One of the most challenging venues for a stand up comedian is the restaurant/bar in which the comedy must battle for attention with the distractions of food, drink and the patrons’ socializing. When a comic can silence the silverware, the clinking glasses and enthusiastic conversations in this environment and command the audience’s full attention, you know you’re witnessing real talent, and entertainment worth watching. The “I’m Just Saying…!” Really Big Stand Up Comedy Show at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood is just such a show. Produced and hosted by writer and stand up comedian Pat Branch on the first Tuesday of every month, “I’m Just Saying...!” features a diverse lineup of local comics who each bring something personal and powerful to the stage. The July 1 show featured L.A. favorites Steve Hasley, Michelle March, H. Alan Scott, Hannah Gansen and Glen Frazier; an impressive pool of talent considering the show is free.
Host Pat Branch opened the show with a casual, affable, intimate style that pulled the attention of chatting patrons to the small, glimmering, disco ball-adorned stage. Her engaging, disarming persona drew the audience in and prepared their funny bones for what was to come as she shared her experiences shopping at the 99 Cent Store, dealing with her African American hair, her one hissy-fit at 5-years-old and her life as a teacher. Her playful interactions with individual audience members further loosened up the crowd and set the stage for her fellow comics.
An outstanding performance of the night was that of H. Alan Scott. With black rimmed glasses and boyish good looks, his style was the perfect balance of Midwestern innocence with an urban edge as he discussed his struggles with online dating, social networking annoyances and his successful battle with cancer. His delivery was fast-paced, his humor acutely clever and his persona charming. With natural stage presence, excellent timing and dry wit, Scott commanded the audience’s attention and respect and gave a professional performance worthy of Comedy Central, HBO and other more lofty venues. A writer/comedian who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York, Scott is a blogger for The Huffington Post and has had his work featured on MTV, Logo, WitStream, Thought Catalog, Sirius XM Radio and on Fusion’s “No You Shut Up” hosted by Paul F. Tompkins. His tweets and blogs about his experiences fighting cancer are being turned into a book through Mendel Media Group, LLC. In addition to Hamburger Mary’s, Scott has performed at the Hollywood Improv, the Laugh Factory, Comix, Caroline’s on Broadway and Chicago’s Lakeshore Theater. A good time is guaranteed when H. Alan Scott appears on your comedy club marquee, so whatever you do, don’t miss his act.
Another standout performance at the July 1 show was that of comedian Michelle March, an experienced comic making a name for herself at clubs throughout Southern California. March takes an outspoken and unsentimental approach to her analysis of labels, breaking up, shopping at Trader Joe’s, controversial Supreme Court decisions, body image and other relatable topics. Her unique perspective on social and political issues is enhanced by her self-deprecating, “everywoman” style of delivery. March’s natural authenticity connects her to the audience and draws their laughter seemingly effortlessly. A Los Angeles-based comic, educator and activist with a degree in psychology, a teaching credential in social studies and a Masters in education, March has been teaching History for 13 years. She quit comedy after her brother died suddenly and returned to the stage three years ago. Most of her jokes have their origins in something tragic or difficult in her life and, through humor, she has healed, laughed and brought laughter to many others. March’s July 1 performance made clear that she’s a natural talent with potential for comedic greatness. Catch her upcoming appearances at Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood on July 8 at 8 p.m., Claremont College on July 12 at 8 p.m., The Bayou in West Hollywood on July 15 at 8 p.m. and at Brewdog Pub in Beverly Hills on July 16 at 8 p.m. Follow her on Twitter at @michmarchcomic.
Don’t miss these and other quality comedic performers Pat Branch brings to her “I’m Just Saying...!” show at Hamburger Mary’s at 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month, and enjoy the famous Taco Tuesday $7.95 all-you-can-eat taco bar while you’re there. A more fun, entertaining, engaging, casual night out would be hard to find.