Laugh rollercoaster

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Comedy fans know that the Funny Bone brings the country's top laugh-mongers to Columbus. But flying under the radar is a regular lineup of emerging talent that's becoming one of the most popular tickets at the Easton comedy club.

With its Wednesday night Paul Strong Comedy Showcase, the Funny Bone hands the mic to local, regional and national up-and-coming comics. The newcomers' set started as the brainchild of Funny Bone GM Dave Stroupe and Power 107.5 morning show host Paul Strong - and its success has surprised even them.

"Dave and I talked about doing something [like this] and thought if we started in February and it lasted through the summer, that would be a good run," said Strong. "Here we are four years later, doing pretty well. We're selling out almost every Wednesday and leading in attendance for midweek shows at Funny Bones across the country."

Each showcase, featuring four or five comics, is hosted by Jack Shepherd, a veteran of the local scene who got his first taste for comedy by sneaking into the Funny Bone at age 16.

The showcase focuses on urban comedy, though the growing audience is broadly mixed. As Shepherd explained, "It's not an urban thing, it's a funny thing."

It's become such a success that national acts are now requesting closing spots on Wednesday nights.

Stroupe said the appeal comes from the rollercoaster of having a new lineup of comedians every week - lots of ups and downs, with a few unexpected turns. "It is a hodgepodge of whoever wants to stop in and do time. It's a looser format," he said.

"It all changes from week to week. You never know what you're going to see," Shepherd added. "The only thing to expect is a funny show."

What: Paul Strong Comedy Showcase

When: 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Where: Funny Bone, Easton