Ever since I lived in New Orleans about twenty years ago, I had the feeling that I would love Savannah, Georgia.
In my mind it was going to be like all the good parts of New Orleans without the public drunkenness and abundance of frat boys exchanging beads for boobs. Side note, if you’ve always romanticized the idea of going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, ask yourself this question. Would I like to be stuck in the middle of the world’s largest obnoxious and anarchic frat party? If the answer is no, but you still want to see New Orleans when something else cool is happening, go any other time of the year because something cool is always happening. Go for Halloween or Jazz Fest. Those are both great alternatives. If they idea of being in a giant awful frat party is something you’d enjoy, then what are you doing on my website?
Okay, back to the point. When I saw Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which takes place in Savannah, I thought for sure, “This is it!” Savannah seemed to have all the historic beauty and character that I had imagined it would have.
One of my favorite things about doing comedy on the road is getting to see cool places I’d never get to see otherwise. I saw the Earth burp flaming gas in an oil town in North Dakota. I’ve been to the SPAM Museum in Minnesota twice. I’ve fallen in love with Madison, Wisconsin. And I finally got to go to Savannah, Georgia.
Last year my comedian traveling buddy Jeff Scheen and I rolled into Savannah, up from a handful of gigs in Florida in the late afternoon. We drove around until we found a good place to park near a huge park with tons of weeping willow trees and an enormous fountain. While walking around, we saw kids (young adults) LARPing with their foam weapons. It was awesome. It was like a peaceful New Orleans…and maybe it was because we were so close to the ocean, it was like a less ridiculously hot New Orleans!
That night we went to do our show at the Wormhole. I could tell by the posters in the window that this place was going to be cool. When we walked inside, I felt like I was home. It reminded me of the punk and metal clubs I spent so much time in as a teen and in my twenties both in Detroit and while doing my traveling with Gwar. It had so much character and history. So many great bands I love to this day have played there and were still playing there. The staff was friendly and you could tell they felt the same adoration for the place that I felt.
Jeff and I did two shows. The crowds were small, but a whole lot of fun. They were smart. They were enthusiastic. Yeah, one guy was maybe a little too enthusiastic and never caught on to the idea that it was more of a speech and less of a conversation, but he was good natured and enjoying himself without ruining the show.
Soon afterwards, Amy from the Wormhole texted me to tell me how much the staff enjoyed me as well as everyone who was in the audience that night. She asked when I could come back. I told her I’d return as soon as I could. When I was there, their sound guy and I talked about recording a CD. He’s recorded a lot of the bands that have gone through there and it sounded great.
Earlier this year, Amy, Steve the booker and I set into plan my return and CD taping. I’m recording my next CD over the course of two nights. One night in June, here in the metro Detroit area and then again on July 6th at the Wormhole in Savannah, Georgia…my home away from home.
I had a great time in Chattanooga, Tennessee this past weekend and I love that club.
The Vaudeville Cafe is beautiful and the audiences were smart. But that’s not the main reason I loved the club. At the end of the weekend, the owner, Chris Hampton, came up to pay the performers. The other guy was asking if the shows were fine or if they were too dirty or anything. Chris responded with, “I don’t care about clean or dirty. All I care about is funny.” I think a choir of angels sing every time a comedian hears a club owner say those words.
There is another place for comedy in Chattanooga. I don’t know anything about that place first hand, but from what I hear, it caters more to the more redneck kind of crowd. Not judging. That’s just their clientele. When the Vaudeville Cafe isn’t hosting live stand up, they’re home to amazing dinner theatre and murder mysteries. Their customers are more cultured or worldly. That’s what Chris wants from his comedians…..funny and smart.
I’m writing this for two reasons. The first, because after a rough couple nights of comedy where I wasn’t a good match, I was so grateful to be some place where the people “got it” and this is my way of saying thank you. Secondly, because I hope someone googles “Chattanooga” and “comedy” and stumbles across this. In my opinion the Vaudeville Cafe is the only smart choice for comedy in Chattanooga. I hope it continues for a long, long time because I can’t wait to go back!