Come laugh . . . or not, at Hokie House

October 19th, 2005
David Covucci
Wednesday is not your typical downtown night. Lost in the mix of Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night partying, hump day is a much quieter night on Main Street. It’s this day, however, that the Hokie House has its Comedy Club, a weekly event. This gives the bar a much different atmosphere. The crowds are smaller and more sedate. There isn’t much carousing when there’s class in the morning, which isn’t necessarily the best atmosphere to take in comedy. But there’s still a sizable crowd of regulars, about 50 in all who have all paid a $4 cover and are ready for the evening.

The bar has been rearranged, the second floor pool tables have been pushed back to ring a makeshift stage for the 9 p.m. show. It’s half an hour after that, though, when the first person steps on stage. ______ is a heavyset man with a black goatee who will emcee for the evening. In a stretched out white tee shirt and black cotton shorts, his first impression isn’t one of professionalism. It is his eighth year of hosting the comedy show, which prior to that had been at Attitudes on Prices Fork. His routine begins with a 10-minute rant about having to deal with his mother. The crowd seems under-whelmed and the hecklers in the crowd draw bigger laughs. _____ responds by throwing them out, despite them being the funniest part of his routine. His routine gets increasingly vulgar, decreasingly funny and exceedingly long, going over 30 minutes, well past the limits of a host. Eventually he introduces the first comedian of the evening.

_______, a student at Hollins College, does a brief set. She quit her job as a professional comedian to go back to school. Her set draws more laughs than Miller’s, but mostly because she makes pot jokes, easy fodder in a college town. Her routine, though, sets the stage for the funniest man of the evening, Johnny Cook.

Cook, a stout, shy man from Richmond Va., begins the night by joking about heckling Special Olympics kids and hiding razor blades in Halloween candy. He has the crowd in laughs his entire set, relating well to our age group by mocking instant messaging acronyms and how he drops standards for women while drinking. He summed up college well, saying “It doesn’t get any better than getting totally wasted with your friends.” He seemed to understand the audience well.

“I’m old enough to be a parent, but college audiences are the still best,” Cook said. “They are certainly my favorite to perform in front of.”

This was his first time at Hokie House, saying he was doing a favor for (the host).

“I’m a real team player. But all that really means is that I can’t dunk.”

The headliner, __________, all the way from Los Angeles, opened the night on the wrong foot, mocking the audience for not getting into U.Va. It didn’t go over well.

“I thought it was pretty weak to start with a cheap shot,” said senior geography major Jacob Edwards. “It just wasn’t funny; it was digging for a reaction, and really turned me off for the rest of the show.”

________’s routine was a mix of more potshots and digs for laughs and didn’t quite compare to the humor of Cook, who was much more appreciated by the crowd.

“Cook really should have headlined,” said sophomore ocean engineering Charlie Dickinson. “His humor was so much better than ______. Cook had me laughing his entire set, and _______ barely got laughs from me or my friends. But it still beats a night spent studying.”

The evening ends with _____ and the bar empties, more entertained than having spent a normal night at home doing work, but probably not by much.