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Business Spotlight: The Idiot Box

Jennie Stencel, co-owner of The Idiot Box also teaches improv comedy classes when she is not helping run the venue.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings laughter erupts from the basement theater of Geeksboro Coffeehouse and Cinema. Greensboro’s hub for local comedians, The Idiot Box has been operating under Geeksboro since September 2016.

Co-owner Jennie Stencel said it is the only place in the Greensboro area that supports local comedians and is one of the only places around to see live comedy shows. Stencel and co-owner Steve Lesser started in Chapel Hill at a chain of improv clubs called Comedy Sports but decided they wanted to own a club themselves. They bounced back and forth from places in downtown until they finally settled down at Geeksboro.

“Downtown just got more difficult,” Stencel said. “We ended up meeting up with Joe [the owner of Geeksboro] for a different reason, and he told us that we could perform at his theater, and how he had lots of open nights. It has been pretty great for both of us.”

The Idiot Box’s schedule on Thursday nights is open mic, Friday is stand-up and special events, and Saturday afternoon there is a family-friendly improv show, and Saturday night there are two improv shows.

The Idiot Box does not only offer shows for your entertainment, but they also offer five-week different-leveled classes for improv, stand-up and sketch comedy. These classes start in August and cost $125. Stand-up classes are taught by Eric Trundy and Steve Lesser, Stencel teaches improv and A.J. Schrader teaches the sketch classes.

In open mic, stand-up, and improv there are only about 16, 12 and 12, people respectively that are in each group. From there, people are encouraged to audition for The Idiot Box’s troupe.

This year marks the 10th year of North Carolina’s longest running stand-up competition, Stencel said. She hopes to have 100 comics enter to perform. Out of 100, only five will be able to be finalists, and only one will win the $1,000 prize. This competition, Stencel said, will begin in September and will run until January when the finals are.

“It is one of the longest running stand-up competitions that is a benefit for stand-ups,” Stencel said. “A lot of times, it is just a money maker for the venue, but we do not really make any money off of it we use the money to have their set recorded so that they can have a recording of themselves.”

Stencel said The Idiot Box aims to support comedy and not just make money off of comedians.

“Anybody that comes here loves it,” Stencel said. “It is one of the only things to go out and have a real experience of live fun in the area. It is a cool place in the basement.”

The Idiot Box’s hours of operation and schedule can be found at www.idiotboxers.com

 

 

 

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