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Laugh It Up — NWA Online

December 29th, 2011

This may be remem­bered as the year the com­edy scene exploded in North­west Arkansas. Although the standup scene in the area has enjoyed many brief bursts of atten­tion before, it found renewed growth this year.

Just this year, all of the sud­den, it came out of nowhere,” says Roger Haak, pub­lic events coor­di­na­tor for the UARK Bowl event cen­ter on Dick­son Street, which books many com­edy acts.

The scene grew on many lev­els this year, from those per­form­ing their first-ever sets to those whose names can be found reg­u­larly on mar­quees and in tele­vised specials.

After host­ing a sim­i­lar event at another Fayet­teville club, local come­dian Troy Git­tings early this year launched an all-comedy open mic night at West End in Fayet­teville. Each Tues­day night, about a half dozen ama­teur come­di­ans of var­i­ous tal­ent lev­els and styles gather to tell jokes.

Git­tings also orga­nizes the Fools on Parade com­edy team, a group of standup come­di­ansthat have per­formed sev­eral times at the UARK Bowl, the de facto home for com­edy in the area. Sim­i­larly, the Expend­ables of Com­edy, a group headed by local come­dian Mar­cus Lane, has played var­i­ous venues in Fayet­teville, Fort Smith and elsewhere.

Mean­while, Haak says that longer-established acts such as the Phun­bags improv com­edy troupe have expe­ri­enced a con­sid­er­able bump in atten­dance this year.

Haak says the UARK will host more com­edy shows in the future, both with local­tal­ent and bud­ding national tal­ent, such as was the case with recent shows by tour­ing tal­ents Paul Hooper and Rory Scovel. Those are the kind of names that could soon end up on mar­quees, he says.

Already at that level are come­di­ans such as Larry Miller and Ron White, both of whom per­formed at the Wal­ton Arts Cen­ter this year.

White sold out two May dates at the 1,200-seat venue.

The momen­tum isn’t stop­ping soon. The arts cen­ter already has national tal­ents Brian Regan and Louis Black on the cal­en­dar for January.”

Whats Up, Pages 12 on 12/23/2011
–Source NWA Online