The OI Review: Blue Room Comedy Club “Open Mic” Night

Review by Jason Wert

It’s very likely you thought “how can anyone review an open mic night, because by its very nature no two are exactly the same?”

Well, in terms of the comics that will grace the stage, you are correct. However, in terms of atmosphere, the venue, the food, the value for the dollar…those are things that are consistent for the event of an open mic night.

Springfield has a real hidden gem in the Blue Room Comedy Club’s weekly “open mic” nights.

These “open mic” nights take place on Thursdays and on most Sunday nights. In almost all cases, the evening will have a dozen or more local stand-up comedians working out new material in front of others to help them refine their routines.

Springfield is blessed with a large number of high quality stand up comedians. On any given “open mic” night at Blue Room Comedy Club, some of the more outstanding local stand-ups like Caleb Don Smith, Tim Montileone, Anna Fleeman, Katie Still, Harrison Broadstreet, Derek Luna and more. In the variety of the comedians who perform, you will see all kinds of comedy from relatively “clean” comedy to almost X rated comedy. It’s an opportunity to see the gamut of comedic styles available today.

If you attend one of these events, yes, you will likely see a few comedians who aren’t very good because they’re still learning the craft. However, it’s important to keep that in mind going into the event…because it’s usually free. (If you RSVP for a seat in advance, it’s free, it’s $5 if you just show up at the door.)

Comedian Caleb Don Smith performing during an open mic night. (Photo from Caleb Don Smith’s Facebook page)

You, as the audience, get to not only be entertained but you get to be a part of helping those new comedians get their feet under them. It’s a unique feature of the “open mic” experience and something that is unlike almost any other entertainment option in Springfield. You not only get to laugh, but know that your laughs and applause are helping provide vital feedback and encouragement to those making the effort to entertain you.

The venue is a perfect size for comedy shows. The size of the room creates a real intimacy with the performers because no seat is really too far away to interact with the comedian should that be a part of their act. (The club has a rule to not heckle or bother the acts, but some comedians choose to interact with the audience.) There is truly no “bad seat in the house” because every seat gives you a clear view of the performer.

The Blue Room has a real benefit in being connected to Billiards’ pool room in that the outstanding bar fare of Billiards is available to Blue Room guests. The place has some of the best burgers in town and a wide variety of appetizers. You place an order before show and take it with you into the venue. So you can nibble on fried green beans or onion rings or whatever appetizer grabs your fancy while enjoying the show. (There’s no waitress service on “open mic” nights because there’s no cost to get in, thus they can’t pay a waitress.)

Comedian Harrison Broadstreet performing at an open mic night. (Photo from Harrison Broadstreet’s Facebook page)

The Thursday edition of the “open mic” can also have a surprise bonus depending on the club’s weekend headliner. Tonight, for example, the very outstanding Ben Kronberg performed about 15 minutes for the audience as a preview of his weekend sets. (Which, on a separate review, I would recommend as Kronberg’s wit is outstandingly sharp.)

Now, there are a few knocks against Blue Room. Some nights in the winter it can get a little cold in there. It can feel a little awkward getting up and walking out to refresh your drink or food while someone is performing (or to miss someone and leave an empty seat near the front while you’re out during someone’s set.) However, overall these are very minor issues when you look at the positives of Blue Room’s “open mic” nights.

And, on a side note, it would be nice to see more female comics in the “open mic” rundowns, but I know that’s out of the control of the Blue Room and I don’t hold that against them in this review in any way.

Also, while this review does not talk about the nights they host nationally touring headliners, the same general review can apply in terms of the venue, the food and the atmosphere.

The bottom line is that in our day and age when we don’t have a lot in our budgets for “date night” or when we’re working hard and need that release but don’t have deep pockets for movies or shows, the Blue Room Comedy Club is offering Springfield an outstanding entertainment experience for free that almost makes it a community service.

Why?

Because if there’s one thing that everyone in Springfield could use, it’s a night to just go out and remember the fun that can come from people of all kinds coming together for a single positive purpose: to laugh.