“This better be funny.”
That’s what they told Aristophanes in 435 BC before he went on stage in ancient Greece. Today is pretty much the same feeling. Humans still love to see live comedy.
Joe Bublewicz, Hamilton resident and stand-up comedian, is familiar with the phenomenon. A 20-year veteran of the national comedy circuit, his creative humor and sardonic style of comedy has made him a favorite at all the major comedy chain venues.
Bublewicz sat down with the Hamilton Post’s Thomas Kelly. A transcript follows:
Hamilton Post: You perform comedy shows all over the country, including in your hometown of Hamilton. Would you say comedy is popular in Hamilton and has an audience?
Joe Bublewicz: Yes, very much. People need and love to laugh, even more so in light of COVID. I have been performing for more than 20 years, and for the last five years I have been producing shows. I work with the venues and book the comedians who will appear. I like the producing end also as I do not have to travel as much.
HP: Where do you perform here?
JB: We have booked shows and performed at a few venues in Hamilton. We have done shows at Cedar Gardens, The Stone Terrace and Villa Mannino. We even did a show in the Pavilion at Rats Restaurant at the Grounds For Sculpture. We have performed about 15-20 shows in Hamilton in the past five years.
Since March, everything got cancelled. The one saving grace, I was booking/producing shows at the Surflight Theater in Beach Haven, LBI. We did some summer shows outside underneath the tent and then decided to do shows in the fall and were hugely successful. My comic friends who I was able to book were extremely grateful. The shows were great.
HP: You also arrange and emcee comedy shows in Hamilton. How many comedians will usually be on the bill?
JB: Yes, I always chose the Saturday after Thanksgiving to host the local show; last year’s was at the Stone Terrace. Normally we’ll have three comics. This is always a big night out. I really missed it this year.
HP: Some of the comics joke about the hall and the town. How are they received by the local crowds?
JB: Great, been doing it for over 20 years, and I always try to put the best comics on the venue. You don’t want to put on a bad show. Good news travels fast, bad news travels faster. Most of the comics I book are from the New York City area, but we have had West Coast comedians here when their schedules line up.
HP: How do the comics you book like the crowds in Hamilton?
JB: They love it, the crowds are always ready to go. There is usually an hour or so before the show when people congregate and get in good spirits for the show, so it is a couple of hours out and the crowd is always very responsive.
HP: Which jokes go over well with the crowds here?
JB: I always try to book a few different style performers. If I perform in Hamilton, a lot of my friends will come, which is great. But then I am always super nervous. I would rather be in the middle of Iowa than do a local show because of the nerves. Honestly, the comics are very well received, and the comedy is top notch.
HP: What would you like to see more of in Hamilton as a performer?
JB: I don’t know if a full time comedy club would work here. I mean a club where there is comedy every weekend with a good size audience would be a lot of support. We get 200 in the Stone Terrace, but that’s once or twice a year.
It seems a lot of the people in Hamilton, go out to dinner, then have a drink and then go home. Right now, a lot of city people are moving into the suburbs, and I am sure they still would like to have city life. So we need some “City Life in the Suburbs” venues. I would like to see a place where bands can perform their own material, like comics. Cover bands are great, but I like to see the creative process at work. I know Trenton Social has open mic nights, original performers and jazz nights. I would like to see something like that here in Hamilton. I would especially like to see some jazz here.
HP: What would help support more comedy in Hamilton?
JB: A vaccine.
HP: What would you love to see in the future regarding comedy here?
JB: Whoever does it, book good shows. The worst thing you can do is book a crappy show. There are a lot of comics who aren’t ready, and producers put them on the show to save a couple of dollars. That’s a bad long-term investment. That will not keep them coming back.
For more on Joe Bublewicz, go online to joebub.com.