It’s no joke that local comedian Blayr Nias plays an active role on the Q.C. comedy front. Since relocating from Boston to Charlotte nearly 10 years ago, she's gone from her first open mic at The Comedy Zone in Fort Mill to hosting and participating in standup events at various locations around town.
Nias' name is often blasted on The Comedy Zone Charlotte’s page for monthly Almost Famous Comedy Shows. These feature local comedians, amateurs and veterans alike. Most of them have opened for big-name acts but haven’t yet gained prominent stature. These shows are finished with a nationally touring headliner or improv group.
But all that is apparently not enough for Nias, who also travels for comedy shows. To get her funny fix, she recently founded a new series of shows that’s been dubbed "Blayrious." These are happening every other Wednesday (including tonight, July 2) at Phil's NY Deli and Tavern.
“With Blayrious, I was really looking for something fun and less organized and more intimate. These shows should feel like you are just hanging out and having drinks with your very funny friends," says Nias. "No frills, no fuss, just fun.”
Nias stresses that both of the shows (Almost Famous and Blayrious) feature around four to six local comedians, most of who have opened for celebrities and/or performed professionally on a national level. Some have even been finalists in Comedy Central's Up Next competition. Though these shows may feature some of the same comedians, Nias stresses that they consistently prepare new material.
In regards to the shows' content, Nias explains her views on the freedom to express and what makes a good joke. “I do not censor the comics on either show so material can go into the R-rated area, but I believe that jokes have to be more funny than offensive. Otherwise, you're just saying things for shock value.”
Tonight's Blayrious show at Phil’s NY Deli and Tavern will feature Megan Skinner, Ryan Davis, Wayne Cousins, Chesney Goodson, Ryan Van Genderen and, of course, Blayr Nias.
Nias hopes that her efforts in hosting gigs around town will put Charlotte on the map as a spot for comedy. Though the Q.C. frequently gets national comedians at venues like The Comedy Zone, The Fillmore, Ovens Auditorium, Blumenthal facilities and others, we've yet to form a solid local comedy fanbase.
“I love performing, so I do [it] every chance I get, whether I am touring on the road or performing in a show right here in town. It's my art and my therapy," says Nias. "I would love people to come out to a show, have a good time, tell their friends, and develop greater interest in live, local comedy like the public does in other big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, etc.”
For folks who can't make tonight's Blayrious show at Phil’s NY Deli and Tavern, the next one is on July 16. The next Almost Famous Comedy Show is slated for July 20 at The Comedy Zone Charlotte.
Free admission. July 2, 16, 30 (repeats every other Wednesday). Phil’s NY Deli and Tavern, 105 E. 5th St. 704-347-0035. www.philsny.com.
$10. July 20, 8 p.m. The Comedy Zone Charlotte, 900 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 980-321-4702. www.cltcomedyzone.com.