Over the past eight months I have traveled up and down this city looking for open mic comedy nights. During this time I’ve had success at the All Asia in Cambridge and failure at the Howard Johnson in the shadows of Fenway Park. When performing at an open mic it’s never a good thing to only go to one place week after week, but it is good to have a show that you can treat as a comfort zone. A place that you can go to when the patrons of the Howard Johnson express discontent toward your unique brand of comedy consisting of two “knock-knock” jokes and seven minutes of funny faces.
The Tavern at the End of the World is a great place for beginning comedians. Located near the Sullivan Square T stop in Charlestown (the hometown of NFL Hall-of-Famer Howie Long), the Tavern is the place to be on Wednesday nights. Take it from someone who finds something wrong with everything, this really is a great place. Well, besides the fact that it’s in Charlestown. As soon as you get off of the T stop you’ll be convinced that this was the place where MTV got the inspiration to create the show 16 and Pregnant.
If you’re looking for something else to do before the show you can certainly travel into downtown Charlestown and look at the Revolutionary War monuments, take a trip to the harbor to see the U.S.S. Constitution or get on a bus and become the victim of a hate crime. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re not a comic and you’re looking for a place to grab some cheap food and drinks they have deals on Wednesdays to help attract people to the shows. Sandwiches can be as low as five bucks and beer as low as three. They have two really good sandwiches that you should try. The first is the turkey Reuben. There is nothing better for a nervous beginning comic with…um… stomach issues to eat a giant sandwich loaded with Thousand Island dressing. The second is the Hawaiian. It’s packed with ham, pineapple, pickles and cheese. There is also an immature vomit joke attached to that one too.
To try and make it more enjoyable to patrons there are weekly contests like “Charlestown’s got talent,” for example, which is held in-between sets. Audience members with a little bit of talent can win themselves some cash. It’s one of the few things the bar does to help keep people around for the show. From 8pm to 10pm comedy hopefuls from all over the Boston area come down to see if they have what it takes. Signup is at 7:30 and usually fills up pretty fast. You want to get in a little early so you don’t end up going on after the show is over (yes, you can do that) and most people have already left. Comics can also win money based on weekly contests. There have been prizes given out for the most inappropriate Michael Jackson joke and the dirtiest Tiger Woods joke. Yours truly even won ten bucks for being “legit,” whatever that means.
On many nights this bar is packed to capacity and the lively atmosphere can really make the show a very enjoyable experience for both the comedians and audience members. Overall, it’s a place I highly recommend for anyone wanting to test out their comedy material. The laid back atmosphere will certainly help build any comic's confidence, as it did with mine.