‘Water by the Spoonful’ causes tears by the bucketful

Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize winning play “Water by the Spoonful” just wrapped up production here at UW Tacoma. The performance was spectacular.

In particular, junior Lucas Gomez’s interpretation of Elliot Ortiz was captivating. Throughout the play, Elliot fights with his birth mother over past and present familial deaths, all while hiding a dark secret from his service as a Marine in Iraq. You could really feel the visceral anger and hurt in Gomez’s acting.

If you’re not familiar with the “Spoonful,” it can seem confusing due to the two different, yet equally prominent storylines — online chat room conversations and real time occasions with the Ortiz family.  However, by intermission, everything came together seamlessly in an epiphanic moment. The strings that tie the play together create a whole-picture vibe that lends itself to the realness of the story.

Each and every actor pulled you into the show, enough to want to respond to their wondering questions and painful testaments. The Cherry Parkes’ Broadcast Studio Theatre, was the perfect home for this play. The intimate set up better allowed for the actors to bring you into their lives as a member rather than viewer.

“Spoonful” was written to be real, which definitely works in its favor. It’s not soap opera dramatic, nor is it obnoxiously hopeful. It’s real life that each and every person can relate to in one way or another. It leaves you questioning your life, and what others had to go through. It leaves you happily mindless, with your brain doubtlessly replaying some of the most intense moments over again.

One instance of this was during a moving monologue by Writing Studies professor Walt Moore. His portrayal of FOUNTAINHEAD, a crack addict in denial, summarizes his upper class life to the existing chatroom members was astounding — especially when he is immediately shut down for his pompous attitude.

Having a faculty member audition and cast in “Spoonful” was a big step in the right direction for UW Tacoma’s ever-growing and diverse theatre community. Moore’s philosophy on acting alongside students was one future auditionees should follow.

“I feel like I am an equal with everyone else in the performance,” said Moore. “My experience is leaving my faculty label at the door.”

I’m no acting aficionado, but the cast also did a remarkable job at maintaining the reality of this tragic, funny and heartwarming story.  There is a friendliness and familiarity amongst the cast, as well as believable hurt and betrayal that lends itself to the realistic feel of “Spoonful.”

Overall, UW Tacoma’s production of “Water by the Spoonful” was a hit, performed exceptionally well by UW Tacoma affiliates and community actors. I would implore you to attend any coming UW Tacoma productions — you won’t regret it.

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Review: ‘The Neon Demon’ — the ending is a saving grace

While “The Neon Demon” succeeds at stellar cinematography, it lacks in just about everything else.

“The Neon Demon,” a 2016 movie, has graced its presence upon me almost a year after its release. While the aesthetics dazzle, the only way you’ll get through the dialogue is by taking prescription medications.

In all fairness, the camera shots amaze — if you watch as a film critic. As an person watching for entertainment? Blah.

Thankfully, I can at least say I lived a peaceful 20 years before I saw the movie that left me physically angry that I wasted a painful 118 minutes of my life.

From director Nicolas Winding Refn, the movie’s trailer presents “The Neon Demon” as one of the best movies of the year. Unfortunately, the producers took clips out of context to form the trailer in an attempt to mask the main idea behind the film: “let’s see how many edgy camera shots the audience will sit through before running out of the theater screaming.”

To launch her aspiring model career, main character Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, an agent tells her that she’s a star. A large portion of the plot then shifts into other models hating her for her natural beauty that apparently nobody else has. She’s never had plastic surgery or dyed her hair. But the movie stalls — that’s the entire plot.

She then gets sucked into this seemingly drug-induced world of models who become psychotic killers — don’t worry we’ll get to that part. They hate her because she quickly rises to success after little to no work while they have tried to claw their way to a modeling career for years without quite making the cut.

Jesse starts out as a naive yet daring girl but rapidly turns into the vainest character in the film. Jessie always had a creepy vibe to her character. She says, “You know what my mother used to call me? Dangerous. ‘You’re a dangerous girl.’ She was right. I am dangerous.”

All mothers I know groom their children to manipulate and bask in danger — seems realistic.

Maybe this movie tries to say something deeper — like don’t expect a lot from a random movie you find on Amazon. In all seriousness, it makes sense. Jesse constantly says that “beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” When she says “Beauty’s the only thing,” I believe she  references the movie’s lack of plot and decent camera shots.

