An evening at Rome’s Comedy Club
There are certain events during the calendar year in Rome when the expat community expects to see large groups of English-speakers gathered together. And we aren’t talking about the endless packs of study abroad students on the prowl for Scholars Lounge Irish Pub and Disco, or the pub crawls that seemingly still exist, I thought banned what feels like at least a decade ago. Thanksgiving for example, is usually one such night. Right along with every bar in Rome’s favorite late-night party, Super Bowl Sunday.
What I didn’t expect that rainy Friday night, February 23rd, on my way into the Ostiense Quarter to the Makai Surf and Tiki Bar just minutes walk from Piramide and Testaccio, was how huge the turnout would be for Rome’s only English-speaking comedy night. Hosted by the appropriately named, Rome’s Comedy Club, the production is the brainchild of Marsha De Salvatore and Stephanie Tyrell, and you can immediately tell they have done this before.
The evening’s comics were greeted to a packed house, the show garnering so much interest that a Sunday event for the weekend had already been added. Overall, the show as a whole did not disappoint. Each comic brought their own style and unique approach, keeping the night fresh and the audience engaged and laughing. Also impressive was the number of non English speakers in attendance, most likely dragged along by friends or significant others. Even the bald Italian gentleman sitting upfront was an amazing sport throughout, bearing the brunt of several excellently delivered jokes by the evening’s Emcee, Jose Salgado.
The roster included comedians Mark Hannan, Liz Knight, Konrad Schubert, Devo Sullivan Sinnott, and club founder herself, Marsha De Salvatore. On a quasi regular basis, the sometimes brutal nuances of English language stand-up comedy flew completely over the heads of a percentage of the crowd. Due to the varying levels of English fluency in the audience, some jokes definitely made way for a few awkward silences, often leading to facial expressions ranging from the classical skeptical Italian face, all the way up to the ‘boh’ face, the verbal equivalent of shrugging your shoulders in complete lack of understanding or meaning.
But to the credit of all the evenings performers, each comic took these looks in stride, never letting an airball linger, ready to attack again and get the crowd engaged once more. The highlight of the night was most certainly De Salvatore’s Roman Top 10 List, a well thought out and delivered piece, highlighting some of Rome and the Roman’s most interesting idiosyncrasies through the eyes of an expat. Memorable as well, was Devo Sullivan Sinnott’s set ender, a drastic mix of emotions conveyed through her iPhone speakers, asking for that 1000th Instagram follower.
The bar staff and management from the Makai Surf and Tiki Bar were nothing less than professional and gracious with the crowd, even helping me to retrieve my lost scarf. For an evening out sharing laughs with fellow expats and English speakers of all nationalities, the price tag of 15 euro, which included a drink at the bar, was well worth it. And not just for the comedy show itself, but also for the conversations and antics that followed the show, the crowd hanging out for several hours afterwards, the bartenders constantly busy.
If you are interested in more information about Rome’s Comedy Club or any of their upcoming events, like everything these day’s, you can find it on their Facebook page. March dates were just announced and Im sure, from what I heard about the Sunday show that followed, tickets will be selling quickly.