Carolinian – Arts & Entertainment
Issue: 4/16/02

Cheap Humor
By Jaimie C. Parker

Finding a good laugh and an inexpensive place to go out on a Friday or Saturday night has become increasingly more difficult since the September 11th tragedies as well as the country’s economic slump. However, I found an inexpensive yet entertaining solution at The Comedy Zone.

The Comedy Zone is a well-known comedy club throughout the country, drawing in comedians from states such as Alabama, Texas and New York who have been seen on Comedy Central, Showtime, and other comedy specials. With the eight-dollar cover charge you get one to two hours of laugh out loud comedy (most of the time).

Little Tony’s CafĂ© is located inside the Comedy Zone, serving appetizers, salads, pizza, sandwiches, and “Italian specialties” from 7 PM to 12 midnight. Be careful if you order food as the comedians are performing because if you attempt to laugh and swallow at the same time, which will inevitably happen, you may choke.

Usually there are two shows at 8 PM and 10 PM, which sell out, and reservations are requested. If you do not have reservations and the show might be sold out they will make you wait until all those with reservations have been seated. I have never been to the 10 PM show and left the club before 12:30 AM, the comedians stay on stage longer than their allotted time.

Unfortunately, Chris Wiles the hilarious former host left the Comedy Zone to pursue other comedic options. On the night I went there was a guest host MC, Christina Knolls from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knolls seemed nervous which led to her stammering through most of the show.

However, I had the privilege to see Roy Woods Jr. perform. “A Sugarbaby with a suit on,” is how he described himself at on point during his performance. Woods currently lives and was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied journalism and was a sports editor but opted to be a comedian, a very good choice. If Chris Wiles is not coming back, Woods would be an excellent replacement, his quick wit and vibrant wisecracks made me laugh until my stomach hurt. Woods has appeared on Comedy Central as well as Showtime at the Apollo but enjoys coming to the Comedy Zone here in Greensboro.

The headliner of the evening was Texan, Joe Morrison. Morrison has been a comedian for thirteen years and it definitely shows. At the University of Texas, Morrison studied marketing but found his true passion to be making people laugh. The audience was captivated by his intellectual yet dimwitted jokes. Morrison dealt with serious issues such as testicular cancer and being the father of 7-year-old twins cutting into the humor with sharpness. Lucky for his audiences he survived both.

“Pot smokers are like MaGuyver,” was a joke that had the audience, myself included, in hysterics. He was quick to follow a joke and similar to someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder make an obscure leap from one topic to another but circle around the first joke only to find the second, the third, and so on. Morrison has performed at the Comedy Zone before and thoroughly enjoys it. I had the pleasure of meeting him after the show, where he sold CD’s of his comedic routine to his adoring fans. A portion of the proceeds goes to cancer research. Morrison candidly talked to the audience as we filtered out the door. He seemed extremely enthusiastic about my doing an article and asked me to wait until most everyone left to talk with him. I observed his down-to-earth behavior when another member of the audience introduced himself to Morrison explaining that he also had twins. They showed each other their twin’s pictures and shared their cancer struggles. I was touched by the fact that he politely excused himself and apologized to me for the interruptions as I tried to get five minutes of his time. By the time I spoke with him, he was astounded to see that after the first show he sold about half of the CD’s he brought with him to sell. I was again impressed with his humbleness. Morrison is married and tours the country in his older model Honda. I think he said it had about 300,000 miles on it. He has been to the Caribbean and Asia, just to name a couple places where he has done his comedic routine.

Both Morrison and Woods really enjoy performing at our local comedy club because there is an eclectic genre of people from completely different demographics and the talent quality is very high. I forget how contagious laughter can be even in times when there seems like there is not a lot to laugh about until I saw these two talented comedians perform; an event for all those with a funny bone.