Ten years ago, newly-sober Andy Gold went to his first open mic at Wiseguys Comedy Club. Now, he’s doing what he can to support a place that became a second home to him during a difficult transitional time.
As the potential impact of venue closures began to hit home last week, several local comedians began communicating online about how to support the more than 70 staff members at the three Utah Wiseguys locations. Gold launched a GoFundMe campaign
with a goal of $10,000 to support those staffers. Staff members are making individual decisions about whether to make themselves eligible for this support, as some have other sources of income or a partner who helps support the household.
“I guess I thought, ‘That’s one area where I can do something helpful,’” Gold says. “It’s given me something constructive to do in my evenings, to keep me from going stir crazy.”
While Gold acknowledges that stand-up comics themselves are also going to face financial hardship as a result of closed clubs, he didn’t want to do fundraising that would be self-serving. Nevertheless, it’s a difficult time for a creative form that’s all about interacting with an audience, no matter what other outlets people create for virtual platforms. “Comedy without an audience, to me, is like air guitar,” Gold says. (Several local comedians have been participating in streaming evening shows from Wiseguys via the club's Facebook page
So for now, he chooses to focus on help supporting a place that has supported him. “The club’s a special place to all of us comics,” he says. “[The fund-raiser] has been one energizing thing in this whole shitty mess. I’m happy to have something to do other than just watch shows about the end of the world.”