Ellison Serves Up the Laughs with Weekly Open Comedy Mic Nights
Comedian Tiffany Aikens performs at Ellison Brewery during a recent Lansing Comedy Sirens open mic night. (Photos by Raymond Holt)
Ellison Brewery + Spirits might be in the business of handcrafted beer, wine, and spirits – but they’re also serving up laughs on a weekly basis. Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Lansing Comedy Sirens host an open mic comedy night at Ellison, 4903 Dawn Ave., in East Lansing.
The weekly comedy series officially kicked off Sept. 10, 2019, according to co-host Ashley Stommen, one-half of the Lansing Comedy Sirens duo. The partnership stemmed from Ellison General Manager Lindi LaDrig reaching out to Ashley, after receiving a tip from fellow comedian and host Tricia Chamberlin.
“I met with her, and we discussed the idea of having a comedy open mic,” Stommen said. “It honestly felt really cool to be asked, and it was like I wished hard enough that show just fell in my lap.”
Co-host Ashley Stommen, one-half of the Lansing Comedy Sirens duo.
“We gave it a try every other week for like a month, and then it ended up working out,” LaDrig said of the event.
Stommen is very involved in the local comedy scene, which is made up of a diverse group of ages, and backgrounds – both in comedians, and audiences. “The East Lansing comedy scene is a fantastic blend of students and non-students,” she said. “We have two shows in the East Lansing neighborhood. Funny enough, they are both on Tuesday night. Ellison kicks things off at 8 p.m., and wraps up around 9:30, and Crunchy’s kicks off at 10 p.m.”
LaDrig said the event continues to bring out a different crowd of people, many that haven’t been to Ellison in the almost four years they’ve been there. The event has been shared on the Lansing 517 Living page, on Facebook, and Instagram, spreading the word. LaDrig said the maximum capacity of the event is 50 people. Ellison also hosts weekly trivia, music bingo, live music, and various events throughout the year. They also feature an outdoor heated igloo, for free of charge to patrons.
Alaina Bamfield shares a joke at Ellison Brewery + Spirits.
The turnout for the weekly comedy show has had a steady turnout of attendees, and comedians wanting to hone their craft in front of an audience.
“There’s quite a few that travel (to the event), a lot of the Mug Club members are scattered from all over. Tuesdays, we do Mug Club appreciation, so a lot of them stick around for that show,” LaDrig said.
Stommen aims to keep the atmosphere as welcoming as possible, especially for those just starting out.
“I know when I first started comedy, it was a bit cliquey, and a ‘boys club,’” Stommen said. “With this show-up-go-up style of show, I think it gives people way more of an opportunity to try stand-up. No longer do you need to submit a request at the end of one month, and hope to get a spot on a show the next month.”
Don Jory enjoys the comedy scene at Ellison Brewery.
Stommen hopes that in fostering a collaborative, safe-space for comedians, that the scene will continue to grow and thrive.
“Having new people join a comedy scene is truly the way to keep the scene alive,” she said. “I am super proud of a particular new group of comics I have named ‘The Breakfast club.’ They are all so young, and right off the bat, they are a super talented bunch. I never wanted to have kids, so here I am adopting comedy kids.”
In speaking of kids, the event is not considered family-friendly, due to mature comedy content often featured. A door at the sign says 18+. Stommen describes the environment as one where adults can escape their children, have a drink, and a few laughs.
Nicole Melnyk is one of several young comedians who performed recently at Ellison Brewery’s open mic comedy night.
“As one of the hosts, I definitely test the waters each week to see how much the audience can handle,” Stommen said. “We don’t put restrictions on the comics, other than no hate speech.”
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