By Kevin Collison
Barrel of the Bottoms is a recording studio with a sense of humor on the side.
Now in its second year, the venture in the historic Hobbs building offers space for creatives to write and record, while doubling as a comedy club with weekly open improv sessions for aspiring amateurs and professional shows a couple times a month.
The Barrel was rolled out in September 2017 by Stephen Taylor, Cary McRoberts, Dane Bedder and Ryan Riggs.
Taylor arrived in Kansas City from the Shreveport, La. three years ago.
“I moved here for a job and started doing comedy and got obsessed with it,” Taylor said. “I’ve always been funny, it’s easy for me to make people laugh.”
He was sitting in the loft occupied by Barrel on the fourth floor of the Hobbs building at 1427 W. Ninth St. It felt like a cozy living room looking out at a stage backed by a vivid mural.
During the day, the big room is a “creative makers” space used primarily by writers. Next door is a recording studio with a large table and chairs, primarily used for podcasts and other voice work.
For $100 per month, members can have access to the work space and recording studio as well as improv classes. The studio is not set up for music recording though.
The laughs begin each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. That’s when there’s a free open mic improv session called Comedy Nut.” Taylor said aspiring comedians pull a random topic and then riff from that.
Paid comedians perform a couple times a month. The performance space seats about 50 people and the admission ranges from $10 to $20. A couple of recent acts were Reena Calm out of Chicago and Sam Tallent from Denver.
Taylor said shows usually go about two hours and have proven popular, with most selling out.
The next performance will be “Christmas Break” with Shanna Christmas, a Las Vegas comedian. The show will be at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 17.
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