There are lots of different kinds of laughter, from the guffaw and snicker to the cackle and snort. And that one where your face swells up like a doofy peach and you start crying, but the harder you try to control it the worse it gets, and you double over clutching your stomach because you forget to breathe. The latter version happened to me recently at Monday Night Live.
MNL is a monthly local sketch comedy showcase at Wild Goose Creative, and there’s nothing else in Columbus quite like it. The brainchild of Travis Hoewischer, it began in the spring of 2010 as a variety show with skits and live music. In December of 2012, Hoewischer passed the baton to the Asbestos Crew, whose members have performed in MNL since its inception. It now features local celebrity guest hosts and a barrage of current events fodder designed to make your gut bust.
“I really love the way this show knits together the Columbus creative community,” Hoewischer said. “You know you can count on MNL to be funny and original at every show. I'm very proud of what it's become.”
The latest MNL was hosted by restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner and explored hipster ghosts, old geezers, reality shows, Scooby Doo, John Kasich and Jeni’s Ice Cream. My favorite moments involved dramatic interpretations of real-life local Yelp reviews, and an expertly crafted spoof of BBC World News reports about silverback gorillas.
“Monday Night Live is story telling,” said Gandee. “It's like indoor camping, and we’re the fire.”
MNL hasn’t repeated any of its comedy sketches in the past four years. All of its content is original and no two shows are the same. This is the result of a lot of writing—and rewriting—of jokes. Most of the show's close-knit group of cast members and contributors are stand-up comics or character actors. They don't do MNL for the money, as proceeds pay for props and venue rentals. They just believe in the community of comedy.
“We strived to make this the best comedy show in Columbus, and I think we've done it,” Gandee said.
MNL takes place on the second Monday of each month at Wild Goose Creative. Admission is $5. It’s BYOB and there’s often free beer on hand (for those of drinking age), thanks to a rotating group of local beer sponsors. A Best of Monday Night Live Comedy Super Show will take place at MadLab on February 21-22.