“We started doing comedy just to change it up a little, something besides having a band every Friday and Saturday night,” said Plaza Lanes owner Roger Rhoad, a 1973 St. Joe’s graduate. “It’s been really popular. We’ve been close to selling out every time. It’s kind of neat. It’s more of a comedy club atmosphere, because it’s a small bar compared to if you go to a theater or arena. Those are great venues but so big. This is just an intimate setting where you’re right on top of the comedians.”
Want to go?
WHAT: The Night of Comedy featuring Kenny Smith and Dan Simon
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4
WHERE: Plaza Lanes’ Strikers Bar, 2641 E. State St., Fremont
TICKETS: $7 in advance & $10 at the door
INFO: call 419-332-1192 or visit theplazalanes.com
Current plans call for the Night of Comedy to continue through May. As for the type of comedy, Rhoads said he wanted to make sure he catered to a mature audience.
“When they asked me what kind of comedy I wanted, I said something in the middle of the road,” Rhoads said. “It’s definitely an adult show. But I told them we didn’t want every joke to be about sex, drugs and alcohol, although probably three-quarters of the jokes are. So far the guys have been really good.”
The upcoming event has headliner Kenny Smith, who has been a working stand-up comedian for nearly 20 years. The Dayton-based comic, whose credits include appearing on “The Bob & Tom Show” and “Comedy Central,” got his start after seeing a certain Jim Carrey movie.
“When I saw ‘Ace Ventura’ it changed my life,” said Smith, who currently averages 200 dates a year. “I actually still have the movie stub from 1994. I’m not nearly as campy as this movie. But I can be silly.”
In fact, when asked to describe his stand-up style, he cited Carrey and Vince Vaughn. While the latter isn’t a stand-up, Smith said it’s more of his attitude. Also, he’s very active on stage.
“What I am bringing to town is a barrel of monkeys,” Smith laughed. “I don’t know what that means.”
What Smith does know is that Plaza Lanes will be the second bowling alley the funny man has performed at in his career.
“The first was in Virginia,” Smith said. “That gig I bowled about a 280 in comedy terms. It wasn’t a perfect game but the show was pretty awesome. And expectations for this gig, are awesome.”
When asked if he’s bringing his own ball and shoes, Smith said, “No, I’m coming solo. So I’ll be renting, for sure.”