Over the past few decades, Boston has produced some stellar stand-up comics. Among others, comedians Gary Gulman, Marc Maron and Bill Burr all got their starts in the greater Boston area. There are still many opportunities to watch quality stand-up this year. Among these opportunities lies The Gas, a weekly comedy show at Great Scott in Allston.
Great Scott is a pretty easy venue to get to. It is accessible by taking either the subway or a combination of the subway and the bus. The subway is cheaper, but the combination route is significantly quicker. I took the T from Davis to Harvard and transferred to the 66 bus. From there, I rode the bus 14 stops to the intersection of Harvard Street and Commonwealth Avenue. The venue is within sight of the bus stop, so it was easy to find.
Great Scott’s comedy show is held every Friday night, starting at 7 p.m. There was a $5 entry fee, and audience members must be over 18 and able to present ID at the door. Once inside, you are immediately struck by the magical aura of this sticky dive bar. The lights are fairly dim, and the room was not at all crowded. There was also a fully accessible bathroom, a welcome contrast to the businesses downtown that guard their bathrooms like a dragon guards its hoard.
A little after 7 p.m., the show’s host, the consistently funny Rob Crean, got onstage to warm the audience up. He has a unique take on comedic phrasing, taking long pauses before many of his punchlines. He did pretty well warming the audience up for the next comic. Over the course of the evening, at least eight comics performed around 10 minutes of material each. The show is definitely cost-effective if you want to see a lot of comedy. The comics themselves ranged in style and personality, so there was something for everyone. The seating arrangement was very intimate. I was able to sit a few feet from the stage. Hearing comedy in a setting like this is much more pleasant than going to a huge amphitheater where the comic echoes through the place.
Although the size of the venue is great for comedy, it is important to bear in mind that comics might take smaller shows as an opportunity to try new material and some of the jokes may fall flat. It can be hard to feel comfortable in the deafening silence created by a failed joke. Hecklers are also an unfortunate reality of the show, and comics often have to stop what they’re doing to address the heckler. These are the universal truths of mid-level comedy, but The Gas at Great Scott is a must-see experience regardless. Its location, combined with the ambiance of the bar, makes me forget I’m a Tufts student relegated to a campus. For a couple hours on Friday evening, I’m a true Bostonian, sitting in a bar listening to jokes with everyone else. If being on campus ever feels constricting, The Gas at Great Scott is the perfect place to escape.