Contributed by Jennifer Heaney
Trolley Square was bustling on the April 24 opening night of the new Wiseguys location; it took quite a while to find parking. I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to eat at the restaurant downstairs before the show.
As I walked inside, employees were buzzing all around me, dashing to the bar or hurrying to take customers upstairs. Owner Keith Stubbs was arguing with a girl about why they really needed to know how many tickets they had sold; it was looking like they oversold the show. He was polite and excited, though, when he stopped to shake hands.
With only about 10 minutes until showtime, I was lucky to actually find a seat along the back. There were several round tables in the room, all full of people. The rest were sitting on stools lining the walls, or just standing. A waitress came quickly and I was able to get a drink order in right away. I was excited for the full bar -- and from the looks of it, so was everyone else. I was immediately disappointed when I saw how small my glass was, but completely blown away at how strong it tasted. I decided to just be happy that it was a real drink.
Even though the place was packed, my waitress got back to me quickly for my food order. I wasn’t impressed with anything on the restaurant menu, and chose a cheeseburger; I figured it was a safe pick for the first night at a brand new restaurant. Fortunately, it was one of the best tasting burgers I’ve ever eaten.
This new Wiseguys definitely has some bugs to work out. The speakers need to be louder and spread throughout the room, and the lights on the comedian need to be toned down. Stubbs warned me about the sound beforehand: “We’ve only tested the microphone in an empty room. We have no idea how it’s going to sound with people inside”. This was the most worried I remember seeing him.
The comedians were mostly familiar local guys, with Marcus headlining. I will say this about Marcus: If you’ve written him off as a Dane Cook wannabe, he definitely deserves another chance. Coming in second on Last Comic Standing and touring for the last six months has really polished his routine. Gone are almost all of the “1000 voices” he used to use as his catch phrase. His road stories were amazingly funny. He actually performed an act that included a demon raping a unicorn, and smoking pot and watching the Discovery Channel for six hours, with a 10-year old girl sitting in the front row. He handled it with the confidence of a pro, and it became the longest, funniest joke of an impressive opening night.