Pandemic Notwithstanding, Comic Bets Pittsburgh Is Ready For Indoor Stand-Up Comedy
It’s now been a year since most of us have seen a live performance of any kind in person. But Derek Minto is betting that Pittsburghers – at least 80 of them – are ready for stand-up comedy, indoors.
Live Stand-Up Comedy with Derek Minto and guests: 8 p.m. Fri., March 26. Kingfly Spirits, 2613 Smallman St., Strip District
Minto and Mark Willson have organized a live comedy show Fri., March 26, at Willson’s distillery and restaurant, Kingfly Spirits. The show will seat up to 80 at distanced tables on the Strip District venue’s airy, 5,000-square-foot second floor, with patrons required to mask when not eating or drinking.
Kingfly is one of a handful of local venues that’s been hosting low-key live music in recent months.
“We knew that [in] that particular venue … we could space everyone out safely no matter what conditions were going on, and provide just like a good show,” said Minto, a veteran performer and promoter.
The evening will be a local milestone of sorts. When the coronavirus pandemic began, a year ago this month, most theaters and concert halls shut their doors, and most performances, whether live or taped, migrated online. There has been some comedy for in-person audiences, for instance via drive-in concerts and Arcade Comedy Theater’s outdoor shows Downtown, last summer and fall.
Friday’s show will test whether the hope promised by vaccines, plus the venue’s own safety precautions, will be enough to overcome – for some patrons – concerns about catching or spreading COVID-19.
The line-up features as headliner the long-time Pittsburgh-based comic Terry Jones (whose credits include TV’s “Stand Up & Deliver”) along with Amanda Averell, Joey Welsh, and Marcus Cox. Minto, who hosts, said since the pandemic hit, most Pittsburgh comics have been limited to a handful of live gigs out of town, if that.
“Without a doubt, the comics are probably more excited to do this show than the audience will be,” said Minto. “People have been chomping at the bit for like a year to get in front of an audience.”
However, despite the times, don’t necessarily expect a lot of pandemic jokes, said Minto.
“Honestly, people don’t want to hear about it!” said Minto, who added that over the past year he’s performed live in venues in Detroit and West Virginia’s Oglebay Resort. “It’s been so ever-present and overbearing for the past year, they want to laugh about other stuff.”