Complaining about not having anything to do in New Orleans on the weekend is like being that bratty, spoiled child grandma overindulged with toys and just wants more. I suppose it’s all relative, though, when you are nestled in a city known for its nightlife. While the list of bars and nightclubs is immeasurable, it is sometimes hard to find something that isn’t either a smokey dive bar to catch a live band or a raucous nightclub where the music is bumping. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (to borrow a line from Seinfeld), but lately I’ve really been in the mood for a laugh, and New Orleans’ growing comedy scene is exactly what this city needs.
Chris Trew and Tami Nelson are two individuals who are not only hilarious but are also trying to help the scene grow by opening a New Orleans location of their New Movement Theater. Trew runs “Air Sex,” which is kind of like air guitar for grownups, to put it mildly. The 2011 competition last week at One Eyed Jacks drew a sizable crowd for a sleepy Tuesday night, proving that people here are hungry for some good side-splitting antics.
After catching an improv sketch at the Shadowbox theater this past weekend with Trew and Nelson, I asked Chris what drew him back to NOLA after having lived in Austin since Katrina:
Too often in the past, comedians in New Orleans felt the need to leave the city to pursue their career. This is understandable, as the city lacks a real nerve center for alternative comedy. Sure, there are venues that have comedy shows, but there is no home base. That’s a large reason why we moved back, because we want The New Movement to be that place. Too often when we’re traveling to a comedy festival or on tour, people express how much they adore New Orleans. The city is known for so much and we want the local comedy scene to be a reason why people visit.
We feel it’s time to establish a culture here that has locals considering comedy as an entertainment choice. We feel it’s time that touring comedians stop in New Orleans more often. We feel it’s time that a venue opened that took the local comedy scene seriously, that took comedy training seriously. The New Movement will be that venue.
You certainly don’t have to wait until the New Movement opens its doors. Check out one of the weekly shows that Stupid Time Machine puts on at various venues around town, or head over to La Nuit Theater on Freret Street to catch a show there. Supporting the local comedy scene couldn’t be any more fun.
Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.