Two Buck Yuks: Keith Bergman launches new stand-up comedy seriesWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three years ago, Keith Bergman performed stand-up during an open mic at The Ground Level, a coffee shop formerly on Central Avenue.
“I almost walked out. I was almost too nervous to get up,” he said. “When I did go up, I felt so good about it, I just kept going back.”
Bergman’s set was mostly puns and one-liners and was in front of “maybe 10 to 15 people.”
“I didn’t dive into anything that was more personal or really all that interesting,” he said.
Bergman had performed stand-up before, but for years he explored other hobbies like theater and music. He thought if he’d ever want to do comedy again, he’d go to The Ground Level, since it was right by his house.
“It was a great open mic. I wish that place was still there,” he said.
The audience’s response motivated him to go back the next week.
“I got a much better reaction than I had any right to,” Bergman said. “What seems to happen to a lot of people, and other people have confirmed this to me since, is people tend to be very sympathetic. When you get introduced and they say it’s your first time up, they all will give you the benefit of the doubt. They’re very encouraging.”
Bergman said the audience’s support for beginners doesn’t last long.
“For the most part, [for] a lot of people, their first set will go really well. Maybe their second set. And then it starts to sink in that they have a long way to go,” Bergman said. “It sort of sank in after a few different tries that it was going to be a really long process. I walked out there the first night thinking I was well on my way to being a real comedian. Three years later I realize I’m still not there yet.”
Bergman said he has bombed a few shows.
“It happens enough to keep you from getting too full of yourself,” Bergman said. “Usually you have no control over what kind of crowd is going to be there. I’ve ended up at shows where everyone there are retired or senior citizens. A lot of the jokes I have, they’re just not interested in what I have to say.”
Bad shows keeps Bergman grounded.
“There’s nothing glamorous about this at all,” he said. “There’s a ton of rejection in comedy. There are people I have been sending emails to for eight months who have never replied. It’s almost like you’re stalking them at some point.”
Bergman has never been booed off stage but said he may prefer it to no reaction at all.
“To get disinterest is almost the worst thing,” Bergman said. “Because then they hear you, they’re listening, they just don’t care what you’re saying.”
Two Buck Yuks
Bergman hopes to keep comedy lovers interested with his new showcase Two Buck Yuks. Comedians will perform stand-up at 8 p.m. every Wednesday, beginning Sept. 4. The shows will be 90 minutes and will take place in The Blarney Event Center in Downtown Toledo. There will be a $2 cover for the shows, which are open to anyone ages 21 and older.
“A lot of people don’t realize there’s a really growing comedy scene in this area and in some of the surrounding cities,” Bergman said.
Two Buck Yuks is already booked until Christmas. Comedians from Illinois and Tennessee are on the schedule already, in addition to ones from Ohio and Michigan.
Bergman used to run a weekly comedy show at Connxtions Comedy Club. Since the venue closed for renovations in the spring, Bergman came up with “Two Buck Yuks” to fill the void.
“I think Downtown needs something like [this]. It’s a good entertainment option,” Bergman said. “Especially midweek, there’s not always stuff to do. It would be nice for people to have another option so they don’t have to drive all the way out to the suburbs.”
Bergman was put in contact with Bill Kline from The Blarney Irish Pub. Kline said it’s the perfect venue because the pub’s event center is a separate room from the bar and dining area.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to host local and regional comedians, to give them a stage and to showcase their talents,” he said in an email. “We were on board from the moment Keith sat down with us and presented his plan, as we understood they had success at their previous venue.”
Bergman said his favorite aspect of comedy is the immediacy. Two Bucks Yuks will be what he loves about comedy and more.
“I think with any creative thing you are doing, it’s nice to see people feel the same way or react the same way,” Bergman said. “I see something [and] I think it’s funny, it’s gratifying to go onstage and have a room full of people also think it’s funny. They see where you’re coming from and they get it.”
The first show will feature a special lineup. Bergman will perform with Stu McCallister from Grand Rapids, Mich., and local comic Mike Szar, two comedians he is making a comedy DVD with. The DVD, “Hashtag Rustbelt,” is expected to be available by Christmas. The three men will tour to promote the DVD, beginning at the show Sept. 4. They will leave directly afterward and drive to Alabama for their next gig.
“It’s been interesting … we’re [doing] a lot of smaller venues, nonconventional comedy venues [and] in places that probably don’t get a lot of comedy,” McCallister said. “It’s a new experience.”
The DVD was filmed in the spring, two weeks before Connxtions Comedy Club closed. It features 10 stand-up acts filmed over two nights. Erik Cribley, D.K. Hamilton, Steve Wherry, Thom Brush, Anthony Martinez, Dustin Meadows and Owen Thomas will also be featured.
- Sept. 4: Bergman, McCallister, Szar, Dwayne Duke, Ryan Dickman and John Cessna.
- Sept. 11: Dustin Meadows, Lindsey Martin, Kamari Stevens, Esther Nevarez, Brad Wenzel, Kyle Tolliver, Anthony Martinez, Wes Ward, TJ Warner and Gad Holland.
- Sept. 18: Steve Sabo, Mary Santora, Yusuf Ali, Anthony Savatt, Samantha Rager, Sean Sullivan, Ed Bartko, Bobby Bayn, Chris Tiefel and Owen Thomas.
- Sept. 25: DK Hamilton, Erin Field, Michael Geeter, Joe Deez, Dan Fraley, Meghan Koesters, Jason Valentini and Szar.
- Oct. 2: Dave Landau, Dan Currie, Pat Sievert, David Wellfare, Robert Jenkins, Bryan Thompson, Jason Carlen, Mark Roebuck, Jake Dickey and Reese Leonard.
- Oct. 9: Zach Martina, Darnell Anderson, Jeremy Rowland, Jeff Horste, Kent Tucker, Robert Kemeny, Cody Cooper, LJ White, Keith Spurlock and Carl Johnson.
Tags: Anthony Martinez, Connxtions Comedy Club, D.K. Hamilton, Dustin Meadows, Erik Cribley, Hashtag Rustbelt, Keith Bergman, Mike Szar, Owen Thomas, Steve Wherry, Stu McCallister, Thom Brush, Two Buck Yuks