No, Seriously, here's why you should check one out...
There are a lot of open mic nights in Cleveland during any week. In fact, on almost any weeknight there are multiple open mics going on around town. If you are not familiar with them, here are a few things you may want to consider next time you're looking for something really fun to do on a weeknight that won't keep you out too late or hurt your pockets.
We recently stopped by O'Toole's on Tuesday night for their open mic night aptly titled "O'Fools at O'Toole's".
It is a relatively new spot compared to some of the others like Bill Squire's "Hilario at Barrio" on Monday nights (at Barrio Lakewood). Steve Mers does one a little later (10pm) on Tuesday nights at the Tick Tock Tavern, also in Lakewood. We will be checking that one out next week. They all have some individuality but also follow the same general style. Comedians sign up on a sheet of paper when they show up and the host, Mr. Greg Kennedy at O'Toole's, does a little joking as an intro and then announces the comics in order. For the most part.
Sometimes, some of the more well-known comedians get preferential spots on the list or can "bump" newer comics down the list to perform at a time better for their scheduling. That may seem unfair but it isn't. Nobody minds. Unknown comedians are lucky to have established comedians show up and not only support but also share stage time with them.
Because O'Toole's is not a comedy club.
It is a bar. A regular bar. It simultaneously has a musicians' open mic in the room right next door. The music bleeds through the doors very noticeably. The comedy room is small. There are no spotlights. Just a mic stand on the floor. About thirty people, all included, populated the room on Tuesday. Not a total of thirty people.
A constant thirty people. Overall probably around forty people came and went. More than half of them were comedians signing up to perform.
If it seems like this is not setting up O'Toole's to look like a fun option, exactly the opposite is true. First of all, it's free.
As in zero monies. Also, the food is pretty good. I am hooked on their Tandoori chicken tacos. They also have some really good fish tacos. And if you do your Taco-ing during happy hour, they are two-for-five. That's a sweet deal. They have a good selection of draughts on tap and lots of other food too. Also, two kinds of performances at once. Check out both if you want to. It's all free. You see? Starting to sound pretty fun now.
And that's not all...
Mary Santora. John Bruton. Spyder Jones. They were all there and performed short sets. If you're not familiar, they can usually be found doing weekend shows at places like Hilarities, The Improv, Funny Stop or any number of other well-known comedy clubs around the country that charge anywhere from $15-$50 to see the shows they perform in. And they may do some meet & greet stuff at those shows but here they go on stage and then sit right in the crowd. On a weeknight.
For free! Still want to stay home and watch the Cavs or the Tribe? You can do that at most open mic nights too. There are usually TVs at the bars and you can catch up on scores and action while getting more refreshing beverages to wash down the comedy. We've totally got you covered, bruh. BRUHHH!!!
Open mic performances aren't really performances. They are more like dress rehearsals or live practice sessions.
You get to see some finished, polished material and some very new jokes being worked out. And everything in between.
It's a very casual and intimate setting in which to hear Mary Santora describe her sex life and then sit right next to you. Yeah, you missed that. Or to get scolded by John Bruton. Did you think John Bruton was too big now to accept a free beer? Nope. He's down. And he'll even let you choose the beer. I bought him a Fat Heads "Bumbleberry". A honey-blueberry ale. Now that I see that in writing, not my manliest moment.
No worries. We chest-bumped right after.
I saw Dave Flynt there. Did you see Dave Flynt Tuesday? I totally did. If you've ever seen Dave, he's silly. All comedians should be funny and Dave is definitely that. But he is a silly man. Silly! Go see him and he will funny-up your week too. Then you can talk about Dave Flynt at work the next day.
Zako Ryan is a relative newcomer to the comedy scene. But he is progressing in dog years so catch him now if you want to say you saw him back when he was just an up-and-coming Kevin Love/Andrei Arlovski hybrid. Any day now, the government may cancel the experiment that created him, so see him while you still can! Pete Meehan was there. Pete Meehan. Irish? Check. Ginger? Check. Loves Jameson? Duh. So yeah, Pete likes places called O'Anything. Check him out O'round town at any number of shows.
Barrio on Monday nights is a great open mic. We missed it last Monday and Mike Polk Jr. was there. That is not cool. Mike Polk Jr. is hilarious. And generally not free to see. Lesson learned. Do not miss Barrio on Monday Nights. Bill Squire is almost always there, because it's his show. If you want to know how lucky you are to see comedians like Bill for free just read any of our other pieces about him. We have seen Ramon Rivas there. More than once. The list goes on and on because Bill Squire and Cody Cooper have been doing that show for quite a while now. Cody Cooper is funny. And he's a good hugger. Or "hugga"? I don't know. Either way, stop in and give Cody a hug. We go to "Hilario" frequently. And we have fun every single time.
We weren't able to see and speak to everyone at O'Toole's this week.
And that's fine. It happens every Tuesday. A lot of the same people but always new and different jokes. For free. On some lucky Tuesdays you can catch O'Fools early and then head over to Brothers Lounge to catch John Bruton and Brian Kenny's "Step Brothers Lounge" shows.
Your next opportunity to do that Tuesday double-shot is May 9. Until then O'Toole's and the Tick Tock Tavern will hold down Tuesday nights in Lakewood for you.
Note: If you have upcoming open mic nights, shows or events please contact us for possible coverage or promotional support.