy scene, and are setting the tone for what comedy is on a Wednesday night in Boston.
“There isn’t anyone doing what we’re doing in the Boston right now,” says Sturtevant . “We are a bunch of young guys trying to cut our own swath in the Boston comedy scene.”
The comedy club is growing from the grassroots out of the small stage at Limelight Studio. The guys book comedians from all over the city to bring together a niche comedic crew that is sure to laugh people to tears. Gettlin and some of the other Limelight originals are networking in other cities to grow the pipe line across Boston to New York- and even Los Angeles. By seeking and mapping out new stand-up venues, the comedians at Limelight are growing their careers out of home base in Boston.
I have to say, the studio itself has a lot of character. Limelight is a Japenese style karaoke bar. The stage is small with dim lighting. Two props sit on stage: a tall mic stand and a small, black bench that almost every comedian comments on because it’s clearly broken. Secretly (and not so much anymore), I’ve appreciated it.
I am a groupie now, after having attended the show three times and their stand-up show at the Banchee, which runs every third Monday night of the month. As a stand-up comedy fan with an interest in performance, I have found the comedians at Limelight Studio to be a particularly exciting crowd to follow. The young, up and coming comedians are all local, Boston guys, most of whom have grown up in the Boston area.
“The easiest way to get on stage and grow as comedians is to book ourselves,” says McDonough. “At least once a month we get up on stage at Limelight if we don’t see each other throughout the week at other open mics.”
The raw, relatable comedic talent of the regulars at Limelight Studio reflect the struggle of city life that many of us living in Boston and other urban settings experience. Jokes jump from relationships, living in your parent’s basement, difficult last names for the typical white American, the never-ending questions proposed at company training, genies, dating advice, brony tails, old men participating in Chucky Cheese activities, and other topics that allow audience members to relax and look at day to day situations with a bit of light-hearted humor.
“There’s many other shows out there that local comedians create and perform. Each show that people put together, though takes on the character of the people that run it,” says Barton. “We hope that comedians like Peter Martin, Gary Petersen, Dan Boulger, John Paul Rivera, and Tawanda Gona represent the type of comedy that Limelight Comedy Club brings to the stage.”
What is most unique about Limelight Studio is the personal interactions with the cast and crew. The Limelight crew switches off between hosting and performing. All the performers are seen outside before the show handing out fliers and interacting with city walkers passing by in the downtown theater district. They ask questions and seek ways to pull in new comedy club fans to network themselves into the city. The guys are there before the show to set up the studio with chairs and tables and are the last ones to leave and make sure to thank everyone for coming.
The crew scouts for their own headline and feature comedians at open mics and comedy shows in the city. New England has bred some really talented, hilarious comedians, including Dane Cook, Bill Burr, Jay Leno, and Patrice O’Neil. More so, because of the camaraderie of the Limelight crew and their growing expertise in picking and choosing comedic talent, the comedy club is sure to grow in numbers and in locations, rolling out into other cities.
“The pipeline is already in the works to get our guys to perform in different areas and in front of different crowds. However, Boston is forever our home base; this is where we made our first mistakes and learned how to bounce back,” says Barton.
There is something so entertaining about watching the young and talented grow and learn in a niche environment that is wholly their own.
“Everyone bombs,” Przychodzki says. “Even the most talented guys bomb. That is why we constantly are attending open mics and testing out of jokes in front of different people.”
Even when I have a stressful day and all I want to do is crawl into my bed and watch Netflix (no shame, we’ve all been here), I have never been let down by attending their shows. You forget all about your troubles, and listen to someone else’s personal struggles- who, by no means, is more than willing to share their awkward life experiences with a crowd of strangers.
One of the most memorable moments at Limelight Comedy Club was during their first show on September 30th, 2015. Will Noonan and John Paul Rivera, the headline and feature comedians, packed the studio out with 60 people. Przychodzki and Touma co-hosted, and everyone’s killer comedic performance and positive energy set the tone for the launch of the comedy club.
“Comedians love coming back and performing with us,” says McNally. “There is a real respect for the room.” Come check out a Wednesday night show at Limelight Studio, a great Tinder date spot or a place to take out your mother. Just be prepared for startling penis jokes. They happen.