A Year of Laughs: Warehouse Live’s Open Mic Anniversary Party
Leon casino, Photo: Andrew Youngblood
It certainly doesn’t seem like it nowadays, but there was a time in Houston when the comedy scene felt like it was on it’s way out the door. After one of Houston’s oldest comedy clubs closed it’s doors, it looked like comics in this town would have to look to the occasional open mic at the IMPROV or trek out to Joke Joint to hone their craft . However, in the last couple of years, the scene appears to be back and full of life. Places like Rudyard’s, St. Danes, and Diallo’s have all stepped up to offer open mics alongside some great comedy shows. Then, out of no where, Gabe Bravo decided to become a comic, and more so; to start his own open mic. With the speed of a freight train, Bravo with fellow comic Stephen Brandau and booker Andrew Youngblood have cultivated a great open mic over at Warehouse Live. On Tuesday, July 8th, the room celebrates it’s one year anniversary; and it will do so with a pretty crazy line up of events.
I should start by saying that any comedy that I’ve written about is all due to Gabe Bravo consistently inviting me to see him perform comedy at anywhere from Avant Garden, to the early days of Warehouse Live’s open mic night. When he started, I wasn’t sure if he was serious, until I met him to talk about the piece I wrote last year on the up and coming Alt-Comedy scene that Houston has cultivated. All of the credits he listed, were given to those who came before him. Andy Huggins, Dusti Rhodes, Theo Taylor, and Ali Siddiq were just a few of those he named as sources for information about comedy in Houston. When the open mic got started, it didn’t look like it would be around for long. The usual mishaps of starting a weekly event in a room where no one thought it was possible were evident to many in attendance. But, thanks to the higher ups at Warehouse Live, Bravo’s persistent promotions, and a never-ending list of heavy hitting comics making their way on to the evening’s list; the room prevailed. In fact, on any given night, the room plays host to no less than forty to fifty comics, and many times more than that. Because of a strong crowd and a usually strong host, the tiny green room at Warehouse went from being a spot where little known bands play, to a room where patrons ask, “that’s where they do comedy, right?” On any Tuesday, you can see comedy giants like Siddiq in the crowd watching comics like Bob Biggerstaff or legends like Huggins alongside up and comers like Zach Dickson, Jaffer Khan, and Dale Cheesman.
In preparation for the anniversary, Bravo has promised a contest of twenty comics competing for prizes in $50.00, $30.00, and $20.00 increments as a part of the evening, along with a special performance from Houston’s Matthew Broussard. Since winning Houston’s Funniest Person two years ago, Broussard has had appearances on Comedy Central, NBC, and he’s in the recently released film, “Intramural.” He’s being welcomed back into Houston with open arms by most the local comics who’ve watched his star rise, and it’s a real treat to catch him when there’s no cover involved.
If you’ve never been to the open mic, I’ll just say that the comfy couches that are laid out to watch the stand-ups should be more than enough reason to go, but the list of talent that hits the mic there is something everyone should definitely check out. There’s almost always a chance to win tickets to upcoming concerts at Warehouse Live, and it’s a great place to see some of Houston’s best comics inside the loop. The doors are at 8:00 and things should get rolling around 9:00. It’s an all ages event with a 100% FREE cover charge.