We all deserve a good laugh and these guys are funny!
FLORENCE, MA - On September 18th of last year, I was sitting in the back parking lot of JJ's Pub in Florence with friends. It had been transformed into an outdoor eating and entertainment area. We were bundled up in heavy clothes, huddling together, l thoroughly masked. We alternated masks down, masks up while we ate burgers. Some people brought blankets and shared them. And, listening to the people on stage made us ROFL!*
The people onstage were comedians. The "stage" was a sidewalk that was two inches higher than the audience. After all, All the World's a Stage, and that includes the pavement! Act after act made us cry with laughter. We were all about to go into Covid Winter. This was the last hurrah for local outdoor entertainment; we were determined to squeeze out every giggle possible!
Other comics were hosting stand-up shows online, which is tough to pull off. The ones I'd watched made me cringe. Live stand-up in the middle of Covid! How refreshing. But who are these crazy people presenting a comedy show in near-freezing weather from a raised sidewalk in a parking lot?
They are Comedy as a Weapon. Its founder, Tim Lovett, explained. "We are just trying to do our best, help each other out, trying to recover. And comedy can be a weapon against sadness, loneliness, hopelessness.
We want to get people comfortable with being around other people again. People love getting out of the house and being a part of our events."
Tim started Comedy as a Weapon in response to the longest-running open mic around at Bishop's Lounge in Northampton. "Comedians and their promoters would go to Bishop's to practice their material. Unfortunately, they never put on any of the local comics in the line-up. So I said, Why don't we do our own shows? Six years later, we're still here.
"I wanted to showcase the "hidden gems" -- people who might not be by famous but hell are they funny!"
Comedy as a Weapon has been performing outdoor shows in Vermont, JJ's in Florence, and at the Turning Leaf event space in downtown Northampton. After shut-down, they also started the Quarantined Call-in Show on Zoom,
"We interviewed people from local influencers to comics to celebrities like Mara Bamford. [Author's note: click here for the video they made of that interview; it's hilarious.].
The Headliner for the June 26th gig is Marlan Ballard. He's worked with comedians and actors, such as Paul Mooney, Ron White, Rodney Perry, Chris Tucker, Affion Crockett, Karlous Miller, Justin Hines, and The Wayans Family. He's currently on the Fresh and Funny Tour with Brandon T. Jackson.
Tim then said, "But here's why this show will be special: Marland Ballard is my COUSIN. My cousin! We only met recently through comedy! We had Marlan as a guest on the Quarantined Call-in Show, and that is when we officially met."
The rest of the line-up includes Adrianne Vivenzio the 2019 Comedy Royal winner, Laura Grant, who is making the transition from radio host to comedian, and Kim DeShields, the professional MC. She's been Tim's "comedy mentor," showing him the ropes.
"I've come a long way. See, there was a time when I couldn't be funny. I was homeless. Yea, I was homeless. I felt hopeless, too. The first few months, I was embarrassed to be homeless, so I would never associate myself with other homeless people. I would not do homeless people things -- that was how I thought at the time -- like go to the churches for free meals, hang out where they hung out at like the Forbes library, or shop where they shop at, like the Salvation Army. But, man, 6 months later, I had a nice rapport with most of them. I knew where and when to get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I would usher the newly homeless in the direction of these free meals. And I found the best backpack I ever had at the Salvation Army! I still have it.
"One day, I just stopped and thought, 'this whole thing is some funny S***.' Humor was getting me through those days and nights. I used my comedy as a weapon to combat all the negative emotions of my situation. It was a rough time, and it changed something in me, made me stronger. And funnier!"
- June 26 @ 7:00 pm
- JJ's Tavern, 99 Main Street, Florence, MA 01062
- 15 buckeroos
- Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-outdoor-comedy-tickets-157315885047
- Headliner: Marlan Ballard
- MC: Kim Shields
- Music by DJ Groove of Good Groove Entertainment
Just for fun, watch this promo of theirs:
Promo for April show at JJ's - Video credit Comedy as a Weapon
See you on the 26th!