Am I stretching to find a meaning? Probably. However, you would search for meaning too if you’d just wasted two precious hours of your life.

After some seemingly human encounters with normal people instead of crazed models, you get hopeful that the film will get better. Spoiler — it doesn’t. At one time I shared your naivety and hopefulness for improvement. If we’re completely honest, I sat through this movie so you wouldn’t have to (you’re welcome).

Jesse ends up living with a hairdresser named Ruby, the only person that’s sort of her “friend.” However, she’s not really looking out for Jesse. I wouldn’t want to spoil what interesting encounter leads to this conclusion, but Ruby’s definitely not normal — let’s just leave it at that.

The models get tired of Jesse’s vanity and suddenly they’re running through a creepy old mansion with knives. And … scene!

The ending blatantly tests the audience. I’m pretty sure this horror movie remains in this genre because it could literally bore the audience to death. And by bore I mean it keeps enough attention so you think it’s getting good, and then sorely lets you down time and time again — like that ex that just won’t go away.

The wrap up for this movie contains one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say some cannibalism took place. That’s saying something seeing as I consider myself somewhat of a horror aficionado.

“The Neon Demon” shouldn’t stain Fanning’s career, she’s actually very talented. It’s regrettable that one of her first movies included … well, this.

I understand what Nicolas Winding Refn attempted to do. I really do. Maybe it’s my fault for watching an artsy horror movie. But in all fairness, the trailer definitely draws you in. In actuality, they spent so much time trying to act cool and indie that they forgot to write the plot.

Rating: 1/5

Pros

 

  • Elle Fanning performs great.
  • Visually nice camera shots.

 

Cons

  • A generally underwhelming experience.
  • Nonsensical plot.
  • Seems over-directed (like the director was trying to show off).
  • Blatant disregard for viewers’ time.
  • Comparing models to monsters. Super original.

What study abroad can do for you: It’s not as hard as you think

97 percent of students who study abroad will find a job within just one year after graduating, according to the University of California.

Courtney Kroll, the University of Washington Study Abroad Manager, believes traveling abroad could benefit many students.

Kroll started traveling when her school considered studying abroad a prerequisite. She earned a double major in French and elementary education while studying abroad several times throughout college. Kroll said studying abroad “Completely changed [her] life.” She continued to travel after graduating college and now works in UW Tacoma’s Office of Global Affairs.

Many people often believe that only the wealthy can afford to travel abroad as a student. While it’s not untrue that international travel can rack up some bills, Kroll believes it’s realistic. She acknowledges finances aren’t necessarily a debilitating hurdle students can’t overcome.

The way for students to study abroad regardless of income: planning. “Taking a step back and saying OK I want to do this, how can I make it happen” proves the best way to surpass these barriers, Kroll says.

She acknowledges the difficulties of studying abroad, some of which financial. However, that shouldn’t stop students.

“Not thinking about this early enough and planning early enough” can make these hurdles even harder Kroll said.

Most universities offering travel abroad also offer scholarships, as well as financial aid, including the University of Washington Tacoma. Many would agree these are indispensable when planning to travel abroad.

Donna Kopmar, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, just got back from Moscow, Russia.

“Study abroad was something I always wanted to do. I tried to do it the year I graduated but couldn’t … because of financial reasons. Later I realized I missed a great opportunity to study in a different country.”

Kopmar continued to have interest in studying abroad. A few years after her missed opportunity, she decided to “go for it” even though finances still factored in. She believes the experience greatly outweighed the struggle. She recommends “that every student should study abroad … to learn to communicate with people who have other views/ways of living is so important.”

According to the International Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the number of students participating in study abroad programs has risen several million since the mid-1970s. This number will continue to rise 12 percent every year.

In 2012, Harvard Business School began sending hundreds of students abroad. Studying abroad continues to become an important point of academic success in America, as well as other countries.

 

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century resume,” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, a former faculty member at Georgetown University and a current leader at the Institute of International Education.

The benefits of studying abroad don’t even compare to the minimal downside. If at all able to study abroad, do it, you won’t regret it. Those who have would likely agree with Kopmar:

“It’s such an adventure. It’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.”

Analysis: ‘The Newsroom:’ An HBO series that changes the way we think about news

What if the news was reported incredibly well, with “no demographic sweet spot, a place where we can all come together.” What if this was the type of news station we all gathered around. Someplace where we could get facts and decency with no party biases getting in the way. Will McAvoy, the lead of “Newsroom” had this same dream.

