Hub City Comedy Club, started around six years ago, hosted an open mic event at The Porter Pub Oct. 6 in downtown Hattiesburg.
“I started this show because I wanted a local show filled with people that I thought were funny and wanted to hangout with – people I admire,”said English major and host Mallory Head.
The Porter Public House has supported Hub City Comedy since its opening last year by acting as a venue for open mic nights and advertising the events.
“The Porter is willing to do anything to help us out,” Head said. “The owner loves comedy.”
The club has exponentially expanded its voice in the Hattiesburg area over the past few years, according to Hub City Comedy Club founder Jamie Arrington.
Arrington had the idea to start Hub City Comedy six years ago while participating in a comedy battle with friend and comedian Mercer Morrison on local radio station Rock 104’s Comedy Battle.
Arrington and Morrison wanted to create a space for local comedians to practice, perform and enjoy their talents in Hattiesburg. This led to open mic nights.
“The process of writing a show really depends on the individual person,” Arrington said. “The first thing you have to do is practice, which is why open mic nights are great, and once you feel good about a joke, it goes into a set.”
Hub City Comedy Club not only hosts events to promote local performers, but they also strive to bring big name comedy to the Hattiesburg area.
Arrington said booking larger name comedians grew in a snowball effect. Once the club booked its first big show, it became simpler to get in contact with performers and bring Hattiesburg’s potential to the attention of comedians with large followings.
One of the club’s successful bookings was Hannibal Burress, a popular comedian, actor and writer featured in several Netflix specials.
“One of the comedians we booked, Sean Patton, described Hattiesburg as ‘the Austin of Mississippi,’” Arrington said. “There is just a lot of cool stuff going on around here that we want to bring attention to.”
A comedian with whom Arrington corresponded and booked in the past titled his book, “Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World,” which will be released in March 2017. This title was based on Arrington’s personal experience with Hattiesburg’s underground entertainment scene.
In July 2016, Hub City Comedy teamed up with a friend of Arrington’s to raise funds for cancer patients. The club hosted “Laughs for Life,” a comedy event at Hattiesburg’s Historic Downtown Saenger Theater, featuring Frank Caliendo, a comedian known for his impressions and who performs regularly on Comedy Central.
The event raised roughly $125,000, which was donated to the Forrest General Cancer Center and the International Myeloma Foundation.
“This will most definitely be an annual event from now on,” Arrington said.
Hub City Comedy Club has a very busy and bright future full of events for Hattiesburg comedy lovers.
Many comedy fans have been sticking around after the club’s weekly Monday night open mic shows at the Keg and Barrel for what Arrington referred to as “roasts” between the performers after their sets. This gave him the idea to make it into a whole show.
On Oct. 20, the Hub City Comedy Club will host The Roast of Hub City Comedy at the Thirsty Hippo. The lineup for this event is set to include performers Ben Compton, Brandon Phillips, Brittany Purvis, Daniel Palmer, David Smith, Deveron “D” Dennis, Jamie Arrington, Mallory Head and Mark Brooks and will be hosted by J. Evan Curry.
The event will begins at 8:00 p.m., and tickets will be sold for $10 at the door.
Hub City Comedy Club’s relations with Southern Miss is an important one according to Arrington.
“We have a lot of students like Mallory Head who come out and show their talents at our open mic nights. It’s a great way for them to get out there and practice,” Arrington said. “One of my biggest goals is to bring what comedy can offer to Mississippi.”