Phoenix's growing comedy scene is a draw for young comics

Herberger Theater Center holds third annual "Stand Up for Downtown Theater" fundraiser

The Herberger Young Leadership Board is preparing to serve up lots of laughs Sept. 29, and with that comes the chance to experience the local stand up talent Phoenix has to offer. 

The board is hosting its third annual "Stand Up for Downtown Theater" fundraiser at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

Gabe Biel hosting the first annual "Stand Up for Downtown Theater" at the Herberger Theater Center on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2015. 

Matthew Storrs, co-host of the fundraiser and Phoenix comedian, said he is excited to perform with local talent.

"In years past the show's been fantastic, but this year the show is going to be even grander than before," he said. "Being able to work with Gabby Lamb and Shapel Lacey (California and Phoenix comedians, respectively) is such an honor."

Storrs also said he sees the fundraiser as a way for people to get a taste of the comedy scene in Phoenix.

"The stand up comedy scene has really developed here in downtown," Storrs said. "Having comedy and open mic clubs here has allowed a lot creativity to come up."

Kyle Brague, biomedical engineering senior and executive producer of Tempe Late Night, said Phoenix comedy is on the rise. Tempe Late Night is a student-run sketch comedy club that brings in local comics to host their shows.

"The nice thing about Tempe Late Night is that we bring in hosts from all over the Phoenix area," he said. "Like Matt Storrs hosted for us last season."

Brague said the local comedians form a very tight-knit group, which allows new comedians to get to know the whole community.

"If you're in Phoenix comedy, then you know most of the people," he said. "You really do feel a sense of community."

Tempe Late Night's director of content and film senior Jake Hosking, said having a small comedy scene has its advantages.

"(The comedy scene in Phoenix) is not as big as Chicago, L.A. or New York, but it creates a much more intimate community," he said. "It's been a cool experience to see all the connections. You're able to get into (comedy) fast because of a tight-knit group of people."

Lauren King, who is the chair of Herberger Young Leadership Board, said the board wants to bring more people into the Phoenix arts community, whether that be through events or outreach programs.

"Our primary goals, as the YLB, are to bring a younger demographic to the Herberger," she said, "and to ensure that everyone in our community, regardless of income or zip code, has access to performing arts.”

King said the fundraiser is open to all, but she added the board would love for ASU students to attend and support the theater's community outreach events. The Herberger Center is within walking distance from the the Downtown Phoenix Campus. 

The fundraiser will support programs from two arts organizations, Free Arts and the Virginia-based Wolf Trap, geared towards art exposure for kids who do not have art programs in school.

"Ultimately arts is the first to go (in schools)," said King. "So if we can help by providing some assistance, that is ultimately our goal."

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