Stand-up comedy as an entertainment option is a phenomenon associated with urban nightspots and the casino circuit. So it was refreshing for this contributor to set forth on a warm January Friday night to see a pair of comedians hosted by H2O, on Commercial Avenue in Anacortes. Our little shipbuilding town? Comics? Would this work? I was soon to find out.
Touring together this week were Travis Nelson and Chase Mayers, both young men who collaborate on a YouTube comedy series entitled “Tetched Sketch”, featured on Travis’s site www.travisnelsoncomedy.com. Travis hails from Seattle, while Chase is a transplant from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Travis kicked off the show by introducing Chase’s act to a crowd of about 25 people.
Chase Mayers (www.chasemayerscomedy.com) got the crowd warmed up with a great bit about the denizens of Safeway, including a checkout line run-in with a grumpy exotic pet. His soft-spoken drawl and deliberate delivery leaves the audience space between his anecdotes to process the absurdity of his stories. At the Burbank Comedy Festival, Chase won a “Best of the Fest” award.
My favorite story about Chase is how he got started doing stand-up. It’s straight out of the George Constanza playbook. While dating a former girlfriend, Chase remarked to her that he had “gone out” to a local comedy club. The ex-girlfriend misinterpreted the comment to mean that he had actually been a performer at the Open Mic event. Naturally, Chase did what any red-blooded male in a relationship would do: He ran with it. The material for his first stint in front of a microphone was constructed to back up the fictitious narrative. Good thing she didn’t think he was a marine biologist.
Travis took the stage after Chase’s set and launched into a high-energy stream of consciousness that lasted for 45 minutes. This, it turns out, was far from a bad thing. Travis is tall – really tall. He is 6’ 9” and has a gleeful persona and nonstop delivery that keeps the audience on their toes. Travis riffed on narcoleptic girlfriends, pranking his taller brother, and the perils of his altitude-enhanced physique. My favorite line concerned him verbally supporting a new date during a girl’s conversation about breast feeding after a certain “bodily ornamental modification”.
I liked the way these two comedians contrasted with each other stylistically. Chase was clearly similar to George Carlin in the way he dropped an absurdity bomb and then let you have time to digest what he just said. Taking in Travis’s set is like drinking from a comedy fire hose – keep up and keep breathing if you can.
The Anacortes crowd slowly warmed up to these two talented comedians, and those who stayed for the entire show were well rewarded. I like that H2O is taking chances with our local entertainment options and hope to see this become a regular featured part of our nightlife in Skagit County.
Joel Askey, Photographer, Contributing Writer
In addition to writing for The SAM Project, Joel can be found aiming a lens at unsuspecting birds and musicians on any given weekend. Unless the northern lights show up, he is generally well rested and not irritable from lack of sleep.