While the Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival is working to create a safe place for artists to grow, coincidentally and in classic comedy fashion, Anthony Gazale Lowe has formed an “unsafe place.” Of course, the notion is still the same—creating an opportunity for developing talent—but a genre known for ribbing on people needed a title that did the same. But most of all, Lowe just loves comedy and wants more of it.
Unsafe Place Comedy Showcase, a new monthly stand-up comedy event at Krankies in Winston-Salem, will feature three short opening acts and a headlining comedian every last Saturday for the next few months. This Saturday will be the first of the series, featuring Blayr Nias.
Nias, also known as “GummyBlayr,” is a high-energy comic who pulls her inspiration from her experiences as being “the bad girl next door.” It’s actually quite fitting for Nias to headline the first of the series, since she, herself, created and produced The Almost Famous Comedy Show at The Charlotte Comedy Zone, which features the area’s rising comedians and has been running monthly since 2012.
She’s worked with many comedy stars including Tom Green, Chris Kattan and Jamie Kennedy, and has also performed in the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival, which was headlined by Jim Gaffigan.
“A friend sent me a link to some of her videos on YouTube and I immediately Facebooked her, introducing myself and asking if she was free the 27th,” Lowe said.
Opening acts for Nias’ Saturday performance include Reid Pegram, Cabell Wilkinson and Zo Meyers.
Though Lowe’s background in comedy isn’t extensive, he organized not one, but two, recurring comedy events just the same. In addition to the monthly Saturday showcases, he also planned the “I hate Monday night comedy open mic” night every Monday night at Hoots Roller Bar in Winston-Salem.
Each week at 8 pm, a sign-up sheet is passed around and comedians start going up by 9 pm. Lowe emcees the event and introduces each comedian, who will then receive four minutes to captivate the audience.
“It has thus far been really fun, funny, pleasant and pretty well attended by comedians as well as spectators thanks in part to a really, really good taco truck that is parked outside the bar Monday nights,” Lowe said.
Lowe actually has more experience bartending than in comedy, but was inspired to organize the events after taking a cross-country road trip to California in the fall. He drove from the Triad out west and up the coast to Seattle, crashing and catching up with old pals along the way.
“On the way back to the east coast I spent nearly a week in Chicago with a really funny friend,” he said. “Since the last time we hung out he had been going to open mic nights around the city for kicks. The first night I was there we went to one of them and I was hooked. Five of the six nights I spent there we wrote jokes and consistently hit these mics. A couple of nights I managed to get in two by planning ahead and signing up early.
“As soon as I got back to Winston Salem I got in touch with the folks at Hoots and Krankies and we started putting pieces together. Luckily they are very cool, supportive and adventuresome people, so things have come together very quickly.” !
“I hate Monday night comedy open mic” night occurs every Monday night at Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Co., 840 Mill Works St., Winston-Salem. For more information call 608-6026. Unsafe Place Comedy Showcase occurs the last Saturday of the month, including this Saturday at 10 pm, at Krankies Coffee, 211 E. Third St., Winston-Salem. Cover is $7. For more information call 722-3016.