“The Newsroom” was a short lived piece of HBO drama that young journalists dream of. The fast-paced fact checking, the witty banter with fellow employees, and a community of people all searching for the truth — what aspiring undergraduate wouldn’t watch this?

There are some series that make the audience want to take action. This television show inspires the younger generation by subtly pointing out problems in society. Similar to shows like “Mad Men” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Newsroom” speaks to the youth of its day. While some may not fully understand the lure of a newsroom drama, what makes it so good is the way it looks into an ideal version of an industry that could use improvement.

The main criticism of this show (and there’s not many) is that it’s not realistic. “The Newsroom” may not be realistic, but that is the entire point. The purpose is to show people the disparity between the current state of media and what it could be if the news was reported ethically and level headed. The method behind this series is to show the viewer how the news world would be if high profile networks didn’t have to tow the party line, worry about profits, or have fair sources.

“The Newsroom” features a cast of talented, serious actors including Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer and Olivia Munn. The writing of the show paired with the strong crew succeeds at creating a dignified yet witty and friendly feel to the show. The importance of the stories the show’s television network, ACN, reports on is balanced by friendly wit when the characters interact. There’s also a little piece of relationship drama with Maggie and Jim, because it wouldn’t be an HBO show without a touch of romantic drama.

The cast also introduces some amazingly strong women in powerful positions. It shows the reality of being a woman, as well as an executive. One example appears in season two.

Sloan, the economics anchor, is dragged by her wrist through the newsroom by her executive producer. She demands that “if [he] ever lead [her] by the wrist through that newsroom again, [she’d] take out each of [his] … knuckles with a ball-peen hammer.” While this is a very extreme situation, it shows the mistreatment that women often times have to deal with in the workplace.

“The Newsroom” calls attention to workplace harassment, especially with Sloan’s character — likely because she seems to go against all stereotypes. She is beautiful, smart, sarcastic, socially awkward, yet charming. Who better to spit in the face of female stereotypes?

“The Newsroom” is a brilliant drama on what our news could — and should — be. It is an intricate display of journalism and feminism that is definitely worth a watch!

 

Review: ‘Madam Secretary:’ A new take on political dramas

The 2014 series “Madam Secretary” shakes up everything you thought you knew about political dramas. Instead of thriller-like plot lines and corruption running rampant, we see a realistic yet interesting and wholesome show.

The series starts with Elizabeth McCord — played by Téa Leoni — being recruited for the Secretary of State position by the current president — played by Keith Carradine. McCord is an ex-CIA agent turned university professor and horse farmer. President Conrad Dalton worked closely with Elizabeth when she worked with the CIA, which is why he appointed her to the position.

This show is very different from all the other political dramas we’ve been flooded with in recent years. Elizabeth McCord isn’t political. She has no personal ambition to the presidency or any other higher political office, but she is a bright and very well-connected politician.

The directors of “Madam Secretary” do a wonderful job at taking very difficult and troubling situations and making them palatable for a larger viewership. We get an example of this in the pilot episode, when two young men are trapped in a foreign prison. Elizabeth tries to get the president on board with her plan to save the young men. However, the administration refuses to use a non-traditional approach to save them. McCord uses back channels and calls in favors from old friends in order to save the men, even though she got a slap on the wrist from the presidential administration.

The show articulates the balance it takes to care for children, maintain a healthy marriage and keep a social life, all while being a powerful political figure. Instead of being completely government focused, “Madam Secretary” takes you down a lovely path of the realistic (enough) life of a female political official.

Some criticisms of this 2014 TV Guide Award nominee for “favorite new show” argue that Elizabeth is simply too well connected. Many of the Secretary’s solutions to various international problems include asking the help of powerful people she just happened to go to college with, or a friend, or a parent of one of her children’s friends that happens to have the necessary connection or power to solve the issue.

However, someone in Elizabeth McCord’s position would have to be very well connected. In addition to this, Elizabeth has an innate ability to charm anyone. She has created many allies and benevolent associates that she can later call on.

In the pilot episode, McCord says that she’s “never met a situation where [she didn’t] have a choice in the matter,” which could very well be the show’s slogan. Elizabeth McCord only plays by the “rules” if they work in the situation. She often innovates and thinks outside the box in order to find a solution that no one else could possibly think of.

