Eckington Hall presents their newest comedy engagement produced and hosted by D.C. comedian Sara Dubois.
Eckington Hall is the proud host of a new weekly Comedy show, “Charred” every Thursday at 9 p.m. The District’s comedy scene is vibrant. With several acclaimed booking houses for touring headliners, as well as local standup and repertoire companies that flutter around some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods and bars, where do local favorites get their start? And where in Northeast D.C. can you find an eclectic venue that doesn’t force you to experience standup in a bar basement? It’s “Charred!”
Produced, and hosted, by comic Sara DuBois, the program once named for serving BBQ eats with comedy, is now strong-standing because of its focus on dark (or…charred) humor. With a mission to spotlight women, people of color and generally underrepresented voices, Charred proved to be a supportive incubator just as much as it served as an entertaining lineup for the unassuming audience member.
Through producer Sara DuBois’ time working in the D.C. comedy circuit, it wasn’t unusual that most open mics she would encounter would be heavily male-dominated, despite her knowing talented women comics. In such a pre-established scene, it can be daunting for outliers of the typical stereotype to feel supported in an already nerve-racking and vulnerable art form.
Through Charred Comedy, Sara was able to create an environment that intended to alleviate some of the factors that are stacked against novice or underrepresented performers.
This is done through accessibility for both performers and audience, as well as community-building, and the experimentative framework. For comics, getting on the mic in front of a crowd is the most valuable tool for receiving information that can later inform future writing and acting. However, the opportunities to do this can come at a cost or uncomfortable barriers. “Charred” is able to make this showcase experience as full-fledged as possible for comics and audiences alike by offering free tickets and an open invitation for participants to bring something to the table.
This can be through social media or in-person promotion, bringing guests for a packed house or providing photography and video recording footage. Because so much of the production is a collective contribution, the palpable togetherness created in Eckington Hall feels different from going to a theater or dim bar and being presented with a run-through set. Instead, it feels like a riveting journey where anything could happen.
“Expanding the spaces that young comics, new comics, female comics, comics of color, to perform in and to have community in, is being intentional about creating a space that’s welcoming,” DuBois says.
Something special to DuBois is that she gets to facilitate new working relationships, that cultivate community in the comedy world — not just an in and out of performers that are there for their set alone.
“You’ll have comics that are professionals who do this for a living, they’ll hang out for an hour or two, they’ll sit and talk to them [young comics]. That definitely adds a lot for me and is why I want to keep doing it.”
Eckington Hall lies in an unassuming Northeast D.C. alley. Contrary to its plain exterior, the interior breeds a vibey atmosphere with high ceilings, colored lighting and sporadic accent furniture. It could just as easily be an art installation as it is a gathering place. As a previous pop-up photography exhibit, there’s plenty of space to grab a drink from the corner bar and post up in the center of the space to hear funny material.
The intimacy of the setup doesn’t have a stage that divides the audience from the performer. Dubois is a notable host, along with frequent guest and young comic Temi Adeoye. They invite a wide lineup of comics from newcomers to seasoned performers wanting to test some new material.
“It’s cool to have a space that’s not only intentional and dedicated to arts and culture, (which means folks are quiet) but also part of a community,” DuBois says. “People are there because they want to see comedy. There’s not other things where people are like drunk and loud in the background.”
Every show is unique depending on the crowd, the energy and the season, so don’t miss this exciting series.
Hopefully, you leave with what DuBois describes as, “A good time feeling comfortable and seen and, you know, maybe [gaining] a different perspective. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in the world. And it’s really nice to have, 60 to 90 minutes, where you just get to sit and enjoy and relax.”
“The Charred Comedy” show runs every Thursday at 9 p.m. Reservations are encouraged through eventbrite, and you can find more information via Instagram, @charredcomedy.
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