“We can focus on producing, using local talent and lots of it.”
Hambone’s Pub owner Jeff Holt and Pittsburgh comedians John Dick Winters and Derek Minto are spearheading the Burning Bridges Comedy Club, an independent club featuring stand-up comedy at the Lawrenceville restaurant in October.
“There’s a really great stand-up community that exists in the city of Pittsburgh. It’s very supportive of one another and there’s lots of places to perform stand-up, but none of those venues particularly foster a sense of community,” Minto said. “Other than, kinda, Hambone’s.”
This club, named after the Burning Bridges Festival, a comedy festival co-founded by Winters, will take over the second room at Hambone’s, already a hub for entertainment like comedy and music. The plan with the club is to offer two comedy shows every Saturday and one show every Sunday, typically priced at $10 on Saturdays and $5 on Sundays. There will also be open mics, already a staple at Hambone’s, on Mondays and Thursdays. While booking local talent will be a focus, the plan for the club is to also bring in national touring comics.
Already lined up for the first month are Sam Tallent, Oct. 6th, Bill Crawford, Oct. 13, and Ben Roy, Oct. 20. Throughout each month on Sundays, a single comic will make return visits for “The Residency.
The hope is that the location’s ample parking and hip, pleasant atmosphere will benefit the upcoming club, according to Winters. “It’s literally the best location,” he said.
Holt has always been great to work with for Winters and Minto, who have both produced comedy at Hambone’s for years
“[Holt] is the best dude to work with,” Winters said. “He’s very supportive and very understanding and he understands the value of letting people use his stage, and in return he gets people in his bar. I think a lot of bars don’t see it that way.”
Burning Bridges Comedy Club is being billed as the “first and only independent stand-up comedy club” in Pittsburgh.
“We don’t have any contractual obligations to bring in any guys who are attempting to do stand-up as a second career, as a fallback, like a Steve-O from ‘Jackass’ or something like that,” Winters said. “These people who are treating stand-up like kind of safety net as opposed to the people who are really interested in being stand-ups.”
Without any corporate ties and subservience to a large-profit motive, the showrunners can focus on bringing in comics who, first and foremost, do great stand-up
“We don’t have to focus on profits,” Minto said. “We can focus on producing, using local talent and lots of it. And making sure we can give everyone something and, hopefully, throughout this process, we build a stronger community.”
Matt Petras is a Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org