Cleveland Comedy Open features local comedians

Sunayana Jampanaboyana, Staff Reporter

The Cleveland Comedy Open (CCO) featured a wide variety of jokes including a super-roach, a barely sane father and an unsuccessful athlete with far too many participation trophies.

On Jan. 14, the festival featured 12 distinct comedians on the local Cleveland stand-up comedy scene in the first preliminary round of the first of four series this year, with the top four moving onto the finals. There will be two more preliminary rounds in this series before 12 finalists compete for a $500 prize and a performing spot at the annual Cleveland Comedy Awards.

This complementary show was hosted in Pickwick & Frolic, showcasing humor ranging from the plight of a poor college student and the modern dating environment, to distaste in current political figures and intentional adult humor, all in a very personal setting. There was also an apparent range in experience, with up-and-coming comedians alongside moderately more experienced individuals.

Walking into Pickwick & Frolic, there is a highly relaxed energy enhanced by subtle lighting that is experienced best surrounded by others in a shared liveliness.

Founded by Nick Kostis, the multi-entertainment complex Pickwick & Frolic is located in downtown Cleveland on E. 4th Street and boasts not only a theater and cabaret room but also a comedy club, restaurants and bars. The complex stands on the site of what was once The Euclid Avenue Opera House, built in the late 1800s, continuing the tradition of entertainment through today.

Pickwick & Frolic is notably home to Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, “one of the largest comedy venues in the country.”

“We love the concept that comics can ‘work their way up’ from the Martini Bar to the Cabaret and then, for the best of the best, the main room” said CCO organizer Brent Gambrel. “Comedians are always happy to perform anywhere in Hilarities. Always.”

For anyone interested in a more personal standup experience, with a decided focus on local comedians, the next preliminary round will take place on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.  At the forefront of comedy in Cleveland, Pickwick & Frolic also hosts other comedians in shows regularly with more information available online.