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December 09, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, December 09, 2005

Stand and deliver Stand and deliver (December 09, 2005)

Comedians find community in small local venues

by Liz Scott

San Jose and San Francisco may have the big comedy clubs, but there's something to be said for the more intimate venues of the Midpeninsula.

According to Daymon Ferguson, a comedian who aspires to become an ex-lawyer, "You get to see some stuff that you're not going to find at your more commercial clubs."

Stuff like 72-year-old Pacifica comedian Lynn Ruth Miller singing about feminism to the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy" and throwing bras into the crowd. And the fact that the smaller local rooms tend to have no cover charges or drink minimums on comedy nights.

Although Palo Alto and Mountain View aren't home to any official comedy clubs, some bars regularly host comedy nights. There's Friday's "Comedy Rehab Showcase" at the proud-to-be-a-dive-bar Ron's Farmhouse in Mountain View, as well as "Rudy's Comedy Jam" on Wednesdays at Rudy's Pub in Palo Alto, and Monday comedy nights at The Rose & Crown pub in Palo Alto.

Ferguson says all tend to foster more of a sense of camaraderie among comics, rather than competition.

"In a lot of places like L.A. and New York, the comedy scene is very confrontational. You're all for yourself, whereas here we don't really have that," he said. "We have a community of comedians."

Mountain View comedian Erikka Innes, who appears at The Rose & Crown and sometimes hosts open-mike nights at Ron's, says audiences are friendly around here as well. Crowds can range from a dozen to a packed house of fifty-plus.

"You see a bunch of regulars every Monday that are there for the comedy," said Innes, who works as a technical writer by day. "They'll come up to you and say, 'Wow, that one was new.'"

Local venues host a variety of funny folks, including national headliners, people trained at the San Francisco Comedy College and amateurs taking part in open-mike nights. And each comic has a distinctive style: some get worked up about politics and current events, while others focus on their own lives.

Ferguson, for instance, often centers his jokes on his experiences buying a house in the South Bay, a subject near and dear to many of his fans' hearts.

In his view, stand-up comedy in this area is thriving these days.

"Comedy seems to do well in Republican administrations," he said. "Read into that what you will."

What: Local stand-up comedy nights at Ron's Farmhouse, Rudy's Pub and The Rose & Crown.

Where: Ron's is at 2026 W. El Camino Real in Mountain View; Rudy's, 117 University Ave. in Palo Alto; and The Rose & Crown, 547 Emerson St. in Palo Alto.

When: Fridays at 8 p.m. at Ron's, Mondays at 10 p.m. at Rudy's, and Mondays at 9 p.m. at The Rose & Crown.

Cost: Comedy nights are typically free.

Info: Call (650) 961-1149 for Ron's, (650) 329-0922 for Rudy's and (650) 327-7673 for The Rose & Crown.

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