Thursday, September 18, 2014
I don't do stand up anymore but I did for a long time and I ran some shows. It's a tough, often thankless job. Though some may be appreciative of your efforts, you can't be thanked enough for all the bullshit you have to put up with. If you care, you try to put on a good show every time, picking the best comics and organizing the lineup. You try to keep the bar owner happy. You navigate the feelings and egos of the comics who either don't get to perform, don't get enough time, or think they got the light too early. All this while putting your own set list together and trying to deliver a performance yourself. If you're really lucky, you make a couple of bucks. Most of the time you don't.
For the past few years, Jamie and Steve have built a quality show at Monkey Pants. As others have pointed out, they did it for the love of comedy. They certainly didn't get paid. From their efforts, by putting on a consistent show week after week, the crowds came. Monkey Pants had nearly every table filled and more each week. The owner made money and chose not to share it with Steve and Jamie. They could have quit, but they didn't. They just kept putting on the best show they knew how.
Now it appears they have been pushed out. The owner wanted more money. Really? A two-drink minimum? This isn't the Tempe Improv, dude. These are mostly up-and-coming comics working for free to try and get better. The formula that Steve an Jamie put together worked for the comics and for the crowds that came to see them. They didn't fuck with it by asking for money. They started and ended the show on time. They quietly went about their business of making comedy better in the Phoenix area. For these efforts you might expect that they would be rewarded. Maybe some eventual financial compensation? Maybe some respect from the owner for what they had done. But you would be wrong. Business doesn't always work like that. Business is business. It's always monkey business. It doesn't care about anything but money. Steve and Jamie's time at Monkey Pants is over.
We move on. They run the show(s) down at Hidden House. If you're fan of local comedy, you know that Hidden House is the longest running show in Phoenix. Run for years by Steve Maxwell, Kirk Buckhout and for a time also with Myke Dehu, the room still lives. Go there. Support these guys and local comedy by going where real comedy goes. The best stand up comics in Phoenix all cut their teeth there. They all have hilarious crooked smiles and overbites as a result. You won't be disappointed.
I hear that the owner is trying to put on his own shows at Monkey Pants now. Don't go there. As Maxwell would say, "They hate comedy."