The Understudy, a new comedy club that opened in October, is calling all comedians for its inaugural Roast Battle League.
Tylerites familiar with the East Texas comedy scene have probably heard of the local comedy group Card 53. Steve Hargrave, one of eight members of the group and The Understudy owner, decided it was time for the comedic performers to have an exclusive home as well as offer a space for other comedians to perform.
Hargrave said business has been on an upswing since opening and they recently had their first sell-out.
“Opening night was great. But our business relies on word of mouth and so it was slow at first,” he said. “But we have been trending upward and the high quality of our shows has driven an uptick in our reputation and repeat customers. We had our first sell-out last weekend.”
The Roast Battle League will consist of four nights of roast battles. Sixteen roasters will be selected to compete and the club is taking applications through Wednesday.
Each night, each roaster will have two battles. The winners will be selected by a vote of three judges. One judge will be the audience. The top three finishers will get cash prizes and the champion will receive a $500 cash prize.
Hargrave said he wanted to start the league because he felt it would be a perfect fit for the club.
“Roasting is a newly emerging form of live comedy entertainment. It has a long history, but this format is just now hitting commercial popularity,” he said. “We want to provide a variety of comedy shows and this is the perfect fit.”
“Roasts are hilarious to watch and the comedians are performing as much as they are roasting,” Hargrave added. “It is a fresh break from basic standup or improv.”
Ideally Hargrave would like to have a champion who has to be dethroned each “season” and do two to three seasons a year depending on the success of the first battle.
Hargrave said he hopes the club and its emerging events will refute the claim “there is nothing to do in Tyler.”
“I want people to know that we are here. We offer space for them to rent for events or attend for shows. We offer classes and open mics to those who want to get involved,” he said. “But mainly we want to refute the claim that ‘there’s nothing to do in Tyler’.”
The first night of Roasts will be Jan. 27 and all battles will be at The Understudy on Fridays at 8 p.m. Entry fee for selected roasters will be $20; anyone can apply. Applicants can email firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 25.
The Understudy has shows every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
The Understudy is located at 212 Old Grande Blvd., Suite C-102 and can be reached at 903-920- 9520.
For more information, visit www.theunderstudytyler.com.