Comedy in Central

Comics bring the laughs at weekly standup shows

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — A local restaurant is giving comedians from around the region a place to shine.

On Saturday night, Craig Holcombe, Colin Keane, Blaine Perry, Mallory Denae and Tom Scheve took the stage, sounding off on topics that included parenting, beauty pageants, guys pretending it wasn’t their idea to go inside the chocolate shop and navigating the dating scene in a car without a radio or air conditioning.

The Courtyard Grille in Central began holding its weekly Comedy Night earlier this year.

The shows are every Saturday at 7:30 p.m., according to Holcombe, who hosts the shows.

“We normally have anywhere from four to five comics performing,” Holcombe said. “So far, they’ve been from all over — not just the Upstate, but the region. We’ve had comics from Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg Asheville. Last week, we had three comedians from Florida come up.”

Consistency is important to both Holcombe and the restaurant’s owner.

“When we talked about that, how often to do the show, we both thought that every week would be really good,” Holcombe said. “That way people don’t have to remember specific dates. They know something’s going on every Saturday night.”

There is no cover charge to see the show.

Recently, Holcombe performed a one-man show at the restaurant.

“We’re always trying to do different things here and there and switch it up when we can,” he said.

The comedians who perform are ones who Holcombe has performed with before or who have been recommended by people he knows. Keane and Holcombe hail from this area. Perry, Denae and Scheve drove down from Asheville, N.C., for the Saturday show.

Holcombe has lived in Easley his entire life and has been performing for almost 11 years.

“When I first started out, I did all my comedy in Greenville,” Holcombe said. “It’s kind of nice to perform in Pickens County.”

If you attended the most-recent Guffaws for Paws benefit for the Pickens County Humane Society, hosted by the Appalachian Ale House, Holcombe was part of that line-up.

“So far we’ve raised a good bit of money for them,” Holcombe said.

He’s been performing standup for the last six years.

“Before then, I did theater improv comedy and sketch comedy,” he said. “I settled in to standup because that’s been the most fun so far.”

He’s been in productions and performed improv at the Warehouse Theater. He was also a member of the sketch comedy group Secondhand Futon.

Holcombe says he enjoys the freedom of standup comedy.

“I like the freedom of being alone,” he said. “I have the responsibility to be funny — it’s kind of all on me. I can follow a script if I need to, but it lets me play around with an audience.”

He cites Steve Martin, Eddie Izzard and Monty Python among his influences.

“Those are probably the big three, I would have to say,” Holcombe said.

He said the audiences have been growing slowly.

“We’re excited about going into the school year, to see what happens when we have all our college students back,” Holcombe said. “I’m excited about the future for the show.”

Denae will return his Saturday, and she’ll be joined by Miguel Osornio of Spartanburg.

To find out about future shows, follow the Courtyard Grille on Facebook.

The Courtyard Grille is located at 217 W. Main St. in Central.