Shamrock Pub Is Hosting Pop-Up Comedy Nights
We know that McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute has cornered the market on local LOLs, but a little neighborhood pub down the street is spreading laughs, too, with a new stand-up comedy pop-up event to go along with that pint.
Derek Anderson, who has owned the Shamrock Pub for the past 15 years, says hosting comedy nights makes sense for the cozy space. “I always look for collaborations with our local community," he says. "We've done it with music and food, and this is another continuation of that.”
“Les [McCurdy, owner and founder of McCurdy’s], is the king of comedy so we’re not venturing into this full time. We’re just having a little fun,” he adds.
The idea came from local comic Tucker Lenora, who years ago worked at the pub with Anderson and now splits her time between Jacksonville and Sarasota.
A full-time Sarasota resident from 2012 to 2019, in May of this year, Lenora, 40, launched into stand-up comedy in Jacksonville, taking advantage of ample open mic nights and the freedom that comes with being unknown.
“Doing stand-up there is like stripping in a town that isn’t your hometown,” she says. Since then, she's started doing stand-up three times a week and wanted to share her capacity to crack people up with Sarasota. The first pop-up at the pub was on Aug. 27 and included Lenora, local comic Blake MacIntyre and Jacksonville comic John Vanno.
She invited all her Sarasota friends and posted about the show on social media platforms. Roughly 75 people showed up. A tip jar yielded $150 for the show, which lasted almost an hour-and-a-half. It was the first time Lenora did a 20-minute set, but “it felt really comfy, because I knew everyone in the crowd,” she says. (So much so that as part of her set, she said, “Everyone who has slept with me, raise a hand! But I don't want to cause a wave.”)
Jokes aside, Lenora's material—like many stand-ups'—is informed by her life’s anecdotes.
Lenora went to a seminary and was a missionary in South Africa at 21, has dated men and women, and has been pro and anti-choice. Her roommate committed suicide and she became an atheist. “It’s therapy. To get up on stage and make jokes about the situations in life that aren’t ideal—it’s empowering,” she says.
It’s something she always wanted to do. “I don’t care if I never listen to another song again. I listen to stand-up more than I listen to music. I also think it's important for more women to be involved–comedy is definitely a boy’s club,” she says.
And leaning into comedy reflects the change she wants to bring to that club.
“There's a demographic of people in Sarasota looking for entertainment that matches their experience—being a single mom, the housing crisis, being single in your 40s. There are so many experiences outside of the boomer crowd that people want to hear about without having to travel to Tampa,” she explains.
Plans are to organize the comedy pop-up at the Shamrock Pub quarterly, for now, and if it grows, perhaps move it to the larger The Mable Bar & Grill on Tamiami Trail. Lenora aims to work with local comedians and points to the open mic night at McCurdy's as a great way to get your feet wet. Sarasota comic C.P. Post, who organizes and performs stand-up every first Tuesday of the month at Teas Days, is also on the roster at Shamrock. For other local standup shows, check out the burgeoning comedy scene at the Bahi Hut.
“There are things happening in Sarasota with comedy, but they’re fledgling. A year from now, I think it’ll be more solidified,” Lenora says.
And if you’re funny, she wants to hear from you. “I'm excited to encourage others to do comedy, especially disenfranchised people who feel like they don't have a seat at the table. If you exist, someone in the crowd will relate to you,” she says.
Interested in performing? Contact Tucker Lenora with a live video of a past stand-up set. The next comedy pop-up is at Shamrock Pub, 2257 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, on Nov. 5, from 9 to roughly 10:20 p.m. and will feature Lenora, Post and Marcus Crespo of Jacksonville. There is no cover charge.