Best Open-Mic Night (Comedy Division) - 2004
The Red Sea
Wednesday comedy night at the Red Sea is the wildest, most diverse and funniest open-mic comedy night you're likely to find this side of Chicago. Roughly half the performers are polished, insightful and hilarious. But it's the other half that's the most entertaining -- the ones who are hilariously unfunny. "I hate winter," begins one regular's "joke." "So cold, gray and barren. Kind of like the inside of my refrigerator. When I open the door, the music from Cops starts playing. The ketchup has got the lettuce in a headlock, and the olives are getting pulled over because they're black." Unfunny, yes, but told with so much conviction that you'll actually enjoy giving it your pity laugh. Host Anthony Joplin debuted the night in June, and his drunken, stoned rants contribute to the party atmosphere in the Red Sea's funky, comfortable basement. Add in cheap beer and margarita specials, and you're guaranteed to have more fun than you would if you stayed home and watched Last Comic Standing. Though the action is scheduled to start at 9:30 (cover is $4), things don't really heat up till after 10, so don't worry about being punctual.