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Last night at the Petworth Citizen Reading Room was a night of good laughs with 13 different comics trying their best to get people to laugh at and with them. They’re pretty successful at it, as the little Reading Room got quite packed and people were turned away, I think. In fact, Petworth Citizen plans on making this a regular Sunday night event starting March 22nd. This was the 2nd Comedy Night for the Reading Room, MC’d by local comic Chris Brandt. Chris is the opening act and runs the comedy show, but this isn’t his full time gig (even if he’d like it to be). When he isn’t doing stand up, he works at American University’s School of International Service, as well as Qualia Coffee.

The Comedy Night features DC comics aspiring to make this their full-time job (well, at least most of them claimed that during their sets). Interestingly, many of the comics are writers and journalists (what is it about writing that makes people so weird?).

First act up was Chris Brandt’s, and he was funny, with some political jokes and NYC travel jokes. (BTW, Romney jokes are still funny, and Vanilla Ice, in jokes and real life, is also funny.)

After Chris was Natalie McGill, who said this was her first time in Petworth. Natalie seemed one of the most comfortable comics talking to the crowd and gives the air of experience (even as she admitted to working in journalism). Her humor was part self-deprecating, part cultural. Erin Gillman also also seemed pretty comfortable in front of the audience and had some good jokes about yoga and pot. Tim Middleton joked about being young-looking (he did look young… or I might be just getting old…). Wayne Manigo, who runs the local Washington Writer’s Group, had some funny jokes about antagonizing those people with clipboards on the street who try to get you to donate to their cause.

Ross Benoit joked about being back on the single’s scene (and about being an Applebee’s waiter, poor guy).

Kasha Patel (a science writer) had a great deadpan routine. Kasha’s parents immigrated from India and moved to West Virginia, so she joked about being 1 of 2 Indians in school in her town (until her brother graduated, that is). In trying to understand why her family moved to West Virginia, Kasha traveled to India to visit her father’s small village. She found the villagers just got a western-style toilet for the first time and weren’t allowed to marry each other because they’re all related. Then she realized that her father is from the West Virginia of India. It was a good bit, and her low-key style worked really well.

Talib Babb was a young guy who shows some real spark. He got off to a bit of a wonky start when his phone messed with the PA system, and I think it threw him off a bit. His first joke had the audience laughing pretty quickly.

Jared Rockwell had some great jokes about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Why the masks? They’re giant, talking turtles. Who are they hiding from?”

Pete Musto was the shortest and the loudest comic (I can relate), and as a teacher, most of his jokes revolved around kids.

Jelani Wills (who runs a weekly show at the Stetson on U St I believe) joked about gentrification and that “Asian food tastes better when it isn’t cooked behind bullet-proof glass.”

Chris Blackwell (who performs at Chief Ike’s in Adams Morgan) told very DC-centric jokes (“only in DC could jokes about GS-11s and GS-13s be funny”).

The last comic of the night was Dee Achmed, who’s cultural jokes referenced his Somali background and fitting in to popular culture.

All in all it was a fun night watching some aspiring comics practice on Petworthians.

Definitely try to make it out for the next show on the 22nd! from Petworth News http://on.fb.me/1BVZwus

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.



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