“Madam Secretary” is a fabulous combination between a Hallmark movie and a slightly less corrupt “House of Cards.” Lovers of politics, family life and drama will without a doubt binge watch this show.

Now if we could only get a season four!

Rating 5/5

Pros:

  • Shows balance between work and home life.
  • Strong and charming female protagonist.
  • Easy to understand political jargon.

Cons:

  • Only three seasons (some questions may go unanswered).

A coffee enthusiast’s guide to awesome local espresso

Tacoma Washington is home to some of the best coffee in America. Because Starbucks was founded just a few miles away in Seattle, Tacoma has attracted a plethora of unique local coffee shops, each with their own character, specialty drink and atmosphere. Pierce County is also home to several different colleges including University of Puget Sound and University of Washington Tacoma, therefore there’s lots of students who want to find the best study spot our town can offer. So here’s a list of just a few of Tacoma’s best coffee shops to stop by on the way to class or lose an afternoon studying at.

Metro Coffee:

This little coffee house is nestled right in the middle of the University of Washington Tacoma campus and embodies Pierce County in many ways. Flyers and art are posted around the shop featuring environmentalist urgings, university happenings, local artists, and community members.

Metro Coffee is a prime place to study; however, if you’re planning on buckling down and studying the afternoon away, be forewarned you may get a tad familiar with your neighbor due to the limited indoor seating.

While this Tacoma treasure doesn’t serve my favorite daily caffeine infusion, a delicious raspberry Red Bull, I made my peace with their drink selections after trying one of Metro’s Lattes. Their espresso is perfectly timed and pulled making an impeccable espresso shot.

*My Favorite: Raspberry latte with coconut milk

Espresso Yourself:

A drive through that sells good local coffee — honestly what more could you ask for. Espresso Yourself, located in the middle of Fircrest, is staffed by local coffee talent.

In the summer, Espresso Yourself has a patio perfect for wasting an afternoon with old friends sipping iced Americanos. While you might have to wait till mid-July to see the sun in the Pacific Northwest, you don’t have to wait till summer to enjoy this local home away from home. Espresso Yourself has a cozy feel inside as well, featuring retro coffee memorabilia and a small shopping section where you can browse through jewelry and scarves while you wait for your coffee or sandwich.

While I would love to keep this prime study spot for myself, it’s truly too perfect not to share. It is a fair drive from the UW Tacoma campus, but the separation from school has a way of refocusing even the most futile of studying attempts.

*My Favorite: Sugar free raspberry Red Bull

Anthem:

Anthem has a cool laid back “you do you” kind of vibe. While Anthem is technically part of a chain, you couldn’t tell by just walking in because it isn’t overly commercialized or franchised. The Tacoma location preserves its own unique identity outside of the other Anthem coffee shops.

This is the type of place you could get inspired — with massive windows and students buzzing about, it’s easy to tune out life’s problems and key into whatever you’re doing at the moment. While it isn’t necessarily a cozy or secluded place, if you’re looking for a louder study spot right smack dab in the middle of other academics, Anthem is your place. This environment makes a perfect blend of local artisan and Starbucks atmosphere.

My Favorite: Vanilla mocha with half the chocolate

 

Pacific Coffee House:

This illusive coffee house is a great spot for a quick cup of coffee before heading downtown to school or work. Pacific Coffee House is on the ground floor of an office building filled with bustling business people and work meetings, which gives it a bit of a “get in, get out” vibe. But the vibe is more of a hectic and busy feeling rather than an unwelcoming feeling.

When visiting Pacific Coffee, it is obvious from the second you step foot in the door that it is not what we would call a “college hangout”. Be prepared to feel slightly underdressed but completely welcomed by the cheery staff.

Their grilled cheese with pesto alone would keep me coming back, but add a steaming cup of cocoa or coffee and it’s hard to stay away. Pacific Coffee’s great food and happy staff are enough to put anyone at ease during even the most frantic day of school or work.

My Favorite: Grilled cheese with pesto and a mocha with an extra shot

 

Valhalla Coffee:

Quite possibly the most known coffee shop on my list, Valhalla has quickly gained traction in Pierce County as Washingtonian approved coffee. It is quite an accomplishment for them to stand out so much when Tacoma has so many coffee gems to offer.

