Monday Night Comedy at Bela Dubby
It’s about 8:00 on Monday night. The place is Bela Dubby, located at 13321 Madison Ave. and it’s packed to the brim. You grab yourself a cup of coffee or a bottle from a very nice selection of micro-brews and pull up a seat.
The first comic takes the mic, and it’s a rough start. He fumbles a bit, wavers back and forth with nerves, and alerts the audience, “and… we’re at the punch line. No one’s laughing…” But as the night moves along, the talent level dramatically increases. And that’s as it should be. Monday nights at Bela Dubby is a sort of testing ground for local comics. The event is affectionately known as “Chuckle F*ck” and is co-hosted by Jim Tews and Ramon.
Jim has been doing comedy here in the Cleveland area for about 6 and a half years. Born in Pennsylvania, he moved here while serving in the Coast Guard and began pursuing stand up comedy gigs anywhere he could. At first he would drive back to Philadelphia every weekend to do comedy, but then he started doing amateur night at Improv. These gigs led to Jim getting noticed at Hilarities where he was offered hosting gigs every couple of months. This is where his MC career began.
Chuckle F*ck started about two and a half years ago as the brainchild of Carrie Callahan. Four or five people every week would come together at Bela Dubby and perform comedy and poetry. It was always amateur, but it was never totally open mic. Carrie would seek people out and give them a chance to cut their teeth in front of a live audience. But after six months, she moved to Chicago and passed the torch on to Jim. Jim, not knowing many people outside of the comedy scene, made the event strictly comedy and has had great success with it.
It’s a truly fun (and free!) way to spend a Monday night. Ramon sits to the side of the stage with a microphone and his computer while Jim takes center stage to warm up the audience. They make a good team: Jim’s wit is well balanced by Ramon’s dry, slightly off-center remarks. After a few minutes the first comic steps up and anything goes. There are a wide variety of acts that come across the stage at Bela Dubby. You may see someone go up with a banjo and sing about her near-albino husband. You might see an act that ends with something as strange as, “Call me old-fashioned, but when I buy a girl dinner, all I want is for her to poop it out.” Even a local alcoholic made semi-regular intoxicated appearances at one point. Or you might see some folks who have appeared on Comedy Central’s Last Comic Standing and seriously know how to work a crowd. Have you seen the “Oh Christmas Ale” music video? That’s Jim Tews and fellow Chuckle F*ck regular Mike Polk.
You never quite know what you’re going to run into and that’s part of the fun of going. Jim views it as a “progressive and modern comedy show.” To mix things up, every few weeks, he brings in a projector and shows shorts to the audience; the kind of things you’d normally only expect to see on a medium like YouTube.
Jim’s favorite part about Chuckle F*ck is the clubhouse atmosphere. There are comics who perform nearly every week and audience members who are just as loyal. Because of this dynamic, that means that nearly every week you’re guaranteed to see new material. It’s always fresh and exciting. And have I mentioned it’s free?