San Luis Obispo is becoming a hub for standup comedians. With bigger name comedians such as Trevor Wallace and Bert Kreischer performing, as well as locals and students tapping in, the scene has taken off in the area.
Owner of the standup comedy company known as “You Had to be There” Ernest Romero has taken note of the recent comedy boom in SLO county.
“When I started there was not a single show being produced,” Romero said. “Now we have big name comedians who are coming through, whether it’s the Fremont, whether it’s the PAC. A lot of that is due to the local scene growing in general.”
Although the standup comedy scene is developing mainly on streaming services nationwide, Romero finds value in attending live shows.
“The best place you are ever going to see comedy is in a live show,” Romero says. “There’s nothing like it. It’s those moments actually being there present because when that happens, like somebody yells something that’s ridiculous and the comedian’s like ‘what did you just say?’”
With San Luis Obispo being filled with students and being a place that brings in fresh faces, he hopes the comedy hub can serve as a place for students to try out standup and get experience in the comedy industry.
“There needs to be a legitimate scene in order for them to be able to thrive and want to do [standup],” Romero said. “To be able to get up on shows … to be able to do open mics.”
Senior industrial engineering major and President of the Cal Poly Comedy Club Matt Salud finds comfort in making jokes on stage.
“On stage that’s really like the one place I don’t care what people think about me,” Salud says. “I have a job to do, is to make people laugh. I feel free on stage.”
Salud is following his passions in the San Luis Obispo area — fully immersing himself in the culture by participating in open mics on and off campus in the area. He finds value in performing standup shows in small towns like San Luis Obispo.
“It’s really hard to make it in L.A. or New York which is so oversaturated with comics.” Salud says. “Smaller towns like SLO it’s a great place to get exposure. Something I’ve noticed compared to L.A. is the open mics are substantially better here.”
The Cal Poly Comedy Club hosts open mics every Friday at 7:30pm in Phillips Hall and will soon be participating in the California Comedy Club Contest, or C.C.C.C.
“Each school’s four comics goes up, does like a 5 minute set,” Salud explained. “Each set is rated. And then whoever has the best collective rating between the four comics is the decided winner.”
The C.C.C.C. will be hosted by UCSB’s comedy club known as “Laughology ” on March 4 in Embarcadero Hall.
Other schools participating are UCLA’s comedy club “Shenanigans” and UC Riverside’s comedy club known as “The Comedy Closet.”