Alright everyone– Stella’s got her groove back. As promised, here is this week’s posting featuring the usual suspects: new activity, local business, and upcoming event. Feels good returning to normalcy, or some version of it at least (my previous blog post provides some, albeit limited, context).
Now, show of hands…who likes a good laugh? Exactly– every single person in blogosphere has either virtually or actually (that would just be fantastic) raised their hands. If you’re a DC/MD/VA resident, I come bearing gifts in the form of a comedy show recommendation. If you haven’t checked out the group LYGO DC yet, I sincerely hope that by the end of this post, you’re looking at their event calendar. If you’re leaning towards going but need a comedy buddy, I’ll accompany you to a show.True story. Ladies and gents, this week on District Dare, I went to a LYGO DC comedy show with a set of comics whom I hadn’t seen yet, at a venue that I’d never been to before- and it was awesome.
The show was conveniently hosted at The Codmother (U street between 13th and 14th streets NW), where LYGO DC hosts shows every Wednesday. The Codmother is an amicable basement UK-inspired pub with a down-to-earth vibe and specials too good to pass up, among those specials being a basket of fish and chips done the right way, even down to a little cup of mashy peas on the side (NOT guacamole, as I discovered– that nice little palate surprise cleared up a lot of confusion as to why they’d serve guac with UK fare). The people who work there are super friendly, and the decor is unique from anything else you’d find on U street.
Before I get into the details, first I’ll address the question you’ve all been asking—what in the name of mashy peas does “LYGO” stand for? LYGO DC stands for “Laugh Your Grits Off,” a name that goes directly back to their origin—the group started off as started off as a weekend brunch and comedy show, and took off from there. If there’s two things we can all appreciate in this crazy world, I think it’s humor and good brunch food (especially DC-ers). Are you as in love with their roots as I am? Yep.
This week’s show was hosted by Haywood Turnipseed Jr, a man with a laugh so contagious, deep, and resonant that it makes you want to practice your own laugh just to get it down. Haywood was a great host– really funny, warm, and engaged the crowd through and through–which, I might add, is a real strength of LYGO –all of their comics achieve a rapport with the audience, and ensure that show’s guests are an integral part of how the routines come to life. Which absolutely makes a difference as an audience member– being at a show where you feel like the comedian is interacting with your laughter, surprising you, catching you off guard, and maneuvering some hilarious acts based off their ability to adapt and perform, versus asserting a rock-solid division between stage and audience. The show featured Natalie McGill, Gabe Canaan-Zucker, Richard Bennett, and headliner Sean Savoy. I immensely enjoyed the comics, and it was refreshing to be at a show where each person has more than five minutes to perform– there’s nothing worse than seeing someone take a little time to warm up, maybe make a few stumbles but hey—big props for even being up there—and then BAM—their light flashes and it’s time to move onto the next guy or gal—it feels almost like speed dating, in a horribly awkward way. LYGO makes a point to allow each comic a nice amount of time– and from an audience point of view, that’s the way to do it.
There might not really be any written way to convey the true essence of Wednesday’s humor, so I’ll recap it like this: My Wednesday evening went from being a typical, more-or-less satisfactory, “no-complaints-here” type night to being so.much.fun, thanks to Natalie’s assessment of bar trivia team names, Gabe’s hilarious and all-too-accurate description of men & women and the way breakup can take you for a loop, Rich’s description of the unexpected drawbacks of standing at 5’19” tall, and Sean’s brilliant ability to use his wide range of physical gestures and vocal inflections (including musical) to place the audience directly into his instantly-relatable comedic anecdotes. If you’re someone who enjoys comedy or trying new things out in DC—and you’re also someone who wouldn’t be particularly easily offended by the occasional joke that takes you off guard (that part’s important)—then, in my humble opinion, you will not be disappointed with LYGO DC. The comics are sincere, hilarious, and the real deal.
After the show, I got to sit down and chat with one of LYGO’s cofounders, Richard Bennett who, yes, your short-term memory (or scroll bar) serves you correctly, also performed in the show. It was great to hear more from him about the group that’s been bringing laughs to DC since May of 2012. Rich talked to me about how far the group has come and the exciting places it’s going. Via LYGO’s website for concision sake, below are several of the group’s accomplishments since having started one year ago:
- Featured over 90 local, regional, national, and international comedians;
- Been featured in nearly a dozen local and regional publications and media outlets;
- Partnered with and donated hundreds of dollars to several local charities, including OneBrick DC and N Street Village;
- Driven over $10,000 in revenue for over a half-dozen local businesses;
- Entertained thousands of DMV brunch- and evening show goers thanks to the incredible comedic talent the DMV has to offer.
