This Saturday, Zing Productions’ Booth Theater will host another Comedy Night. Hosted by Zack Hammond, who was the headliner comedian in the first Comedy Night event in December, the event this month will feature comics Ellen Doyle and Mike Grady.
Hammond, who is based in Wilkes-Barre, said he is looking forward to working with the Booth Theater to continue bringing in comedians for as many planned monthly Comedy Nights as he can in the future.
“There will always be new comics from all over the country,” he said.
Hammond and Doyle recently returned from a tour together that took them to New York, Kentucky, Virginia and Delaware.
Doyle, who was raised in Scranton and currently resides in Los Angeles, said she comes back home as often as she can, and performs annually at the Scranton Fringe Festival. During the winter months, she typically performs throughout the East Coast, where she said people seem to “get” her dark and weird humor and “have a better sense of humor.”
Doyle said she was “always kind of a sarcastic child”.
“I’m pretty sure this has been an ongoing problem for years,” she laughed. However, becoming a comic wasn’t something she pursued right away. When she decided to be a career comic five years ago, she admits it “seemed silly” and she was “a little freaked out,” but it wasn’t a major leap from what she was doing. A dancer for her entire life up to that point, she had been working behind the scenes in reality television. She remembers announcing to her mom that she was going to do stand-up full-time. That’s when her mother reminded her that becoming a comic is what she had told her kindergarten teacher she was going to do when she grew up.
She’s paving that future well, having been featured on stages across the United States, including The World Famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles and the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. She also performed at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
She says a successful night performing comedy is “as long as everybody is having a good time.” Her material is autobiographical, based on things that have happened to her, she said “or horrible thoughts I’ve had and didn’t express at that moment.”
She said her comedy is “very dark” and informs that it is “Rated R.”
“I think sometimes people get confused when they see a woman doing stand-up,” she said. “They think it’s going to be a certain way. I’m charismatic, but the stuff I say could go pretty edgy, I think.”
She markets herself as “This broken adult,” “We have no idea what’s going on,” and “There’s something wrong with this one.”
Hammond said his comedy is also on the dark and cynical side, and the two of them have been able to join their styles together in shows over the few months they’ve known each other.
He said he likes to joke about “subjects that people don’t typically joke about, and make people happy that I did.”
Hammond describes Grady as “very proficient” and “very much an old-school comic,” sharing “joke after joke”, with a presentation that is “well-written and just perfect timing.”
An accomplished stand-up comic, Grady has performed at prestigious New York Clubs such as The Comedy Cellar, Stand-Up New York, and Gotham Comedy Club. He performs anecdotal, clean comedy.
John Brady, founding member of the not-for-profit Zing Productions and Booth Theater, said there was a good turnout for their first Comedy Night last month.
“We’ve come to learn that there’s a taste for this kind of thing,” he said. “We hope to keep doing it in the future.”
He encourages people to come out and experience it.
“I think we all could use a good laugh,” he said, adding that the theater provides a “warm, friendly atmosphere.”