Although the price of gas is falling, it’s not always an easy financial decision to journey from Whatcom or Skagit counties to downtown Seattle for a show.
Factor in the hassles of dealing with big-city traffic, finding parking, choosing where to plunk down a handful of greenbacks for dinner and drinks and staying alert enough to make the drive back home in the wee hours of the night, and exhaustion can soon set in.
While it’s worth it to make the energetic effort once in a while, wouldn’t it be nice if the choice came to you on occasion?
That’s where Tristan Devin comes in. As the director of the Seattle-based People’s Republic of Komedy, Devin books shows and handles marketing and planning for the nonprofit, whose goal is to both foster new talent in the Northwest as well as create events that energize the local comedy scene.
Laff Hole, Devin explains, is an offshoot of the program that showcases standup, sketch and comedy on a regular basis at Chop Suey.
“We’ve made a big push over the last two years to bring headliners up from Los Angeles to some success,” Devin says. “We’ve had Tig Notaro, Dana Gould, Andy Kindler, Pete Holmes, and many others. In part, we bring artists out to give local newcomers a chance to work with professionals, but we also get a great show out of it.”
Since March of this year, some of those bigger-name comedians have also been booked for a night at Bellingham’s Wild Buffalo on a semi-monthly basis. After finishing up a two- or three-night run in Seattle, the comedian—or comedians—stop in for a night to grace our town with their talents. Next up is the H.O.T. Comedy Tour, an event featuring Andy Haynes, Sean O’Connor, and Rick Turner.
“We started doing shows at the Wild Buffalo hoping to start booking small tours of Washington communities that seem under-served by comedy,” Devin says. “And our show, put humbly, would be good for any size town: James Adomian, Ron Funches, Andy Haynes, and Sean O’Connor have all done either Conan or Fallon and are truly hilarious.”
Devin says he contacted the Wild Buffalo on the recommendation of Jim Martin, a comedian and Western Washington University graduate who had performed there. And, per the dictate of supporting Northwest talent, each show has included performers whose home base is Bellingham (D.K. Reinemer, Morgan Grobe, and Brandon Ivey are among those who’ve taken part).
“We always try to put locals on any show because they bring friends (to put it cynically), and in order to find talented young comedians, you need give them stage time,” he says.
Although he doesn’t have any locals booked for the July 15 gig just yet, Devin says audiences can expect to find a familiar face or two at the event, which can be experienced for a mere $7.
As for what the future holds, Devin says he’d like to keep offering performances at the Buff whenever possible. The shows are dependent on comedians who are seeking West Coast dates, so there’s that to factor in. But, ultimately, the Peoples Republic of Komedy is happy with the comedy crossover.
“Bellingham audiences are incredibly gracious and seem to have more fun than their glum big-city counterparts,” Devin says. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot easier to find parking.
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