How to declare war in comedy land: Set up an event on a Saturday night right across the street from a comedy club whose owner has a reputation for getting mad about perceived threats to his turf. The Monkey Pub, which sits across the street from Giggles Comedy Club in the University District, is hosting a new comedy night this Saturday. The press release begins: "Get your giggles at the Monkey Pub."
"For them to bite the hand that feeds them is ridiculous," said Terry Taylor, owner of Giggles, who says he brings the Monkey Pub business. "People come to Giggles," he said. "And go to the Monkey Pub before and after the show."
There are two dedicated comedy clubs in town: the Comedy Underground, which most people seem to like, and Giggles, which some comedians loathe. Daniel Carroll (of the People's Republic of Komedy, which will be performing at the Monkey Pub) says: "We try to have a positive feel to the comedy around here and Terry is a really negative guy—he's bad to his comics and he's bad to his audiences. I've had so many people tell me that they thought comedy in this town sucked because they went to Giggles."
The specific charges against Taylor include trying to pay comedians less than originally agreed and charging audiences more at the door than the advertised ticket price. Cathy Sorbo, who will be performing at the Monkey Pub, accused Taylor of the former (Taylor said that was "an outright lie"). As for the latter charge, Taylor says, "It's like Ticketmaster, a club fee." Taylor has aroused ire by discouraging other comedians from organizing comedy nights in local bars—like Peter Greyy, who was barred for running a Wenesday night event at the now-defunct Mirabeau Room (Giggles is closed on Wednesdays). Some young comedians, such as members of PROK (who run Laff Hole at Capitol Hill Arts Center), stopped performing at Giggles after Greyy's banning. And now they and Sorbo are performing a grudge gig.
"Why would you burn a bridge with one of the two comedy clubs in town?" Taylor asked.
"Some of my good friends are going to be performing at Giggles that night," said Emmett Montgomery, of PROK, who will perform at the Monkey Pub show. "But that's the best thing about being in a group—you don't have to burn your own bridges."