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Volume 71, Issue 80, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Life & Arts

Comedy runs amok at Rudyard's

Art on the Town

Dusti Rhodes

Anyone who thinks comedy is not an art form has never seen it done badly.

With that in mind, Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, hosts a comedy workshop every Tuesday where comics can find out if they have what it takes and audiences can bear with them until they do.

Unlike other comedy clubs around town, the Rudyard's Comedy Workshop allows guests and comedians a more laidback atmosphere -- and tastier (not to mention cheaper) food and drinks. It also gives local, up-and-coming comedians an opportunity that is hard to find anywhere else around town. 

"(It) gives comedians who normally don't get a whole lot of time a chance to do expanded time," co-founder of the workshop Danny Rios said. "Normally at the Laff Stop you get five to six minutes to perform, and you can only go so far with that." 

Rios said comedians can take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere because of the location and audience.

"It's taking comedy out of its element," Rios said. "There is not as much as pressure as there is in a normal comedy club, where you have to sometimes watch your material."

Rudyard's provides the perfect setting for the workshop and allows a diverse crowd to experience the comedy stylings of whoever is on stage for the evening. It also helps the comics get used to all types of audiences -- and sometimes, no audience at all. The crowd consists mostly of other comedians, a few regulars and whoever makes their way to the upstairs portion of the bar that night.

"If they are impressed by what's going on onstage, they will stick around and enjoy it or they'll just walk out immediately, which happens quite often," Rios said.

The most important aspect of the workshop is that it gives the inexperienced a chance to try stand-up and the experienced a place to test new material.

"It's just fun and you get to practice; you get to try new things; you get to experiment it's like being a mad scientist almost," Rios said.

Comics also get the chance to get advice from others on how to hone their act.

"If someone had a good joke, we'll let them know. If someone had a bad joke, we can offer up suggestions on punch lines or how to edit it," Rios said. "Even veteran comics such as myself get advice from others."

From an audience member's standpoint, the night always has something to offer. Whether it's a hilarious bit or a set that is so bad it's funny, the night is always promising. (Drinking helps.)

The workshop offers a chance for you to see some quality comedy while supporting local artists, many of whom are just as talented as any comedian on Comedy Central. The best part is, if you hear something funny, you can tell it the next day at work and chances are these comedians aren't established enough for anyone to know it wasn't yours -- just ask Carlos Mencia.

The night starts off around 10 p.m. with three to four comics: a host, an opener who does about 20 minutes of material and two feature comics who do 30 to 45 minutes. After that, there is a short break for intermission, and then the microphone is open to any funny man or woman in the house.

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