Lack of funding ends weekly comedy night

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John Hawley was making jokes about how women treat their pets like children

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After not receiving enough community or financial support, professional comedy night has left the stage at One 49 North.

The comedy night, hosted by Inside Joke Productions, moved to One49 North this January from Grumpy Dave’s Pub, its home of 20 years.

Comedy night featured professional comedians who were featured on HBO, Comedy Central and the “Bob and Tom Show,” said Steve Sabo of Inside Joke productions who ran the show.

The event lasted at One49 until May before Sabo decided to pull it from the city completely.

“One49 may not have been the right venue,” Sabo said. “It’s not known for comedy and people who came in on Tuesdays for drink specials didn’t want to pay a cover charge to get in.”

The show cost $4 for students and $5 for everyone else.

Sabo said it cost roughly $1,500 a month for comedy night, which was hosted every Tuesday. Sponsors would cover half the cost or $750, leaving ticket sales to cover the rest, Sabo said.

“Some weeks you’d have 100 people show up, some weeks you’d have 12 people show up,” Sabo said.

On average, Sabo would be left with a gap of $400 a month, which he would have to pay out of pocket to finance the show and comedians.

Support also dwindled from sponsors, Sabo said.

Tobe Drew, owner of Ink Mafia, was one of the main sponsors of the event.

“Other local businesses weren’t helping out as they used to,” Drew said, adding that it started with 15 sponsors and ended with three or four.

Though he misses it, he hopes to bring some sort of comedy back to the city, such as a show once a month instead of every week, he said.

Liz Robertson, director of Bad Genetics, a student improv group, said comedy night was a way to show people different forms of comedy.

“I liked the opportunity it provided with people in town because there are not venues on campus,” Robertson said.

While professional comedy left one venue, it returned to another.

Grumpy Dave’s brought back professional comedy night last week “because the people wanted it back,” said owner Dave Harper.

Comedy night starts at 9 p.m. with three to five local acts with five-minute sets to warm up the professional act, who performs for roughly 30 minutes, Harper said.

There is a $2 cover charge before 10:30 p.m, then it’s open mic night, Harper said.

Robertson said she will do stand up at Grumpy Dave’s to try out new material and keep comedy alive in the city.

Her style of comedy is story-based with social commentary, she said.

“I’m a big believer in comedy with a purpose,” Roberston said.

Bad Genetics will also perform at One 49 on Jan. 23, which is how owner Rick Ault said he is trying to keep comedy alive at his bar.

Ault originally hosted comedy night at Kamikazi’s [now Shots Inc.] when it first debuted in the city in 1992.

“I really enjoyed [comedy night] and I would allow it back,” Ault said. “People realy appreciated comedy too.”

Though professional comedy is no longer in the city, Sabo performs in the area in Oregon, Fremont and Beaverdam, Ohio.

While he is no longer involved in Bowling Green Comedy, Sabo still has fond memories.

“I enjoyed being there and supporting up-and-coming comics. I’ll miss that camaraderie,” he said. “It’s just disappointing that in a college town, we couldn’t get enough people to support that art form.”