The former Empty Space place will be filled every weekend in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The Seattle Comedy Group has leased the Atlas Theatre and begins a regular schedule of ComedySportz shows starting with their Grand Openings tonight (Feb. 7) and tomorrow.
Like other ComedySportz around the world, the Seattle company makes two teams of comedians who play against each other in a variety of games. The group that scores the biggest laughs goes home the winner, and the action changes every night as the audience controls the game.
Managing director Alex Grindeland discussed the decision to create a permanent performance space for the company that specializes in physical comedy on the fly.
What prompted the move from Ballard to Fremont?
I just became clear that we were at that point - we needed a home of our own. Our show has been gaining a lot of popularity, getting bigger and bigger audiences, and we had to take weekends off now and then. We needed to be able to say, "Here is where you can enjoy ComedySportz every week." Now we can say that.
What excites you the most about having a permanent space to play?
There's just so much more we can do with our own venue. We can do more specialty shows, classes, and workshops. And truly the best thing is that we can be consistent for our audience. We used to have to say, "We're here almost every Friday and Saturday." Now we can say, "We're here every Friday and Saturday." Now that we control the space, the opportunities are endless.
The Atlas Theatre is located in a notoriously tricky spot for parking and costly to rent, two factors that helped close Empty Space. What's your plan for making the theater viable on that street?
Primarily, we’ve got to keep the audience coming in, and that means continuing to do the quality of comedy shows that we’ve become known for. As long as the audiences are coming we’ll be there. Lots of people find their way into Fremont every weekend. Clearly people are willing to spend a little extra time finding parking if they know they are in for a good time. As long as they know they are going to laugh, our fans will make the trip.
ComedySportz will be performing on Fridays and Saturdays -- do you have any future plans for filling other nights of the week?
Yes. We’ve got our Wednesday Improv Jam, which will continue to happen every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s a drop-in improv jam where a bunch of people of all experience levels get together to learn about improv and most importantly make each other laugh. That’s open to anyone who wants to test the waters of improv comedy.
In Seattle, how does ComedySportz stand out from other improv shows and theaters?
Our show is really fast paced and exciting. It’s a real sport, and I cast people who won’t hesitate to throw their bodies… and their dignity… on the line for those ever-precious laughs – because in our world laughter means points, and the comedians want to win.
What type of audience do you expect to draw in Fremont?
Probably the same crowd as Ballard (where the company previously performed)… which is a nice mix of everyone. That’s the best thing about a ComedySportz match. Anyone can enjoy it. Bachelor parties, dates, college kids, families. They are all in the same place, laughing together.
For more information on the Seattle ComedySportz schedule, check the website.
The Atlas Theatre is located at 3509 Fremont Ave N in Seattle.