City Paper is not for tourists
Though D.C. is full of venues dedicated to all kinds of performance, the city only houses one venue specifically dedicated to comedy: the DC Improv on Connecticut Avenue NW. Local comedian and promoter Ed Blaze hopes to change that, however. He’s launched a Kickstarter campaign and hopes to raise $50,000 to open D.C.’s second comedy venue, Metro Comedy. Blaze’s club could have been the third comedy club in D.C., but Riot Act, a relatively enormous venue on F Street NW, closed less than a year after opening in 2011.
Blaze says the need for a second comedy can already be seen in D.C. The city’s comedy scene continues to grow: Weekly open mics, improv shows, and podcasts have sprung up at bars around town in recent years. Early shows at the Improv, which seats about 280 people, regularly sell out and those who don’t grab tickets quickly have to wait for the 10:30 p.m. show or miss out entirely. Performers with big followings like Amy Schumer, Eddie Izzard, and Aziz Ansari can usually fill larger seated venues like Constitution Hall and the Warner Theatre; music-focused venues like 9:30 Club and the Black Cat have begun booking comedians as well, as has the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.
Metro Comedy would seat seat about 300 people and Blaze aims to book comedians with national followings, be they esoteric television writers or former reality show contestants. “D.C. is an international city,” he says. “We’re trying to feature comedians that will appeal to everyone and we don’t want to highlight any one type of comedy.” He also hopes to draw performers who don’t regularly perform in D.C. Many of the performers who visit the Improv, Blaze says, return year after year. He also plans to host open mic nights at which local comedians can hone their skills.
As far as potential locations, Blaze says he’s looking for a spot in a safe area with plenty of parking. So—Chevy Chase? No. Right now, he and his realtor are leaning toward a warehouse near the former Love Nightclub on Okie Street NE but continues to explore other options.
Interested in making Blaze’s club come into being? Head to Kickstarter and support the campaign by Sept. 19.
Photo courtesy Ed Blaze