Valhalla is a super simple, no nonsense coffee house just a few blocks from Proctor District on Sixth Avenue. They have a super friendly staff that will answer all your coffee wonderings with a smile.

Valhalla even roasts their own beans and has a drink for almost everyone. It is likely the most authentic coffee shop in Western Washington.

My Favorite: Get anything, you’ll be impressed

Review: ‘The Edge of 17’: The perfect depiction of high school

“The Edge of 17” is likely the most surprising movie of the year. What looks like just another teen chick flick turns out to be a deep and moving film. It didn’t make many waves when it came to theaters in 2016, but “The Edge of 17” has lately gotten stellar reviews from all types of moviegoers.

This movie tells the story of Nadine Franklin, a high school junior who’s life starts falling apart after her lifelong best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother, Darian. The rest of the movie shows Nadine’s struggles with feelings of inadequacy from living in her brother’s shadow as well as typical high school drama.

What is so phenomenal about this movie is the realistic yet heartbreaking situations that Nadine is put in. “The Edge of 17” should be such a sad movie. However, with exceedingly talented actors like Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, this movie ends up, somehow, almost being a comedy.

Each character has their own niche and full personality, which adds generously to the authenticity of the film. Harrelson’s character, Mr. Bruner, is a good example of how the characters develop and grow throughout the story. Despite his lack of screen time, he ends up developing into a completely different person than what was shown in the body of the movie. Erwin, Nadine’s friend, also turns out to have much more going on than what I originally assumed.

Nadine’s story is tied up in her dealing with depression, which is subtly discussed throughout the story. After hitting rock bottom, she told her brother that she felt like she was “floating outside of [her] body, looking down at [her]self and […] hat[ing]what [she] [saw].” To the viewer who takes things literally, it may seem like the movie simplifies depression and anxiety. Nadine’s situation is actually a realistic scenario — she ends up with a good guy who loves her and treats her well and she ends up repairing relationships that were damaged by what she was going through.

What is so realistic about the ending of “The Edge of 17” is that you’re left with the question of whether Nadine continue to “hate what she sees” or if she is finally happy. The movie depicts her as being mostly happy by the end.

“The Edge of 17” wraps so many genres into one fabulous movie. Fans of indie films, teen flicks, comedy and more will no doubt be obsessed with this impeccably done movie.

Rating: 5/5

 

Pros:

  • Relatable and Realistic
  • The whole family will love this movie
  • Depicts teen years in a very unique way
  • Discusses mental health

 

Cons:

  • Nadine can be seen as very unnecessarily dramatic

Review: ‘Black Mirror’ and the issues we didn’t know we had

Do you ever wonder what the world will be like in five years? Or in 10? Do you wonder what technology will look like, or how it will change our society? The British series “Black Mirror” explores these questions and many more.

“Black Mirror” started airing in 2011. After a couple years of success, Netflix contracted 12 episodes of the show in 2015. However, the British drama’s popularity has picked up speed in recent months.

Lately, British shows have unexpectedly been at the forefront of American viewership. From “Peaky Blinders” (which is AMAZING by the way) to “The Night Of,” England’s awesome television has been taking over Netflix as well as American air waves.

It is no surprise that “Black Mirror” has become a part of this trend. What is most fascinating about this series is its ability to critique everything we take for granted. Looking at social media, spending time with family, condemning criminals — this show finds issues with things we didn’t even know we had issues with.

“Black Mirror” does a stupendous job at creating a world that we can believe and live in. This is not the next sci-fi world, it is our world and society — with the addition of one advancement that changes some or every aspect of life. An example of this would be in the third season episode “Nosedive”. In this episode, everyone is able to see others’ social media popularity as soon as they look at them, essentially having Facebook in their eyes. In this society, popularity determines every aspect of life and if someone is unpopular, they eventually go to jail. The technology is not necessarily bad, it’s how it is used that will determine the outcome.

The overarching theme in “Black Mirror” is that with a lack of empathy and compassion, society will not be in a good place. To depict this, “Black Mirror” will often introduce a mechanism or technological advancement that is not inherently bad. It shows that how we use it is what can change society for the worse. Just like Facebook and Twitter can keep people connected, they can also distance you from those nearest.

