|Comedy clubs stand up as alternative weekend destinations|
|Written by Nathan Staller, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 16 October 2011 21:56|
As more and more people turn to television for laughter, comedy clubs begin to decline, but for Bloomington-Normal residents, two venues offer a twist to this familiar form of entertainment.
The Treehouse Lounge, a tavern in Bloomington, is one of these venues.
The Lounge has featured stand-up comedy since 1981, and since then has added even more entertainment opportunities for their customers.
“We don’t only have comedy on Saturday nights through the fall and winter, but we also have karaoke on Thursdays and of course the occasional live band performance,” Beth Olson, bar manager at Treehouse Lounge, said.
Although it sometimes appears to be a dying business, the Lounge is still able to draw a crowd by bringing big talent to the stage for stand-up nights.
“Most of our talent is from out of town including a lot of Bob and Tom favorites, Last Comic Standing contestants and Comedy Central and HBO comics too,” Olson said.
For the past 35 years, Treehouse Lounge has seen significant changes in the college crowds including the growing disconnection with college students and comedy clubs.
“It seems that [college kids] would rather be in a loud bar downtown than a comedy club and no one has really figured out how to cater to that change, but we are determined not to give up,” Olson said.
In order to bring in more business, Treehouse has focused on promoting other attractions, such as their bar specials, karaoke nights and their live band performances.
Like Treehouse Lounge, the new comedy club Laugh also appeals to customers through a variety of promotions.
Laugh, which moved to Downtown Bloomington last January, focuses on drawing the college student crowd and re-introducing them to stand-up comedy.
“Anybody and everybody is welcome … one great thing about Laugh is that it’s cheaper than going to the theater to see a movie or even doing pretty much anything else for the night,” Adam Weber, owner and operator of Laugh, said.
Weber also reaches out to the college crowd by offering a wide variety of events and drink specials throughout the week.
“Tuesday we do an open mic night where anybody can go up on stage for five minutes and try stuff out. And on Wednesdays, for the entire month of October and possibly extended into November, we have free shows for anyone who doesn’t want to cram into the Pub,” Weber said.
To start off the weekend on Thursday nights, Laugh has “the best pregame in town” where a ticket for a show, a pitcher of beer and a shot of tequila are included in the ten dollars at the door.
Laugh also offers a show on Friday night followed by a free music performance and two shows on Saturday night.
Through various cross-promotions with local bars, Weber has been able to promote Laugh to a wide range of students and community members.
“Everybody has been a big help in getting Laugh off the ground, especially the guys from Fat Jack’s and Six Strings,” Weber said.
With the success of Laugh and the continued efforts of the Treehouse Lounge, stand-up comedy has returned to Bloomington-Normal as a unique way to loosen up on the weekends.