Why isn't Baltimore more of a comedy town? Part 1
Why isn't Baltimore more of a comedy town? It's a question I've heard tossed around for years -- but never properly answered. Maybe there is no answer. I'm going to try and find out.
This is the first in a multi-part series which tries to get to the bottom of it, by asking comedy fans (that's you), local comedians and comedy club owners why Baltimore is second-rate comedy town.
In this part, I want to know -- why do you think Baltimore's comedy scene isn't on the map? And do you even care? ...
When I started covering local entertainment five years ago, Baltimore had three dedicated comedy spots: The Improv, which got high profile comics and the Baltimore Comedy Factory and Tracy's at the Bowman, which hosted a mix of local and nationally touring comedians.
The Improv closed several years ago, and was briefly replaced by Rascals before going dark completely. Tracy's morphed into Magooby's Joke House, which was a step up for the basement club -- it got a redesign, a better lineup and improved marketing. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Comedy Factory, a gritty little space above Burke's downtown, has kept chugging along, same as it ever was.
What does Baltimore need to do to attract major talent? If another club like the Improv opened, could it sustain itself? Would you go see comedians there if it brought in mid- to major-level talent?
Or are you content seeing A-listers in arenas and large theaters and going to the DC Improv, Baltimore Comedy Factory and Magooby's for everything else?
(Comedian Larry Lancaster performs at the Comedy Factory. Baltimore Sun archive photo)