I was recently invited by a friend to join her and some other friends to the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. It turns out that during the month of your birthday, you can attend a show for free and invite up to five friends to watch the show with you. There are a couple shows a night. Because we were getting in for free, we were asked to attend the later show at 10:30pm. And since I worked downtown from 2pm to 5:30pm (5:45, as it turned out, because we were so busy), I decided I may as well stay downtown and hang out until we had to gather at 10pm to pick up our tickets.
I had thought to head to the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor public library and dink around on their computers for a bit looking for writing gigs, paying some bills, maybe getting some writing done, etc. You know, the usual. (For me.) Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the library, they were closing. Boo! I really wasn't hungry, but I decided to grab something to eat anyway just to get in out of the cold. I ended up at Hommus Express on Liberty, which had the inauguration playing on its three TV screens, volume at minimum.
Since I didn't have a computer on me, I decided that I should probably get some reading done on that novel I'm leading a discussion on next Friday. I probably looked like a student sitting at my table sipping Vernors , going back and forth between reading and scribbling into a pocket notepad, but no, those days are far behind me. I'm getting paid for this presentation!
From there I moved onto a Starbucks where I ordered hot tea with a gift card that I continually refill via Bing Rewards and continued reading until my friend called me and said they had gathered at Seva, the vegetarian restaurant located directly above the Comedy Showcase, which is downstairs in the basement. We ordered some very tasty yam fries, and one girl ordered a mojito that was really, really sweet when we stirred it up with the straw. I think it was mostly syrup.
Downstairs, we were led to a line of six chairs, every pair sharing a tiny table. We were in the back off to the side, which suited me fine since that meant there was no one behind us (it would have been really cramped had there been), and our view wasn't obscured by structural poles.
The bar selection is pretty decent. Only a few beers, but plenty of cocktails, bottomless popcorn, and candy. I got some M&Ms just because I could. They were delicious.
The MC for the night was pretty good. When he made a joke about being a level 5 wizard during his first LARP, I texted my roommate Kimmy to see if I could slip him her number after the show. The second guy was sort of hit or miss, which he could obviously tell himself by the way his eyes roved over the crowd. They both hit some good notes with our group, though, like talking about food. (Most of us are grocery workers.)
The headliner Bill Hildebrandt was pretty damn hilarious. He picked out three groups in the audience to play off, and he picked well. One was a group of kids barely old enough to be there, another was a guy his age whom he called "Stoner," and the last was a 22 year old college student to represent "the current generation." My eyes were teared up from laughing so hard.
The set up of the Comedy Showcase is perfect for a night out. Admission is around $10, snacks and drinks just a little bit more, and with Seva directly above, you can even go out to dinner first before heading downstairs for the comedy. (Of course, there are a number of other restaurants and eateries in the direct vicinity, as well.) The late show gets out around midnight, and as I headed back to my car, I noticed a fair number of people heading across the street and over to the bars that would be open until 2am. The Starbucks on the corner of State and Liberty says it is open until 1am, too, so you could catch some coffee or tea afterward, too.
I'd really like to go back. Preferably before my birthday month of October.