David Garrick

Fighting For Laughs: Beta Bracket Returns For Year Two

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Photo: Darcie Siiteri

It seems like we as a nation, love the spirit of competition.  We watch, or at least the networks think we watch, lots of competition shows on television almost every night of the week.  Even with comedy, there are competitions on TV like NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”  But on Friday, July 18th, you can see a comedy competition like no other right here in Houston.  Over at Phoenicia MKT Bar, every Friday night for twelve weeks, your fellow Houston comics will duke it out for Houston comedy supremacy, or two grand and a live recording at Heights Vinyl; at the Beta Bracket Comedy Competition.

 It seems like letting the audience choose who advances is the most fair way to go about a competitive event.  No professionals judging, just everyday average folks who’ve come to see their friends either succeed or bomb.  That’s how the Beta Bracket Comedy Competition works.  It’s a audience based ballot that you can’t turn in, until the evening is over.  The bracket, which almost looks like the bracket for the NCAA Final Four, will host a myriad of comics from those just getting started; to comedians who get feature slots at local clubs.  All comics will get a chance to perform at least twice and all will get to share a stage with this year’s  host, the hilarious Bob Biggerstaff. As a competitor from two “Last Comic Standing” appearances, Biggerstaff is the perfect fit for this type of show.  The head-to-head competition means that comics that win will advance, while those who don’t will go into a losing bracket.  The competition gets harder as it advances.  The early rounds will feature comics doing five minute sets, while later on they’ll perform ten minute sets; and in the finals they’ll perform twenty minute sets. The stakes in the loser’s bracket are actually higher, because the comics will be placed into pools rather than direct competition.  The prizes have doubled from last year, and with more perks.  The winner will receive $2,000.00 and a live recording at Heights Vinyl.  The second place winner will receive $500.00, while the third place winner will receive $100.00.  These are all great rewards when you figure on how many comics are broke or close to it.

 As an audience member, you will be asked to vote with your heart, or more realistically; for the comic who invited you.  The bonus to this is that you can help your friend, while enjoying the menu at Phoenicia that includes everything from gelato and espresso to craft beers and full meals.  You will also get to see some of Houston’s best up and coming comics hone their craft right in front of your eyes.  Also, the fact that this is held at MKT Bar, means that you won’t have to hunt for a parking space; due to their FREE expansive parking garage.  The room itself almost feels like it was meant for this type of show.  The stage is the right size, the sound is amazing there, and there are plenty of spots to see and hear all involved.  It also gives you the chance to see comedy without a crazy cover charge while supporting the local scene and independent sponsors.

If you are a comic, and you haven’t signed up yet, Beta is still taking registrants here or at Beta Theater itself.  The cost is $30.00, which will get you closer to two grand and a live recording.  It’s a great chance for you to hone your skills, learn your audience, and to share the stage with some great talent.  If you plan on attending as an audience member, things get started at 9:00 pm every Friday from July 18th to October 3rd.  If you’ve never attended MKT Bar, it’s nestled inside Phoenicia’s downtown location, across from Discovery Green, and it’s an experience you’ve never had with any other grocer in town.  As an added bonus, FPH will do a weekly write up of the previous weeks events in our “Best of The Week” pieces, giving each and every comic a chance to receive some sort of press while supporting our city and our local comics.