Yes, we have no comedy club in Albuquerque and comedian Sarah Kennedy is not going to take it lying down. Instead, she's doing a podcast aimed at the sad fact that our city is a treeless plain when it comes to stand-up entertainment. We asked her exactly what she is trying to accomplish with Comedy Ghost Town.
The Paper.: You say you want Albuquerque to have a comedy club. Is there someone (or somewhere) in particular you are aiming to hook with this podcast?
Kennedy: The short, jokey answer I often tell people is that I'm hoping to catch the attention of a comedy fan with money who's lookin' for a unique business opportunity. The truth is that the aim of the podcast is to raise awareness that stand-up comedy is an important part of a town's framework. It is the most direct way to have the culture of a community reflected back to itself and that should be celebrated and supported. Every major city in America has a home for this type of performance and I think Albuquerque is overdue for its own...
Are there long-gone clubs from Albuquerque that you’ve performed in and miss? Or don’t miss?
If you ask anyone what they know about stand-up comedy in Albuquerque, you'll get a lot of people who mention Laffs Comedy Club -- in fact, there are people who think it's still open, even though it closed over a decade ago, in 2009! I started comedy after Laffs closed and it's always shocked me that we haven't been able to open and sustain a space since then. We have great comics who have gone on to do wonderful things elsewhere like Sammy Mowrey and Mikey Mayes but I think we'd have an even better "graduation rate" if we had a space where the current and next comics could hone their skills more consistently. In 2016, we had a comedian-owned space called Open Source Comedy that brought in fantastic talent like Baron Vaughn (MST3k) and Sam Tallent (Comedy Central, Running The Light,). I was lucky enough to get to perform in Open Source and I really thought it was a cool spot...
The legislature is in session. Why do New Mexico audiences need comedy right now?
When comedy is good, it takes big, looming, sometimes scary societal issues and explains them clearly, inviting us to look at them uniquely so we can laugh at them. The legislature takes big, looming, and sometimes scary societal issues and tries to change them in some way, hopefully for the better...At its most ideal, comedy makes people better citizens. In less lofty ways, at least we can blow off some steam at comedy shows sharing a good laugh with our neighbors and that's just as powerful, frankly.
When you go out at night, which venues do you haunt?
I'm a diehard Downtown dweller. I love Sister, Red Door, Safe House Distilling and InsideOut (in the summer). Lately, I've loved going to the new Canvas Artistry location on 1st. If I leave Downtown for comedy the best bet is always Wednesdays at Uptown Funk inside of Revel Entertainment. Killer shows there!
Who are your next guests?
We have an upcoming episode about the strict liquor laws in New Mexico and how that impacts our nightlife and by extension comedy, for that episode, in addition to hearing from Sam Tallent and local performers. I also talked with Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas so he'll be featured. We discussed the legislation that was passed last year that made some major changes to our liquor laws for the first time in 20 years and it was a really cool conversation. Also there's an episode featuring Robert "Buck D" Gipson, a local comedian, radio personality and podcaster about the ways our small scene gets in its own way and he does not hold back!
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