The Cleveland comedy scene has grown enough in recent years that describing it as "burgeoning" doesn't really do it justice. It's arrived in full force.
No matter the night of the week, no matter whether you're in search of a touring comic or a local open mic, there's somewhere to go and someone to make you laugh. A bountiful host of comics with names you know well – the Mike Polks, the Bill Squires – and others you're just learning keep the chuckles coming all over town.
Adam Richard is a name you should know.
The 25-year-old Medina native spends his days as a camp director for adults and kids with disabilities. He spends his nights at the mic.
"I realized about a year ago that standup is what I want to do," he says. "And the Cleveland scene is great because people are consistently coming to shows and those shows are well run. When you have that kind of community rooting for you and supporting you, you can go onstage and work on material and find your voice. It's nice to do an open mic and know that you're not just working in front of a bunch of cynical comics. The Cleveland community is awesome."
Richard's journey is not entirely unique – he always liked making people laugh, parents said he was the happiest kid ever, etc. – but committing to the craft isn't something every funny kid does. Richard is all in.
"One show really sticks out," he says. "I did 15 minutes at Great Lakes and my parents were there and I did really well. I think it solidified the idea of comedy for my parents, that this is something I have a lot of potential for."
Ramon Rivas, who runs chucklefuck, has given Richards opportunity to host shows at Reddstone, Similarly, guys like Jim Tews, who has since moved on to New York, embody that friendly, helpful face that encourages young comedians to do their thing.
"I would not have been able to grow as a comedian without them," he says. "And it's great having them in the area because they're still grinding it out too. I just got accepted to do a comedy festival in Columbus and when I asked Mike Polk if he'd be a reference, he said yes. Those guys are here and helping us all get better."