When Jerry Evans, who runs Alaska Comedy, finally thought it was the right time to bring live comedy back to Fairbanks, he not only wanted to do it safely, he wanted to make it something really special.
“I, along with Fairbanks comedy fans and nationally headlining comedian Lachlan Patterson, am preparing to make comedy history twice, in two different ways,” Evans said.
Since Alaska was the first state to license on-site marijuana consumption, and the only state-sanctioned lounge is Good Titrations here in Fairbanks, his plan is to make history with the first professional comedy show at the first on-site consumption lounge in the country.
“We’re talking weed/comedy history in the making,” he said. “And we’re doing it with a hilarious and weed-friendly ‘Tonight Show’ veteran, Lachlan Patterson.”
Patterson is stoked.
“As a regular marijuana user, it’s rare that I’m first at anything,” he said. “I feel like the Neil Armstrong of comedy, only the moon is a lounge where I can smoke pot.”
Good Titrations’ lounge only seats 50 to 60 people, so that show quickly sold out, Evans said. But there are several other shows scheduled next week.
OK, that’s one instance of making comedy history. What’s next?
“I’ve been working with Donnie Hayes at Pioneer Park to do our Friday and Saturday shows as safely as possible while still trying to be accommodating as possible,” Evans said. Both shows will be held at The Pioneer Park Theater (officially known as The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts), at less than half capacity. For Friday’s show, proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or negative test results (taken within 72 hours of showtime) will be required for each member of the audience, while for Saturday’s show, CDC guidelines are suggested, but not mandatory.
Ummm, comedy history?
“Right,” Evans said, clearly excited about the prospect. “Alcohol has always been allowed to be served and consumed on the Exhibit Hall side of the Centennial Center, or in the lobby area of the theater, but not inside the actual theater. Well, we’re making history by being the first public performance that will allow alcoholic drinks to be brought into the theater to be consumed during a performance.”
Hayes, Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation director, said that while reviewing similar rentals in borough facilities “we have found that alcohol was acceptable when a user group went through the appropriate steps and approvals.”
According to local theatrical legend (since 1975) and former Palace Saloon Boom-de-yay Boy, Steven Mitchell, “When FDA presented plays there, a cordoned area in the lobby functioned as a designated alcohol consumption area. Drinks could not be taken into the theater.” Sandra Madsen concurs, “I was in FLOT, and believe beverages were served in what we called the Green Room, but nothing was allowed in the theater itself.” She did add “That’s been decades, wouldn’t want to swear to anything.”
Hayes said he is excited to have comedy shows returning to the Centennial Center for the Arts. “What a great way to gather with friends and family and to forget our troubles for an evening,” he said.
Attempted history-making aside, Evans said he’s excited about bringing live comedy back to Fairbanks.
“I was very picky in choosing which national comedian to offer our first live show in 20 months,” he said. “I’m so amped that Fairbanks favorite Lachlan Patterson was available, He’s so funny, so likable, and totally weed-friendly.”
In addition to “The Tonight Show,” Patterson was a finalist on “Last Comic Standing”; his own special, “Comedy Central Presents: Lachlan Patterson”; “Live at Gotham”; Fox hit comedy “Punchline”; FX’s “Legit”; Comedy Central’s “TOSH.O”; and much more. When he was last in Fairbanks, Patterson mentored the annual Funny Fest.
“I love coming to Fairbanks,” Patterson said. “The people are open and ready to laugh. I know it’s been a long time since most folks have gone to see live comedy, so I’m really looking forward to getting up there and giving ‘em some well-deserved chuckles.”
Evans and fellow local comedian “Glenner” Anderson will be opening.
If You Go
What: Stand-up comedy with Lachlan Patterson
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at Good Titrations — sold out
• 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, Pioneer Park Theater (Vaxxed/tested mandatory show)
• 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 Pioneer Park Theater (CDC Guidelines are suggested)
FYI: Friday and Saturday’s Pioneer Park shows will be limited to less than half of theater capacity. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $25 and available online at AKTickets.com. More information and tickets at AlaskaComedy.com.