Comedy in a garage; it’s the perfect illustration of that classic line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” The documentary The Comedy Garage by Logan Leistikow (who also lives at the Comedy Garage) gives a perfect snapshot of underground comedy and how live comedy, especially stand-up, is thriving more than ever.
As the field of comedy gets increasingly crowded with the rise of self-promotion via social networking, comedians trying to make it in Los Angeles or New York City have gotten fed up with waiting their turn– both figuratively, and literally, as in waiting to do three minutes at an open mic.
So some have taken it upon themselves to start their own shows in whatever physical space is available. Thesedays you can see a live comedy show in a living room, on a rooftop, and, in this case, in a garage in Burbank, CA where even seasoned road comics with TV credits will perform. Over the years, the Comedy Garage has gotten the likes of rising star comedians Kyle Kinane, Nikki Glaser, Eric Andre, and more to grace their astro turf-covered stage.
Running from 2005 to 2011 thanks to the efforts of comedians Cornell Reid, Sean Green, Paul Danke, Casey Feigh, and Matt Sullivan, the Comedy Garage has built a reputation in on the West Coast where, as shown in the film, East Coast comics started to chatter about it. The documentary features comedy concert film footage, behind-the-scenes goings on and interviews– all of which combine to give an earnest and hilarious portrait of comedy gone punk. Though their stage is decorated with seemingly disparate objects hastily arranged — a neon beer sign usually reserved for dive bar windows, a Jamaican flag, and a Frosty the Snowman Christmas light fixture — the Comedy Garage shows are carefully planned and executed accordingly.
In the film, we find producers shopping at thrift stores for clothing for show themes such as the Annual Christmas Sweater & Mustache Party. We also see organizers cleaning the mismatched sets of couches and chairs in the garage– just to make sure their house party/comedy show goes off without a hitch.
As a result, their audience, whether it be friends, fellow comedians, or actual Comedy Garage fans has a fantastic time no matter if a dog comes on stage, which Cornell Reid riffs off quite well or someone who pre-gamed a little too much before the show gets too chatty with Sean Green.
Their final show went down last month. It was standing room only for comedy fans; you could see audience members spilling over into the yard. It was a testament to the cult status of the Comedy Garage.
The Comedy Garage Documentary is now available for puchase on DVD or download. Go here for details.
Check out the trailer below!