Tapp’s Arts Center and Soda City Stand Up are getting all dolled up to celebrate their one-year anniversary.
While most “newlyweds” celebrate with paper, this union is far from traditional. The first show they collaborated on in January 2015 had comedians take the stage in nothing but their underwear. For their January 2016 show, it’s the opposite: the six male comedians – including host John Gibson – and female comedian Jenn Snyder will all take the stage in drag.
“I picked people who I knew wouldn’t be shy to the idea,” said Gibson, who’s also the co-founder of Soda City Stand Up, a local comedy booking agency dedicated to building up the standup comedy circuit in Columbia. “Comedians that wouldn’t mind getting in front of people and getting out of their comfort zone. And that’s the idea. Get them out of their comfort zone a little bit, and see what they do with it.”
Caitlin Bright, executive director of Tapp’s, loved the idea.
“Comedy in itself is not something that fosters a comfort zone,” she said. “It’s very daunting to go and stand in front of a bunch of people and make them laugh. But doing things like this takes you out of your normal sphere and really makes your experience raw. And it’s also ridiculously entertaining for the audience. It’s going to be fun.”
Neither Gibson nor Bright have seen much of the outfits just yet.
“We’re all planning what we’re going to wear and it’s going to be a surprise for everyone,” host Gibson said. “I have a pretty good wardrobe picked out. I’ve got female friends asking to do my makeup and (they) want to go dress shopping.”
Each comedian will get 10 minutes to deliver a routine that may or may not incorporate their new persona. Gibson is pushing the comedians to take the idea and run with it as fast as they can in heels.
Gibson noted many of these comedians have followings from various outlets, whether from time on “Last Comic Standing,” appearing on Comedy Central or from touring the Southeast area regularly.
“I’m pretty sure everyone’s going to be on their game,” he said. “We’ve got some top dogs performing, so it’s going to be really funny.”
Since collaborating last January, Tapp’s Arts Center and Soda City Stand Up have produced a comedy show the third Thursday of every month. But Gibson wanted to make sure this show was extra special, so the collaboration is encouraging the audience to get in on the fun.
“If you show up in drag you get 2 bucks off the admission price,” said Gibson. “It’s a way to get the audience involved.”
If this show is successful, Gibson said the plan is to continue it at different venues and even in different cities with other comedians.
This just might be the start of something pretty. Pretty funny.
Dwaun Sellers, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Comedy Is a Drag’
WHERE: Tapp’s Arts Center, 1644 Main St.
WHEN: 8-10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21
WHO: Featured performers include Jenn Snyder, Joe Coughlin, Justin Thompson, Wayne Cousins, Jordan Huggins and Adam Cook. Hosted by John Gibson.
PRICE: $7 in advance, $10 day of show. (Show up in drag and get $2 off day-of admission price).
INFO: (803) 988-0013, www.sodacitystandup.com