Flashback: In the Spring of 1997, intrepid Memphis Flyer reporter Phil Campbell was less than optimistic about the state of comedy in the Bluff City. "At times the humor is better than the beer, but it's hard not to be cynical," he wrote. "Memphis drives away stand-up comedy clubs as often as it does professional sports teams. The Pharaohs and the Laugh Factory. The Mad Dogs and Sir Laffs-A-Lot. The AA Chicks and the Comedy Zone. Easy come, easy go."
Well, maybe not so easy. Twenty years after this grim assessment, Memphis is a pro-sports town, and the local comedy scene, having survived uncertain times, has proven to be more adaptable than a cockroach. Now some of the leading players in that scene are bringing comedy back home to a place where it hasn't existed since the Comedy Zone closed at the turn of the last century — Overton Square.
- Comedy Squared
What happens when you turn a bunch of comedians loose in a movie theater? That's the question Comedy Squared will answer Thursday, July 20th, when a slate of regional stand-up talent pairs with seasoned improv performers at Malco's Studio on the Square for a show hosted by the one-and-only Joey Hack.
"This first show will be mostly standup," Hack says, dashing any immediate hopes for a local answer to Mystery Science Theater 3000. "I do anticipate that sort of thing coming once we get a better grip on the technical issues," he adds.
"Malco wanted to try something different," Hack says. "It's a fun opportunity to bring comedy back to Overton Square, and it's an early show. And at Studio on the Square, you have access to everything from popcorn to Chardonnay at the concession stand."
The lineup includes Memphis comics Katrina Coleman, Benny Elbows, Josh McLane, and Brandon Sams. With the Modern Interest, and Michael Brown from Little Rock.