By Erika Iverson & Molly McCowan
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. Sorry, wrong story.”
Bob Gaudet, local comedian, emcee and wind turbine engineer, is explaining how the Hodi’s Half Note open mic comedy night was born.
The truth is, as close as comedy night is to the heroic story of Star Wars, it came about because local comedians and aspiring comics wanted to share their jokes and stories together onstage.
Jeremy “JRock” Michael, of the local production company Rapidfire Productions, was asked by a group of Northern Colorado comedians to help find a venue that would host a comedy night. He talked to John Palke, part-owner of Hodi’s Half Note, about the opportunity and secured Monday evenings as the new home for open mic comedy nights. Bob Gaudet was recruited to host the show, and the rest is history.
Hodi’s Half Note has proven itself an excellent venue, drawing crowds of varying ages and tastes and bringing in comedians ranging from experienced laughmakers to fresh-out-of-drama-class comedy newbies.
The Monday night open mic session is set up so that all comedians can get a chance to go onstage and do their bit. Gaudet is in charge of the sign-up, and any person wishing to participate speaks to him prior to the show. The sign-up period is from 7-7:20pm. There is enough time after the sign-up for 20 comedians to each do a five-minute set.
“Five minutes seemed like a good amount of time for new comics. If they enjoy it they can do more, and if they aren’t quite there yet they can do less. We have people who have never tried stand up before go up there and give it a shot – we even had a homeless guy come in and do a set one night. We’ve made ourselves known as a fun and easy group to work with, and that’s important,” said Gaudet.
Michael, Gaudet and Palke want comedy night to be something good for the community.
“We start from scratch and we make it grow. We want more people to be involved on the comic’s side as well as the audience’s. We hope to graduate from doing the shows on Mondays to a better night; we just need the support and participation of the community,” said Palke.
That is why Rapidfire Productions, Hodi’s Half Note, and Scene Magazine will be hosting a superstar comedy event called UFK, or Ultimate F’n Komedian. The biggest comedy event in Fort Collins this fall, UFK will officially name the best stand-up comedian in Northern Colorado the “Ultimate F’n Komedian!”
32 aspiring Komedians can compete in the contest. They will each pay a $10 entry fee, which will go to the prize money that the winner takes home at the end of the contest. The competition is open to anyone and everyone who can get onstage and deliver a twelve-minute set of all-original stand-up comedy. The contest will employ a panel of judges, and will be judged in four categories, including material, presence, promotion and crowd response.
Since there will be 32 comedians each delivering twelve-minute sets, this contest will be broken up into five nights, with the fifth night naming the winner of the entire series. Eight comedians will sling their jokes each night, and two per night will advance to the next round. The final contest will consist of eight comedians who have advanced through all of the rounds and one experienced comedian (who will not be competing) to close out the event.
UFK will take place at Hodi’s Half Note, located on 167 North College Avenue. The first round of UFK will bring the house down on Sunday, October 23, from 6:30-8:30pm. The second round will be on November 6 from 6:30-8:30pm, and the third round will tear it up on November 9 from 7:30-9:30 pm. Two more dates, including the final round, are to be announced on the Hodi’s Half Note website, hodishalfnote.com.
The comic named Ultimate F’n Komedian will take home a cash prize of $200, along with some serious bragging rights. The second place winner will receive $80, and the third place winner will receive $40. All who attend or participate will receive an “F’n” good time and a lot of gut-wrenching laughs.
So who needs to exercise? Just head over to Hodi’s Half Note on October 23 for the first round of the Ultimate F’n Komedian competition – you’ll leave with tighter abs and lifted spirits.
Speaking of spirits, Hodi’s Half Note offers drink specials on comedy nights, so bring your Hodi’s mug and enjoy a delicious beverage. Just try not to shoot too much of it out of your nose.
To enter the Ultimate F’n Komedians (UFK) contest, send an email to UFKfoco@gmail.com. Visit hodishalfnote.com for more information. Be at Hodi’s Half Note on October 23 from 6:30-8:30pm for the first round of UFK, and check out the free weekly comedy open mic sessions on Mondays from 7-9pm.