For the last four years, up and coming comedians have participated in the Ice House’s free open mic night to entertain their peers and have an all around good time.
Comedians Ari Mannis, who has been featured on funny or die, and Ken Garr, who performs at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas regularly, host a weekly open mic night at the popular Ice House Comedy Club. Being one of the oldest comedy clubs in the area and one of the most famous are just a couple of awards the club has under its belt.
“The Ice House is 55 years old. It’s one of the oldest comedy clubs in the country,” Garr said. “It’s one of the best comedy clubs in the country and the hardest to get work at.”
Mannis started his comedy journey at a comedy contest while he was attending UC Santa Cruz, realizing that he was onto something, he started auditioning for shows at comedy clubs in the LA area, one of those being our local Ice House.
Similarly, Garr started out in Chicago doing improv. Three years ago he moved to LA and after a year of working in the city as a comedian, Mannis asked him to help him host the open mic night.
“The owner saw me here a few nights and he took a liking to me and he said ‘what do you think this place is missing?’ and I said ‘you guys don’t have an open mic,’” Mannis said. “Let’s do it, let’s start one,” said Mannis to when the owner, Bob Fisher, asked if he would help build one.
The open mic night is free for comedians to test new material, practice for upcoming shows, or simply have fun in a judgement free zone. Comedians write their names on a slip of paper that are randomly drawn out of a bucket. When their name is called, they have four minutes on stage to do whatever their heart desires.
“It’s a great way for the up and coming comedians to grow and start new material, and work on new material,” Garr said.
The show started with the hosts demonstrating how fast four minutes can go by performing some jokes about dating, trips to Africa and the upper middle class. Mannis acknowledged that having about five natives carry ones luggage up a mountain along side him might be a first world problem. After the hosts showed showed the participants how it’s done, one by one the participants names were drawn at random.
About twenty comedians showed up to this week’s open mic night ready to dazzle the crowd with their material. Some come to the show hoping to get discovered by the owner, who shows up sometimes, or professional comedians who tend to pop in randomly such as Tony Hinchcliffe and even the winner of the third season of Last Comic Standing, Alonzo Bodden. Others use the experience as a break from their busy lives.
“I’ve been doing it off and on since I was a kid,” said participant Eric Horn. “I’m in school for theater and at the same being an actor to be able to do it all from Shakespeare to stand up.”
The various comedians discussed stereotypes, discrimination, and mistakes in a light hearted manner that kept the crowd going through the two hour set. Everybody received praise in the relaxed setting and the air was never dead due to the fresh material that kept flowing throughout.
Everybody is welcome to participate or just relax and watch comedians strut their stuff for free at the open mic night every Thursday night at 6 at the Ice House Comedy Club on Mentor Avenue in Pasadena.