Charleston comedy club Theatre 99 back to in-person improv shows | Charleston Scene

Laveta Brigham

Charleston’s Meeting Street comedy club above the Bicycle Shoppe has been brainstorming ways to keep the laughs flowing during a stressful year.  Theatre 99 pivoted to virtual “Laugh Streams” and also began offering an opportunity to book the space for small private comedy shows on weekends, when there would normally […]

Charleston’s Meeting Street comedy club above the Bicycle Shoppe has been brainstorming ways to keep the laughs flowing during a stressful year. 

Theatre 99 pivoted to virtual “Laugh Streams” and also began offering an opportunity to book the space for small private comedy shows on weekends, when there would normally be ticketed performances with crowded seats.

According to Theatre 99 founder Brandy Sullivan, those 25-capacity private shows have been a successful pivot and really one of the only ways to make money during the pandemic other than online classes. The theater has hosted 50 private gigs this year, she said. 

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“Those have been great for our sanity,” said Sullivan. “They make us feel normal.” 

But now, Theatre 99’s Wednesday night improv show is back, live and in-person. It’s called “Improv Strikes Back,” and starts at 8 p.m. 

There will be a $10 cover, but instead of the club’s usual cash-only rule, tickets must be purchased in advance online. The bar, however, only accepts cash or local checks. 

There’s a limit of 30 attendees in the 130-capacity space, assigned seating will be socially distanced and masks are required for audience members at all times.

“We’re not as loose as, say, a restaurant, where you sit down and take your mask off at the table,” said Sullivan. “We do the ‘keep your mask on, take a swig of your drink and then wrap it back around your ear’ thing here.” 

Theatre 99’s rotating improv ensemble, limited to four performers per show, will be taking the stage and accepting audience suggestions for bits. It’s all unscripted, a little like 2020. 

The Have Nots!, featuring the founders of Theatre 99 including Sullivan, are also slated for an improv night on Nov. 28, the first of a weekly Saturday night show that will resume. Tickets for that event, which are $20, can be purchased in advance online at etix.com/ticket/p/6650807/improv-strikes-back-charleston-theatre-99.

“We want the theater to survive,” said Sullivan. “So when folks come out, we tell them, ‘thanks for being a part of our survival story.'” 

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

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