Local Comedians Say Goodbye To Dr. Grins (For Now)
Over 200 people jammed into the third floor club at the BOB Wednesday evening to bid it on a fond farewell, until it finds a new home.
For almost 25 years, Dr. Grins was THE place for stand up comedy in Grand Rapids, attracting big names like Mark Normand, Kelsey Cook, John Heffron, Doug Stanhope, Chelsea Handler, Greg Fitzsimmons, Bobcat Goldthwait, Steve-O, Roy Wood Jr., Big Jay Oakerson, Nikki Glaser, Kevin Nealon, Pauly Shore, Jessimae Peluso, and many more.
Over that time, events like LaughFest have brought even bigger names into town, exciting West Michigan's passion for stand up comedy.
Where once Dr. Grin's was one of the few places to offer an open mic for young comics to ply their craft, now their are several venues around town that offer free comedy nights for area people to get up in try their hand at one of the most difficult things to do in the entertainment field: stand up comedy.
But with the BOB being bought out and turned into God knows what, the club is vacating its third floor loft, and as of this writing, talking about eventually finding a new location, which means shutting down their doors as of January 1.
To that end, 21 local stand up comics jumped up in front a packed house Wednesday night in what was referred to as the "Last Laugh", a showcase allowing comedians, many who got their start at Grins, to say goodbye.
"There's a good vibe here tonight," said Mike Logan, one of the performers before the show. "I really like it."
And there certainly was a positive feeling through out the big room. It was a sense of community of both comedians and fans of comedy in the old warehouse loft as the performers raced through close to three hours of three to seven minute sets.
Some like Matt Cook and David Dyer, were emotional saying good bye, others like crowd favorite Adam Van Kuik, shot through line after line of material, providing belly laughs of appreciation.
"We appreciated the opportunity Grins gave us with the open mics, but it was also a goal of the people who did open mics to make it to the main stage of Grins on the weekends as either a feature act or a headline," Allen Trieu told me on the air Tuesday morning. "If we could get to that point, we knew we were achieving something."
Dyer, in a Facebook post Thursday morning recalled what the club meant to him coming up and becoming a nationally know road comic.
Last night was amazing...I was able to spend time with comedians that I've known for years and I was able to see young comics that I’ve never seen and I loved every single minute of it. It was like witnessing the evolution of a comedic career in one show in one night...I pined nostalgic at the end of my set because I’m going to miss @drgrins. A huge chunk of my career has been developed there and while we'll all be sad to see it go, I certainly understand the owner’s decision. ...I walk away with nothing but incredibly fond memories of this place. Thank you to everybody who came out to see the show and to Josh and the wonderful staff at the club AND Jamison Yoder and the gang at Funny Business.
Another comic, Adam Degi also penned some heart felt words:
Dr. Grin's at The BOB was the first comedy club I ever performed in. The first club I was ever paid to do a show. The first place I was in a comedy competition, the first place I won a comedy competition. The first place my dad watched me do comedy, and the last. The first place my brother watched me do comedy, and my sister. My mom has watched me perform their more times than I can count and somehow it’s not one of two places I’ve blacked out on stage in front of her. Sorry Alice.
I never thought in a million years Grins wouldn’t be there. It always has been. After good sets, after bad sets. After bad weeks on the road, after good weeks on the road. After break-ups. After my dad passed away. After cancer. Grins had a lot of incredible regulars and Grins was a ‘regular’ in my life!
So many incredible friends, so many incredible memories. All the incredible managers, assistant managers, and staff. So many amazing comedians. House MCs, Hosts filling in, Features, and Headliners. So many fun roasts, and FPIGR nights. So many amazing shows. Even late Friday, and early Saturday.
Dr. Grins has been a huge, gigantic, monumental part of my life as a comedian and big part of my personal life. This really, really, really sucks. They brought in the most credit comics in the state every year by far. They really did a great job of making comics earn opportunities there. That’s a good thing. If you really wanted it, and deserved it, and you were funny, and you weren’t a dick, you were rewarded...I’ll miss this place.
Dr. Grins will remain open through New Years Eve, with Nathan MacIntosh performing this weekend, and Johnny Beehner December 30 and 31.
In the meantime, several spots around town have started to fill in the gaps, and there's still a burgeoning comedy scene here in town, so there's no reason to stop laughing.
Local Comics Perform at Dr. Grins' "Last Laugh"