The comedy scene in the Quad Cities is one that some can say they are familiar with. Improv groups like Comedy Sportz and Blacklist have been successful and are the most readily available form of comedy in the area, but there is no true home for stand-up comedy aside from touring comedians who drop in for a night. Davenport comedian and all around Quad City enthusiast, Andrew King, has taken his time over the past two years to add another option to fuel your local comedy needs. But let it be known, he has been a busy guy working up to this moment.
King’s life of performing comedy began in 2009 after doing some improv with a college group at St. Ambrose University. Soon after, he would perform stand up and never look back. After a spell in Chicago in 2012, he attended classes at and dropped out of Second City. When he decided to come back to his roots, he saw the Quad Cities had started to bloom. As he resettled and reconnected with his home, he sensed not everyone was aware of how much the area progressed.
“I sometimes heard people talk about how much it sucked here and that really bothered me because I knew and saw how much the Quad Cities were different from when I had left. These people didn’t know what they had! There are things to do around here other than just going to a bar to complain. People need to be less negative. It should be, ‘it sucks around here. I should DO something.’”
He’s right. Many twenty-something to thirty-something adults feel negatively about the available social activities in the area, and often try to rank our area with Chicago or the Twin Cities. The problem with that is the Quad Cities are its own place with boredom that can easily be solved. “I’ve totally been part of that negativity,” King admits, “but I realized I was part of the problem.” Ever since then, he has produced many projects that allow for local participation and social engagement.
In May of 2013, he started a weekly open mic night held at Boozie’s in downtown Davenport. Bix BeiderBomb is a free workshop for aspiring comedians to work on their material by gaining immediate feedback from audience members, as well as other comedians.
That fall of the same year, Rozz Talk was created. Every so often at Rozz-Toz, King talks with talented individuals of the Quad Cities; writers, artists, musicians, comedians, and entrepreneurs, or as King calls them, “people who make an effort.” It is very apparent what King’s intentions are with the projects he has developed and kept up with. “I want to cultivate and highlight local talent because those people and the work they do around here deserves recognition and credit.”
His latest and most prized endeavor, The After Hour with Andrew King, is a combination of King’s projects and talents. It has the potential to tie in well with the comedy scene. What will make this comedy venture different from the others? “The format. The audience will know what to expect because of the familiar format of a traditional style late night talk show.” Each show will feature one local comedian, guest, and musical group, with hopeful plans to branch out and contact performers outside of the area. King plans to bring retro aesthetics to the show that echoes the beginning of the era of late night talk shows.
The first lineup of The After Hour is really going to set the tone of the goodness to come. Opening night will feature guest, Kyle Carter, the Executive Director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, comedian Christopher Schlicting, and musical guest The Multiple Cat. All folks from the Quad Cities just looking to make your Friday night better than average. And that is the main goal. King wants to make The After Hour “an institution of entertainment in the area. It’d be really great if it became a regular occurrence for people, like, ‘What are you doing Friday night?’ ‘Oh going to dinner, The After Hour, and then drinks somewhere afterwards.’” If anything else, King’s example should be an inspiration to you, Quad Citians, that you can do more; more in the sense of activities to participate in and more in the sense to create.
To join the festivities for opening night, The After Hour will take place THIS Friday, May 8th, at the Circa 21 Speakeasy in downtown Rock Island (1818 3rd Ave) at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $8, but if you reserve tickets by calling the Circa 21 box office (309-786-7733), you will receive a FREE, nifty 11×17 color print of the show poster at the door.
For more information about King’s projects and dates, click the available, underlined links above.
See you Friday!