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Comedy Night moves to 149

For Rick Ault, the addition of a comedy show to 149 North’s event list every Tuesday is like an unexpected homecoming.

The event, formerly known as Comedy Night, moved from Grumpy Dave’s Pub to 149 in January.

Ault, owner of both 149 and Kamikaze’s, had first hosted the comedy show at Kamikaze’s more than 10 years ago when local comedian Steve Sabo and his company, Inside Joke Productions, were looking for a venue to showcase local talent in Bowling Green rather than the Toledo area.

After eight to 10 weeks, the show outgrew the venue and moved to Grumpy Dave’s above Easystreet Cafe, where up until this semester the show remained, mixing local talent with comics who had appeared on HBO and Comedy Central specials, Sabo said.

“I was surprised it came back,” Ault said, noting the small space of Kamikaze’s as a struggle for the show, and led to its departure. “I loved the comedy and I never wanted it to leave.”

After more than 10 years at Grumpy Dave’s, Inside Joke Productions found itself in a similar struggle due to space, attendance and money issues.

“People would say they had no idea Comedy Night was even here,” Sabo said. “[Grumpy Dave’s] is not on the strip where most of the bar activity is and, being upstairs, people didn’t even know it existed.”

Without the public’s knowledge of the event or its location, Sabo lost money needed to pay the comics, especially the nationally-known acts.

Having dealt with comedians for 23 years, Sabo knew he had to pay the acts well enough to compete with, or beat, venues like the Funny Bone, leading to his decision to move to 149 after discussions with Ault.

“Rick wanted it back,” Sabo said.

The event at 149 goes by the name of Laughs and Draughts and consists of an MC, one to two feature acts and a headliner. The show starts at 9 p.m., charging $4 for students and $5 for everyone else.

One of the sponsors of the show, Ink Mafia, a tattoo parlor on Main Street also known as On The Edge, became the main sponsor after the move.

Rumors circulated that Ink Mafia pulled its support from Grumpy Dave’s after the pub hosted its competition during the Zombie Walk in October of 2012, but owner Tobe Drew denied it.

“It didn’t bother me that much, it just would have been nice to know about,” Drew said.

Drew increased his sponsorship of Laughs and Draughts because he “didn’t want to see it go under” and “wanted to help keep it right here.”

While the show may have changed venues, there are no hard feelings between Grumpy Dave’s and Inside Joke Productions.

“It’s just business,” said Dave Harper, owner of Grumpy Dave’s. “We talked with them all semester, but they wanted a different room.”

In order to compensate for the show’s move, the pub now hosts trivia nights on Tuesdays, Harper said.

It was easy for 149 to accommodate Laughs and Draughts as it did not replace any other special, Ault said.

“Anything that happens early generates more business and make students want to come,” Ault said, acknowledging the popular time to go to the bars among students is around midnight.

For Sabo, business isn’t the only plus to a comedy event.

“Everyone can connect to comedy,” Sabo said. “People can like rap, but not everyone is going to go see it. You’re never going to hear people say ‘I don’t need to laugh.’”

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