The Joke Factory comedy club opens with a success in High Point

By Jodi Guglielmi, A&E Editor

February 20, 2013

dustin-diamondThe room was filled with laughter as the comedians took the stage at the grand opening of the Joke Factory located in the High Point Plaza and Conference Center.

The club, though small, created a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There were a handful of tables that could fit four to six people accompanied by a bar and a few booths.

Though the tables were harder to get if you arrived late, the Joke Factory made up for it by setting up a few chairs along side of stage. My friend Kirsten Hight and I took one of these seats.

With the average age of the audience ranging from 30-50, we knew the second we sat down that we would be picked on…and we were right. Because the club was on the smaller side it gave the comedians the liberty to interact with the audience. This gave the club a more intimate feel. Everybody was able to be apart of the show, whether they wanted to or not.

Artie Fletcher took the stage as the opening act and wasted no time in getting to know the audience. Immediately noticing the only two college girls sitting in the front row, Fletcher thrived off the opportunity to use some college humor to get laughs. Making jokes about the town of High Point, he turned to us for support in his claims and observations.

Fletcher then went on to make some economic and relationship-centered jokes, pulling in the rest of the audience. With Valentine’s Day having just passed, Fletcher expressed his feelings for the holiday. Getting the males’ support from the crowd, he was able to release some feelings about gift giving and the art of receiving.

As one table became increasingly loud and disruptive during Fletchers acts, he tried to play off of it. He would make jokes at the drunken people’s expense and essentially made them the stars of the show for the second half of his act. What made it the most funny was that the people at the table really had no idea what was going on.

However, as they got louder and more disruptive than funny, the bouncer eventually had to escort them out of the club. Fletcher noted that in his many years of doing stand-up comedy, that this was the first time anyone had ever been kicked out mid-performance.

Leaving the stage on a high note, Fletcher was able to seamlessly introduce the headline comedian. Describing him as the “dark prince of comedy” Dustin Diamond ran on stage full of energy and excitement.

Immediately noting that most people probably only knew him from his famous role as “Screech” in the popular 90s show “Saved By The Bell,” Diamond started off with a few jokes at his own expense. Making fun of the show, it was interesting to look around and see everyone’s reactions. Those familiar with the show were cracking up as Diamond made fun of the other characters, but others just looked as if they were a little bit frightened thinking, “Oh no, Screech is bitter.”

Claiming that he never really grew out of the awkward “Screech” stage, Diamond attributed that to his immature and rather adolescent sense of humor. He was not lying when he said crude humor was his favorite.

By this point in the show, most people were on their second or third drink of the night from the bar. This means that everyone was a little loosened up and, as you can imagine, they all became a bit more outgoing with their reactions to jokes. While this had the potential to be disastrous, the audience interaction really added to the warm and intimate atmosphere of the club.

As Diamond began to make crude jokes about people and relationships, he would stop ever so often to turn to Kirsten and me and explain “terms” he was discussing. This was hilarious to the other audience members as they got to watch us turn red with embarrassment. The worst was when he would ask us direct questions that we were either too embarrassed to answer, or couldn’t form an answer due to laughing so hard.

It was interesting being the youngest people there because at certain times in both acts, we noticed the rest of the audience looking at us for our reactions. It was almost as if they weren’t sure if they should laugh or not until we did.

Because this was the last act of the night, Diamond used his time to his advantage. Performing for almost an hour, Diamond tried out some old and new jokes on everyone. Even though his jokes were of a certain nature, he kept the audience comfortable and engaged for the entire hour.

Both Fletcher and Diamond were hilarious. Their material was raw, and aside from some of the dirtier jokes, it was very relatable. Everyone in the audience left with a smile on their face.

Aside from the tickets being 20 dollars at the door, a bit on the expensive side for a college student, the Joke Factory could be the perfect place to go on a weekend with friends. Even though the average age in the club was older, gathering a group of friends could easily change that in a second. This could become the new hot spot for kids looking to get off campus every once in a while.

The Joke Factory was a night full of laughs and no disappointments. I highly recommend checking it out.

For more information and to see upcoming performances, go to http://www.jokefactorycomedyclub.com.