This Peabody Award-winner makes you question what you’re doing in life, it makes you mad, it makes you wonder, and it starts some pretty insightful conversations. What is so lovely about “Black Mirror” is that it makes you go down a line of thinking you never thought you would explore. It might sound like school work, but it’s actually pretty awesome.

Fifteen Million Merits in season one is one of my favorites. The episode takes place in a society where no one is allowed to go outside. Instead, you use a stationary bike in a dreary inside world to rack up merits. If you earn enough merits, you can buy a ticket to an American Idol like competition to potentially make it out of the dull world of biking. However, not many people do this because they are so plagued with other things to distract them and spend their money on, almost no one gets out.

In season two, White Bear, follows a young woman who has amnesia as she tries to find answers about who she is and what happened. She finds a creepy world where everyone is following and filming her rather than interacting or helping her. Later in the episode, we find out this is punishment for a crime she committed. The whole town is in on it and the people in charge wipe her memory every day and repeat the same torture again indefinitely.

This definitely isn’t the show to watch when you’re trying to sleep or are distracted, but it will surely grab your attention and keep it long past the 60-minute run time. As a show, “Black Mirror” gets an A.

Pros:

  • Makes you think about how technology is used
  • Very believable episodes.
  • New cast and plot each episode.
  • Great acting and direction.

Cons:

  • Can sometimes lag or be confusing.
  • To understand what’s going on you have to watch carefully.

4/5 stars

Behind the mic: Comedy careers and starting out

When you think of comedy in the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma Comedy Club is probably what comes to mind. Located downtown near the Theater District, Tacoma Comedy Club hosts some of the best comedians on the West Coast — from big names like Pablo Francisco and Greg Fitzsimmons to comedians just starting out on “New Talent Tuesday.”

I got to sit down with none other than Andrew Rivers, a comedian from right here in Washington. Rivers has been around the comedy circuit for some time now, but says he is still relatively new to the career.

He, like many others, ended up on a new career path after the 2008 recession. Rivers was given the advice by his father to “do anything because that will turn into something.” So, he bravely got up on stage and launched his comedy career. Rivers said that when he does this he feels like he belongs, “because comedy is just like a bunch of misfits.” This is something that a lot of comedians seem to relate to.

Rivers drew inspiration from comedians like Mike Birbiglia and Chris Titus. These comedians and many others talk about very personal problems and real world issues in a way that can reach many different people, making them think with how laughably true it is. Rivers acknowledges that he is not changing the world with what he does, but believes that this doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, “the goal is to brighten someone’s day.”

Comedy seems to be one of the hardest jobs to truly succeed in. Many of the comedians seen on Netflix and Comedy Central had to work at their craft for years to get to the level of success that they have now. Louis CK, for example, has been doing stand-up since 1985. Kevin Hart, a comedian that’s exceedingly popular with the younger generation, has been active in comedy for 15 years and has recently reached a level of fame unknown by many others.

Most comedians start their profession by attending open mic nights and local showcases for amateur comedians, performing anywhere possible. After years of hard work, Rivers says that the objective is “to get people to see you on purpose.” In other words, being sought out by people is a major step in any comedian’s career.

Washington is home for Rivers, but he spends time in many other places as well. He says that every city and state is cool and different but, “it’s all about the friends you have in the city.”  This brings up an aspect of the job that most are unaware of — the constant travel that’s necessary for a fruitful comedy career. Rivers, for example, has been to 40 states and Canada, but says “the road becomes less lonely because [he] has like 15 friends in each city.” Comedians, like those in many other entertainment industries, should travel and perform as much as possible to build a brand for themselves.

But what about amateur comedians who keep a day job in addition to their comedy career? Evenings and weekends are usually how these aspiring comedians put themselves on the map. Local aspiring comedian Brad Carr says, “It’s about getting to know others and reaching out to audiences you’d never thought you’d reach, much less get applause from.” When asked about managing a comedy career with responsibilities of everyday life, Carr said, “Setting a few days a week to go to open mics and work on your stuff with other people that know the struggle” is most helpful.

Tacoma is a great place to try to launch a career in comedy. In addition to the Tacoma Comedy Club, there is an open mic night called Peeled Bananas that is hosted in the local B Sharp coffee house. The Comedy Underground and Bob’s Java Jive also have weekly comedy nights. Whether you’re a comedian just starting out or a comedy enthusiast, these are all great places to check out — or even get up on stage!