An evening out filled with laughter, drinks, entertainment and free parking is now all within a short drive for Southern Maryland residents.
The comedy club, House of Comedy, opened its doors to the public last week. Housed in Middleton Hall in Waldorf, the club brags ample seating, food and drink service, free parking and the opportunity to see renowned comedians perform without traveling to Washington, D.C.
“Undoubtedly, it was needed,” co-owner Tracy Wiggs said about bringing comedy to the county. “At the end of the day, by the time [co-owner Darnell Dinkins and I] talked it over, for a few weeks, it’s the only thing that made sense.”
Coming from the entertainment and management industry, Wiggs and Dinkins first had the idea of opening their own comedy club over 20 years ago, Dinkins said. “Our failures resulted in this dream of us building something ourselves,” he said. During those years, they “never lost sight of the dream” but made sure to take care of their other responsibilities, Wiggs said. “You make the time. The things that you want, you make the time.”
Now, after the work and time had been put in, House of Comedy is open for its second weekend of entertainment. This Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, features Pierre Edwards. The comedy club held its soft opening last Wednesday, July 3, where hosts Lawrence Owens and Stacey Carver performed.
“I’m really glad I’m a part of what’s about to happen in this area,” Owens said, who has been working with Wiggs since about 2005. “We need more comedy clubs. We need more black comedy clubs, a black-owned comedy club, and it’s just a place where people can just come and enjoy themselves.” Owens will host the second and fourth weekends of the month, and Carver the first and third weekends.
New comedians are welcomed to the stage every weekend, and, Wiggs said, the club hopes to feature at least one comedian from the Mid-Atlantic region every month. Since there are many famous comedians from the area, Wiggs said, “our No. 1 plan was to bring, make sure we bring all of them back.” These include Teddy Carpenter, who performed last weekend, and Cocoa Brown who starred in Tyler Perry’s “The Single Mom’s Club” and is slated to perform in late October. According to the House of Comedy’s website, future comedians will also include Drew Frasier, Tony Woods, Skiba and Jay Lamont who all appeared on Comedy Central; Nate Jackson of Nick Cannon’s “Wild’n Out”; and Mike Brooks who opened for Dave Chappelle.
“We as two black men, our greatest goal was to be able to procure talent that comes from our community which would allow us to hire people from the community which hopefully contribute to helping [to] change the community,” Dinkins said.
Besides bringing nationally-known names to Charles County, the House of Comedy will serve a variety of food — cooked by Middleton Hall’s Executive Chef Kendall Selby — that’s scheduled to change every month, Wiggs said, and specialty cocktails such as the “Eddie Murphy Long Island Iced Tea,” “The Richard Pryor Sidecar” and the “Ciroc Obama.” A two-drink minimum is mandatory.
Dinkins and Wiggs said they have plans to grow to include special themed shows such as ladies night, clean comedy and Christian comedy; adding music, poetry and improv; co-hosting events; and bringing classes focusing on comedy, acting and business entertainment to schools.
They also plan on adding discounts for civil service workers, military members and seniors. “It’s another way for me just to give back,” Wiggs said.
House of Comedy’s schedule and full list of comedian can be found on its website: www.houseofcomedymd.com/.
“I’m very excited because the area needs it. We all need it,” Owens said. “We all need to laugh. Who doesn’t want a good laugh?”