Sacramento’s newest improv and stand-up comedy club is celebrating its one-year anniversary by highlighting the artform that it’s named for – podcasts.
STAB! Comedy Theater opened June 1, 2018. From Friday through Sunday, STAB! will host the first Sac Pod Fest, an idea theater co-owner Jesse Jones said has been bouncing around for several years.
“When we opened the theater, we decided we had to claim this thing,” Jones said. “We were so surprised no one had done it yet.”
The lineup of Sac Pod Fest features a diverse range of comedy podcasts, with some traveling from New Orleans and Portland, Oregon, to take part.
Jones and co-owner John Morris Ross have been in the comedy scene of Sacramento for close to 30 years combined, Jones estimated. Their partnership first began with STAB!, a comedy writing podcast that served as inspiration for the name of their theater.
STAB!, the theater, was opened to let comedians in Sacramento put their most experimental ideas on stage.
“There’s a greater, larger comedy community in town that I always thought it was a shame that they didn’t get to interact with one another,” Jones said. “It’s a neutral ground where everyone can come play together.”
Since opening, STAB! has regularly featured live podcast recordings on its bill, including its namesake and others, most of which are featured in the Sac Pod Fest lineup.
A regularly scheduled podcast recorded live at STAB! is Phil My Heart, a show where stand-up comedians Drew Absher and Parker Newman recap episodes of “Dr. Phil,” often with the help of guests.
Absher and Newman both credit STAB! in part for the freedom they’ve had to create and improve their podcast, something they had both wanted to do for a long time. Absher, who also hosts open mics at STAB!, said podcasting is often more personal than stand up.
“When someone hates their desk job or is driving a long distance with a need of something to listen to, the podcast is kind of alongside with them,” Absher said.
Newman said the audiences typically drawn to STAB!, a smaller venue than most in town, are more receptive to the type of humor that comedians want to try.
“It’s pretty much the only comedy club in town where I feel comfortable being myself, in a sense, anywhere but on stage,” Newman said.
Chris Khatami, host of “Spec Script,” lives in Portland but due to family ties in the area, has been to STAB! twice since its opening. He said working with Jones and bringing his podcast to the theater has been among the easiest and most satisfying experiences in his career.
When Sac Pod Fest first started recruiting performers, Khatami invited other Portland groups to attend, several of which are now scheduled to perform.
“It’s nothing short of the most accommodating place in comedy,” Khatami said. “There’s like four Portland shows coming down, which may have been my fault.”
If you go
Sac Pod Fest
Where: STAB! Comedy Theater, 1710 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Friday through Sunday,
Cost: Tickets for individual shows cost $5; whole days cost $10 and a pass for the whole weekend is $25
Info and tickets: sacpodfest.com.