Monday, August 15, 2011

Things to Do: Riot Act Comedy Theater

Last week, I was scrolling through my timeline and came across a contest for free tickets for a new comedy club called Riot Act that was opening up in DC. I entered to win and was notified a few days later that I'd gotten tickets for their pre-opening night on Wednesday, August 10. Unfortunately, I already had plans by then so I couldn't make it.

Fast forward to the next day, one of my new favorite websites, Venga, had a promotion where they were giving out 50 tickets per day for Riot Act's opening weekend. So I decided to try my luck again. Since I also shared the promotion via Facebook and Twitter I ended up receiving a second tickets for the Saturday 10:30pm performance.

We got there early because you never know what the parking situation is going to look like in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area, but fortunately we lucked out. The Riot Act Comedy Theater is located at the corner of 8th and E Streets NW.

When we walked in we were warmly greeted by all of the staff and were handed our tickets. They had a bustling bar on the main level with plenty of hi-tops and stools for seating but we decided to head downstairs to check out the showroom to stake our claim to some seats.

There was another bar downstairs that was way less crowded but since we could order in the showroom we decided to just take a seat while they were so plentiful. A host showed us to our table which was on the second row in front of the stage. There was one to the left of the stage but I know how comedians are, so I didn't want to take a chance at getting dragged into the act.

As soon as we were seated our waitress came over, introduced herself and was there to serve us. Our drinks came within 5 minutes and the pulled pork sliders I ordered arrives within 10. How's that for speedy service!

By 10:25 all of the seats were filled, even the other 2 seats at our table. I didn't mind sharing a table because it was a comedy show not some intimate, romantic dinner.

The show began around 10:35 and there were 3 performances, each one equally inappropriate but I love that kind of humor so I laughed the entire time. It started with an MC, Jimmy Meritt, who was absolutely hilarious. Up next was John Betz, Jr who was equally as funny. He even took time out at the end to hawk his comedy DVD that he happily proclaimed "I made myself."

The headliner, Charles Fleischer, came on around 11:30. We he first walked out I didn't know what to expect. He was older and kind of strange looking but after 5 minutes I caught onto his style. During his 45 minute performance, he picked on the 12 people who were seated in the front row, just as I suspected would happen. By the end of the performance he made his way to a keyboard that was on stage and effortlessly made a song out of what each of his "victims" did for a living. He rounded out the performance by also playing the harmonica. I truly was not ready!

Something worth noting, unlike other comedy clubs in the area they didn't require a minimum purchase, so there weren't any people there harassing you throughout the entire show to buy something. So glad they don't operate like that.

Overall, I was impressed with Riot Act. The venue is centrally located, the staff was warm and inviting, the food and drinks were tasty. Usually opening weekends are a little shaky but not at Riot Act. Everyone was professional and on-point. What more could you ask for?

Promotion Alert: When you buy a Riot Act t-shirt, you will get in free for their Tuesday night, Open Mic performances. Not bad!

Some of their upcoming acts include: Todd Rex, Dick Gregory (yes the Dick Gregory), Michael Brooks, and Paul Mooney. For a complete listing and more information, check out their website

I'll definitely be back. Hope to see you there!

Riot Act Comedy
801 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Twitter: @riotactcomedy

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