Commuter Life: Comedy at the Carlson

by Darell Roberson

Brockport Beat staff

As a commuter student, I have rarely found myself exploring the night life in the Village of Brockport on the weekends. The City of Rochester is where I choose to hang out, eat and drink with some of my closest friends and family. Many of the bars on East Avenue and Alexander Street, restaurants along Jefferson Road and attractions across the Greater Rochester area have all been explored by me, except for this most recent venue.

Since the end of this past summer, I have noticed an increase in traffic and loud chatter behind my house on Hampden Road in Rochester. Growing up next to Carlson Road (the street behind mine), I remembered there were some old and abandoned warehouses behind my house that I thought were very sketchy and possibly haunted. Little did I know that two new venues, Radio Social and The Comedy at The Carlson, had emerged out of the creepy buildings. I talked to a few of my neighbors about the new attractions and their opinion on the new business being drawn in.

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“The place draws in a crowd every Friday and Saturday night and it’s almost always packed,” Robert Lewis, a patron of the club, said. Lewis has been living in the neighborhood since the late 90’s and has never seen his neighborhood so busy and flushed with crowds.

“My husband and I were impressed with how amazing the club was and especially the food and people that we met” Amy Lewis, Robert’s wife, said. “When we went to see Faizon Love in February we were dying laughing and we were excited that we didn’t have to drive home after all the drinking we did.”

After talking about the comedy club with my neighbors, I kept it in the back of my mind that the comedy club was an option but I stuck to just driving by the place on my way to school.

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The faces of the buildings were reconstructed and implemented with bright neon blue lights and enormous windows. I disregarded the constant late night noise and continued going out to other places rather than take a look at the bustling crowds and traffic behind my own house.  I was completely unaware of the presence of the comedy club until I came across an ad on Facebook. Former Saturday Night Live member, Jay Pharoah, was coming to the comedy club and I was immediately intrigued. Having been a huge fan of Saturday Night Live and Pharoah’s Barack Obama impression since high school, it was about time I take a walk down the street and see what all of the noise was about.

I decided to attend Pharoah’s stand-up act with my girlfriend on the last Saturday of my dull and drab spring break. The tickets were very affordable and I don’t think I could’ve picked a better way to end my boring week off from school. I arrived a half an hour before the show began to be seated, get a bite to eat and something to drink.

The food was mainly appetizer style finger foods ranging from choices like an enormous pretzel or a plate of fully loaded nachos to hold anyone over while busting a gut. We had eaten at a diner close by before we walked to the club and avoided shelling out more money. We instead decided to have a few drinks. I began the night with a Blue Moon and my girlfriend tried one of the club’s signature cocktails, the “Happy Gilmore,” consisting of Coconut Rum, Red Bull and Sprite.

As the time approached for Pharoah to come to the stage, we began conversing with our other table mates seated alongside us. Much like a Hibachi grill, the comedy club seats guests at tables of four and if you don’t have four friends or family members to sit with then you get to meet someone new. We had the option to sit alone but we instead chose to share the experience with people that were actually from Whitesboro, New York. The conversation was cut short and that was all we learned of our table buddies once the lights flickered twice and everyone’s gaze darted to the door next to the stage. Pharoah danced onto the stage while taunting the audience members directly in front of him and began his show with some amazing impressions from Kevin Hart to Denzel Washington. I realized after a few impressions that if I closed my eyes, it sounded exactly like them and made the act even more hysterical. The waiters and waitresses laughed and chuckled occasionally but never stopped moving around the room. The staff was very attentive to the table and made sure that if our drinks were low that we had more drinks on the way.

At the end of the night, we were both sore from laughing so much and were in no rush to leave the club. Outside the stage and seating area was a space for dancing to the music that the DJ was blasting and another bar to order more drinks. We migrated towards the pool table area to play a quick game with the tablemates that we had become acquainted with. After we lost miserably, both of us walked home, content with the experience at the noisy comedy club behind my house and we were both glad to end spring break on a high note.

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