This past Saturday, the weather was absolutely beautiful, a carefree peek into what spring will bring. To celebrate the great weather — OK, OK, we were going to be drinking anyway — my friends and I made plans for some day drinking, followed by a 9:30 show at the Comedy Zone.
We decided to head to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, tucked in the warehouse district on the south side of Charlotte. Full confession: I was an OMB newbie before this visit. Parking was a tad inconvenient, but when I entered what almost felt like a compound with high walls enclosing it, I discovered hundreds of people, babies and dogs sitting at rows of picnic tables with umbrellas enjoying beer in the afternoon sun.
Thanks to the long line at the bar, I found myself double-fisting — the Southside and Captain Jack Pilsner. They were both light, full in flavor and enjoyable.
We ended up ordering a meal fit for a true German: a fresh-baked soft pretzel with Captain Jack beer cheese, burgers, house-made potato chips, house-made potato salad and of course a classic bratwurst. After the sun went down, we enjoyed a couple more beers around the fire pits. Little compares to a good beer in the warm sun with friends around a fire pit discussing the potential real estate — that is, potential significant others — or lack thereof. The best part? This was just an intro to a night of friends and laughter.
To help segue from day to night, we stopped at a friend’s house, where we played a quick game of Edward One-Scissorhand, which involves duct taping a 40-ounce to your hand (a modification, as usually you’d tape a 40-ounce to each hand, implying you won’t be going to the bathroom until you finish). Then we were off.
I didn’t know quite what to expect at the Comedy Zone. Quite frankly, I was nervous. From the comedic performances I’ve seen on TV, it appears that comedians tend not to hold back on getting inspiration for their material from the audience. Would I be the brunt of every black girl joke?
The venue, located below Texicali Taco & Tequila Bar, had a homey, gritty feel to it, like it was a place where local or lesser-known comedians get their start. We took a look at the full menu, which ranged from wings and apps to burgers and entrees. I was starving, but per usual we flipped over to the drink menu: a four-person margarita with a choice of seven different flavors for $24. Um, duh! My table ordered one (and sadly, all I could think was “Would there be enough to go around?” The answer is yes, by the way) and the show began.
Three comedians performed before the feature, Josh Wolf from Chelsea Lately. I’ve come to realize the only thing that makes an audience member more anxious than the fear of having the spotlight put on you is the helpless feeling you have when you’re not sure if a joke is going to land. With time, however, you gain confidence and realize that eight times out of 10, someone in the audience will laugh, and the performers have a quick rebound rate. So by the time we reached the feature, the audience was nice and warm. The only person who couldn’t escape being the butt of the jokes was an elderly lady who had to be in her 80s. I felt uncomfortable for her, but she seemed to be genuinely entertained. Also, I’m not going to lie: better her than me. Sorry, Grams.
Josh Wolf was easy on the eyes, but before I could picture our life together, he admitted he was married with a teenage son. Yeah, that wouldn’t do me any good, but at least I could focus on the material. Needless to say, he was hilarious. He talked about everything from the legalization of marijuana, to rocking chairs in Southern airports, to pranking a good friend during his bachelor party with a 6’2” 250-pound woman who wrestled the groom-to-be for “entertainment.” I couldn’t stop laughing.
The comedy show was the ultimate nightcap to my long day of drinking. Granted, I am usually laughing uncontrollably when I’m around my closest friends anyway, but when you throw in some quality beer, warm weather and a show, you get smudged makeup and sore cheeks from laughing too much.
All made possible by another successful weekend in the Queen City.