Life is heavy these days, but there’s a lighthearted series launching today, Thursday, Mar. 24, that is sure to make you laugh out loud. Beggar’s Banquet is hosting a weekly comedy show night every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The series, “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers,” is hosted by two local comedians, Alaina Bamfield and Pat Sievert.
Sievert has been doing comedy for over a decade with his first set at the ‘late, great’ Connxtions Comedy Club in 2012.
“Since then, I have done shows at clubs and indie venues all over Michigan, the Midwest, and occasionally places as far away as California and Alaska,” he said. “I used to help run the popular Mac’s Monday Comedy Night at Mac’s Bar from 2012 until 2020, and I recorded an album at Mac’s in 2019.”
Bamfield began comedy in November 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was difficult to stay on top of comedy during quarantine, but I kept writing as much as I could and started my solo podcast, “Leave Me Alone.” Since starting two years ago, I have performed in clubs across the Midwest, and as far across the country as Texas and California,” she said.
Growing up watching Comedy Central in middle school, Sievert says stand-up and sketch comedy shaped his sense of humor and how he viewed the world.
“I was always trying to make my friends laugh. I was very introverted in those days, but I knew by the end of high school I wanted to try stand-up. I tried a few times in college, and then in 2012 when I was 30, I jumped in and haven’t looked back.” Sievert was given the title of the Funniest Person in Grand Rapids in 2019.
For Bamfield, heartache led to a need for a comedy outlet. It wasn’t until she watched “Whitney Cummings: Money Shot,” that Bamfield thought comedy could be a real possibility. In 2019, Bamfield had her first comedy set at Mac’s Bar, recalling how it was the first time she felt like a “real comic.”
“Since then, I’ve been very proud to work with the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase as an emcee, as well as the Laughing Tap in Milwaukee,” she said. “I did my first comedy festival fall 2021, and performed at the Savage Henry Comedy Festival.”
Locally, Sievert describes the comedy community as full of a lot of great talent, many veteran comedians as well as first-timers. Bamfield says the scene is very talented, too.
In an effort to give stage time back to comedians, these two comedians joined forces to create “Beggars Can’t be Choosers.” Bamfield, who began working with Beggar’s Banquet in fall of 2021, says her managers and co-workers would patronize local spots like Crunchy’s for the Monday open mic to support her.
“When the owner said he wanted to hold live events, they brought the idea of an open mic night to me. The rest is history,” she said.
The weekly comedy series, held every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Beggar’s Banquet, will be pre-booked in advance. Interested comedians can message the Beggars Can’t Be Choosers Comedy Show Facebook page for more info, or to sign up for a 10-minute slot.
Bamfield hopes the series serves as a place where local talent can take their ideas to a stage.
“The point of an open mic is to get a gauge on how your material is working,” she said. “It’s important that the show is consistent each week, while also allowing room for new comics to sign up and foster growth. If the community has fun while we do it, even better.”
“I personally hope to see comics honing their craft and getting better with each appearance,” Sievert said of the show, which contains adult language and themes.
“Hopefully, we will have a place for comics to try out new material and have fun while doing it,” Bamfield says. “Beggar’s Banquet has been the home of a good time since ‘73, and we intend to keep that reputation with consistent shows and hilarious comedy.”