LYGO has an admirable commitment to three things that a good comedy show can’t live without: its comics, the community, and its audience. Because of the way that it’s engaged with the greater DC/MD/VA community, it has managed to attract a following that’s comprised of people from every inch of the spectrum on all levels– age, walks of life, demographics, interests- there’s no silo or overly niched box to it– if you’re into comedy and into community, they have a wonderful show for you.
Rich told me that by June 18, LYGO will be hosting four events per week. Also, must-go-event alert, folks: starting June 15, LYGO is bringing back their Saturday brunch show at Shaw’s tavern. So, you’ll know where to find me on Saturday mornings this summer—basking in eggs benedict and bacon and comedy—In between training for my 5k in the fall—yes I do insist on having it all!
In addition to their weekly shows on Wednesdays at Codmother, they also host shows every Sunday at Desperados, another great place to check out on U Street. This Sunday, May 26th, the show will be hosted by Max Rosenblum, a VERY funny guy, who also happens to be a fellow UC Davis Alum. I’ve been to Max’s shows before, and the crowd is always pleased—scout’s honor. Andddd this Sunday we don’t have work on Monday so heyyyoo—do I hear an upcoming event to go to? If you head out to Desperados this Sunday or any Sunday in the future, do your tastebuds a favor and try out their “Frickles,” or fried pickles—they are delicious. And sliced thinly, just like potato chips. Only ten times better. If you’re interested in more info on Max’s show this weekend, the link for registration is here.
The thing that I love about comedy is how it allows–and encourages–everyone to sit back, relax, and take a chuckle (or sixty) at things that we can all relate to: social media. city traffic. elevators. musicals. relationships. breakups.grocery shopping. family. hires, fires, promotions. It’s a nice breath of fresh air, and quite frankly a total relief to be able to let loose and laugh about things that, caught up in the swirl of everyday activity, can become taken way too seriously. Which isn’t to say that many of these matters do have a time for gravity. It’s just nice to be able to have the opportunity to share a laugh with your neighbor, and embrace the fact that at the end of the day, we might not have much control over what happens in day-to-day life sometimes, but if you can laugh about it, that’s a win right there. My grandmother on my dad’s side used to say, “it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a couple people there with you to giggle with.” I couldn’t agree more. Life has its ups, its downs, its ins, its outs, its long days, its tight deadlines, you name it…but as long as you carve out a little time to giggle with good company, I’d say, you’re all set. Whether it’s a comedy show, a favorite TV show, a cousin you call on the phone for laughs, a website with ridiculous memes, or a book you’re reading, my wish for you all is that you’ve found something you can depend on to make you laugh.
Now, technically I’ve covered a new event, a local group, and two local businesses, all wrapped into one. But no way am I going to skimp on my precious readers and leave it at that– We’ve got a routine to adhere to!
In terms of a local business/group/entity, to cheers summer and all the outdoor activities that lie ahead, this week’s spotlight is going to be on a city-sponsored weekly occurrence: NoMa Summer Screen , a free, 13-week outdoor film series every Wednesday at the Loree Grand Field (Second and L Streets, NE). The theme of this summer’s series is “Outlaw Heroes,” and I’m actually REALLY excited about the movie lineup. Among the movies slated to show are: Star Trek, The Princess Bride, The Italian Job, Breakfast Club, Hunger Games, Bridesmaids, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off– there’s something in there for everyone. Also, there will be food trucks and DJs. I’m sold.
As for an upcoming event, for Sunday we’ve got the LYGO DC show hosted by Max Rosenblum. For all my fellow baseball fans out there, the Nationals are playing at Nats Stadium all weekend long. Looking to get into true Memorial Day Spirit? The National Memorial Day Parade starts at 2pm on Monday, 5/27.
Speaking of things to do this weekend, I wanted to share a few ways we can all help out with the Oklahoma Tornado Relief, no matter where you are in the world. The damage the tornado caused is devastating, and my thoughts and prayers are with the people who were affected. Even if we can’t be on-site to volunteer, there are tons of ways to do our share via established relief funds, from your office, living room, coffee shop, or kitchen table– literally anywhere in the world. (Thank you, internet) We’re all in this together. Below are several links I’ve collected throughout the course of this week that outline ways to get involved from your computer, tablet, or phone:
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I like to look at that quote not just from a “social justice-overarching movement-changing-the-world” angle, but also when there’s an opportunity to make a positive impact somewhere– I think it’s SO important to never underestimate the impact of our collective contribution towards a positive shift.
With that, I’m wishing you all an amazing, safe, wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! See you soon!