Blue Dome Welcomes Comedy Theatre
By EMILY RAMSEY
SOMETHING FUNNY: Co-Owner of the Comedy Parlor Jason Watts stands outside of the 75-seat theatre to open in September in the Blue Dome District. The theatre will feature stand-up, sketch and improvisational acts.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Jason Watts and Nicole Vance believe the timing and the location are just right to bring a local comedy theatre to downtown Tulsa.
The Comedy Parlor will be located in the Blue Dome District at 328 East 1st Place in a space well-situated for foot traffic: between El Guapo and S&J Oyster, down the street from McNellie’s, around the corner from The Max and Joe Momma’s—you get the picture.
Shows at the Comedy Parlor will fall into one of three categories—stand-up, sketch or improvisation—and most performances will clock in at about an hour, a time frame that Watts expects to fit well in the highly-frequented entertainment district.
“People aren’t going to be here for two hours,” Watts says. “They may come in for a 1-hour show and then go bowling or play arcade games. Our show can be included as a part of the evening, not the whole evening.”
As for food and drink, there will be beer and wine options and a concession stand. “People wondered why we are keeping it (the theatre) so small without a full bar. But there’s already plenty of that down here,” says Watts.
Clearly, his focus is on spotlighting the performers, particularly local talent—a strong indicator of Watts’ background. Watts has been performing all his life, starting with his role as a worm in his second-grade play. “I did ‘the worm’ on the ground and got a big laugh and that was it for me,” he says.
Improv is a newer form of comedy that Watts says mirrors life—”we’re always making decisions without knowing exactly what we’re faced with”—and a reaction game, like soccer or basketball. “You have to place yourself in the right position to react to what’s happening,” he says. “It’s about watching those connections being made and seeing how they cause things to move forward.”
Watts hopes to provide local improv troupes and other comedy acts a regular performance venue in an effort to nurture local talent and grow Tulsa’s comedy scene. While his heart is honestly in improv, he admits, he plans to feature a variety of comedic acts, including stand-up. “Stand-up is hard,” he says, “and I have lots of respect for those people. They are entertaining you just with themselves and a microphone.”
The venue will also feature occasional regional and national touring acts and offer classes and rental opportunities for corporate events.