New open mic night offers budding comedians a chance to try out material

Date: 9/10/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Ever thought you have the talent, the jokes and the courage to stand up under bright lights and before a microphone and be a comic? Here's your chance.

Steve Nagle, the producer and newsreader for the Bax and O'Brien Show on Rock 102, has started an open mic night for comedy every Tuesday at 9 p.m. at the Rock Caf on Worthington Street.

Nagle explained to Reminder Publications there used to be a quite of number of comedy open mic events throughout the Valley, which gave both aspiring comedians as well as veteran ones a place to work out new material and get experience. Now, this new evening is the only one.

At the initial open mic, there were a handful of comics and audience members and Nagle hoped word would spread and the event will grow.

After a set by Nagle, who has been a comedian for years, he introduced a very mixed crowd of entertainers.

The comics that night ranged from an UMass student before the mic for the first time with a defense of her love for cats to a children's librarian from Westfield to a 19-year-old who recently performed at a club in Worcester.

New Haven, Conn.-based Pat Oates was one of the other professionals who performed at the first open mic. Besides looking at this reporter and asked if character actor Wilford Brimley was in the house, Oates told backstage tales on some of the people for whom he has opened, Joe Piscopo and Jimmy "J.J." Walker.

"I open for has-beens," he said, "but I'm a never was."

One comic even made use of the drum kit that was on the stage.

With no cover charge at the door, the open mic is a bargain for those looking for some affordable entertainment on an off-peak night.

To participate, Nagle just said, "Show up."