Funny Business in Everett: PNW Comedy Scene is Booming with Fresh Talent and New Venue
BY TAYLOR CLARK
A mechanic-themed bar in north Everett is nurturing a booming comedy community, a fish restaurant in Silver lake spawned a show big enough to fill theaters, and the new talent director of one of the longest running comedy contests on earth, is some wacky skater dude from Everett. Full disclosure: the aforementioned wacky skater dude is writing this article.
The Northwest comedy scene is on the verge of an explosion and Everett is at the center of the bomb. I say that humbly as the newly crowned boss of comedy, who also just happens to be from Everett. Cue gavel sound: Everett is the center of comedy now. Court dismissed. (This power is intoxicating)
SICC HISTORY LESSON
The Seattle International Comedy Contest (SICC) is owned and operated by the infamous Jon Fox who also owned “The San Francisco Comedy Contest” and the legendary Comedy Underground in Seattle (now permanently closed after 40+ years).
The former talent director Peter Greyy did a phenomenal job wrangling comics for this contest from 2005-2021.
SICC (now in its 43rd year) has been a massive part of comedy history for decades. Winners have ranged from Mitch Hedberg, who inspired an entire generation of comics and opened for Nirvana, to Preacher Lawson, a runner-up on America’s Got Talent in 2017 and currently one of the biggest comics on earth. The list of comics who have participated is littered with some of the most important comics working today.
Needless to say, SICC is rightfully regarded as “important” in the global comedy landscape, but in the PNW, it’s the center of our universe.
It takes more than a good comedy contest in a neighboring town to make a comedy scene thrive, though. So why is Everett being regarded as the Brooklyn to Seattle’s NYC? (By me and me alone, but buzz has to start somewhere!)
First, it takes good comics and good leadership. Everett has sent some good players to the Seattle comedy super bowl.
He was a finalist in 2015 and now has millions upon millions of views for his Dry Bar Comedy special. Instead of fleeing to NYC or LA with his success like most do, he stayed in Everett and produces his own theater tours, headlines all over the country, and
after the shutdowns, moved his show from Emory’s to The Historic Everett Theatre. Ecstatic crowds and big names like Brad Upton and Aida Rodriguez have been filling the shows up every month.
What else makes this scene so special? Well, no good comedy scene can exist without a good open mic. Quinn Fitzgerald and Adam Tiller have catapulted Tony Vees open mic, and thereby the entire Snohomish County comedy scene, to its highest level to date.
Tony Vees has more the vibe you’d expect at a Hot Rod shop. It has less of the vibe you’d expect as an active hot bed for fresh new talent. But in classic Everett fashion, amazing things happen in these unexpected corners of the 425. Adam and Quinn have wisely used the show to harness their own talents and have quickly become some of the strongest comics in the Northwest.
Our little scene up here is now registering on the international comedy roadmap as a hub for talent, it’s building a reputation for having hot crowds and killer comics. As someone who helped build the Brooklyn comedy scene, performing and producing independent shows there for 10 years, I can point out at least one obvious parallel between our little Everett Comedy scene and the one in Brooklyn: Brooklyn has Manhattan and Everett has Seattle, and Seattle comedy has grown more in the last year than it had in the previous 40.
Two new clubs and a comedy festival have sprung up since the funeral of Comedy Underground, giving a massive comedy makeover to our entire state.
The Tacoma Comedy Club has been a staple down south for years and the owners have opened clubs in multiple states with no signs of slowing down.
Here-after is a new club underneath the Crocodile Lounge in Bell Town. They are bringing in A-grade talent, booking locals, and hosting Indy-comedy nights that further increase the Northwest’s foothold on the national comedy stage.
Club Comedy in Cap-hill is almost always packed out, and building an incredible community. The owner, Rick Taylor, goes above and beyond to nurture new talent. I personally teach a comedy class there and it will host several nights of the contest.
Laughs Comedy Club in the U-district has also grown immensely in the last year and the comics, staff and audiences are as loyal as they come. Angela Dennison and her husband Dave have been nurturing talent and bringing in the world’s most widely respected comics at their club for years and they just keep getting better at it.
The Upper Left Fest is a comedy festival produced by Issac Novak (former SICC contestant). After hosting the first successful year in 2021, he will launch again this May with big names, hilarious acts and tons of local comedy stars.
Tacoma opened Nate Jackson’s Comedy Club over a year ago, which has brought a much needed energy to the scene. Nate is easily one of the best and most accredited comics living in the Northwest and is moving mountains to improve the scene.
Between Nate’s, TCC, three clubs in Seattle, a new SICC talent director, a new comedy fest, and a slew of local headliners choosing to stay in the scene instead of moving to LA or New York, the NW comedy scene may just be able to compete with those of the NYC’s and Chicago’s of the world – and Everett might end up being the Brooklyn to Seattle’s Big Apple after all.
For more information on Seattle International Comedy Competition go to seattlecomedycompetition.org