Local comedian says laughter needed in Summerville

Joshua Bates

This is my interview with Comedian Joshua Bates, host/producer, “Is This Art? Part III Stand Up Comedy Show.”

I noticed this comedy event, which is produced in part by the Flowertown Players, and thought, well, comedy is a stand-up performance art form and would thus make a good article. In case you were wondering, Josh is not related to Courtney Bates, the executive director of Flowertown Players.

Regan: Tell us about this upcoming comedy show? How did this collaboration come about?

Bates: I realized early on that all the comedy shows and open mic nights were elsewhere. Summerville deserved some comedy. I brought the idea of a charity showcase to Flowertown Players. We would raise money for a local charity--the Center for Women--and bring a bunch of talented comedians to Summerville for one night. It went so well, we decided to keep going. This upcoming show will be our third iteration. Instead of performing, I’m now the host, and I book different comedic acts, both local and regional. So, if you’ve come to the show before, come again because it will be an entirely different set of comedians. This time, we are also excited to have an improv group from Savannah and one of Atlanta’s hottest new comics, Dedrick Flynn.

R: How long have you been involved with (writing) and performing comedy?

B: I have been doing stand-up comedy for about a year now. I started by going to open mic nights around town and learning more about the craft of writing comedy and performing it. Having a theatre background helped a bit, but they are distant uncles.

R: What is your background?

B: I grew up in the theatre, both performing and directing my whole life. After I retired from the military, my family and I moved to Summerville and I got involved with Flowertown Players, directing a few shows there. I have been doing stand-up all over the Carolinas and Georgia, opening for the likes of Jason Allen King and Def Jam’s Tony Tone. I recently performed at the Charleston Comedy Festival and I host “Is This Art?” as well as the open mic, “The Wine Down” here in Summerville.

R: Would you say that being a comedian is as hard, if not harder, than being an actor? Or, similar challenges?

B: Acting is a team sport as the success and failure of a production lies on the cast and crew. Comedy is a one-person show and production team. In stand-up you, are the actor, the writer, the producer, and the director.

R: Who do you believe is the most talented comedian that you’ve learned from or been inspired by?

B: There are so many to choose from locally. Joseph Coker is a comedy rock star, an amazing guy to see before he makes it big. We call Keith Dee (host of Creekside Comedy in West Ashley) the Comedy Dad, as he shares the love and wants everyone to succeed. Bill Davis is a comedy veteran. Bill knows everyone and he knows what’s funny.

For more information, go to https://www.FlowertownPlayers.org/special-events.

Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com.

R: Do you feel this region has a lot of local comedic talent?

B: The comedy scene in the Charleston area is amazing. There are so many talented comedians and I’m honored to be learning from them daily. It’s a booming art in the low country and it is finding its fanbase. Our first Open Mic at Wine & Tapas was packed. People are raving about this show — tickets are going fast. There is a definite need and want for comedy here!

R: Advice for aspiring comedy artists?

B: Just get up on stage and try it out. It takes practice and work, just like any other art form. Watch other local comedians as nothing beats learning from live comedy.

R: What are the Flowertown Players plans for future area comedy shows?

B: Right now, Is This Art? is every other month. In the future, we may change it to monthly. My goal is always to showcase local talent, but we hope to bring in some major national comedians later in the year. I also host a monthly open mic at the Wine & Tapas bar called The Wine Down. A perfect place to hear the comedians crafting new jokes and gives anyone a chance for their comedy start. You can follow me at joshbatescomedy.com or on Instagram: @joshbatescomedy to keep up to date on local shows and comedy happenings.

For more information, go to https://www.FlowertownPlayers.org/special-events.

Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com.