Ever wanted to try your hand at stand-up? One Boston comedy showcase is calling your bluff.
Stand Up Break In, produced by Boston comics and hosts Danielle Andruskiwec and David Thomas, combines seasoned local comics, a headliner and two straight-up first timers — or at least relative rookies — together on-stage at The Riot Theater in Jamaica Plain.
The structure is aimed not only at encouraging tepid newbies to try stand-up in a bona fide comedy club with other comedians, but attracting supportive audiences who root for the underdog, Thomas said.
“At a lot of open mics, you don't have an engaged listening audience,” he said. “There's no substitute in having to do open mics every week, [but] if we can just have [first-time comics] do one show and give them that confidence boost, that’s really what we’re trying to do."
Judging from past participants, Andruskiwec and Thomas may be onto something. Kiritan Scott Stewart, 21, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was a lifelong comedy fan who first toyed with the idea of trying stand-up in his teens. After a friend told him about the show, he was sold on its premise and decided to give it a shot.
Despite feeling “tremendously nervous” before he got on stage, Stewart said he quickly found his rhythm.
“As soon as I started to feel the laughs and got into the bit, I definitely calmed down and felt comfortable,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting [it] to be so welcoming, and after, to have so many people congratulate me and tell me what a good job I did.”
Chris Kaufman, 36, of Somerville, agreed. He had some experience with improv comedy before his premiere at Stand-Up Break In, but was always intimidated by the prospect of performing stand-up by himself. Now he’s a regular at open mics throughout the Boston area and came back to perform at the show in October.
“I’ve never seen a non-supportive audience in that space,” Kaufman said. “Many of the comedians that are there are well-respected in the Boston community, but they’re always clapping and cheering you on. It’s a pretty cool experience.”
Jess Salpietro, 26, Somerville, also an improv performer, shared Kaufman’s fear of performing alone, along with his surprise at how rewarding she found the experience.
“I have plans for 2016 to start doing more open mics and start exploring that part of the comedy scene,” she said. “It definitely sparked some new ideas.”
The show returns to its regular schedule in January following a holiday break: every Thursday night except the last Thursday of the month, starting at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7. Tickets are $5. Interested in dipping your toe in the comedic arts? Email Thomas and Andruskiwec at firstname.lastname@example.org.