Last week on a rainy Friday night in December, in Providence, Rhode Island, people were lined up outside of the Columbus Theatre on Broadway. It wasn't for a film or a band and they haven't shown porno here since the late nineties. This time it was for something new to the venue, Stand-up Comedy! It was the first comedy show at the Theater, ever! I know I just delivered the news like an over excited sixteen year old girl furiously texting gossip, like, OMG, no way? But YES WAY, indeed. And who else to bring his DIY comedy revolution to our state of Oceans but none other thanEugene Mirman?
The Columbus Theatre in Providence on Broadway was established in 1926. The first film showed there was "La Boheme (1926)" The building changed hands quite a bit and even suffered a one time name change to, The Uptown Theatre. It continued through to the sixties and was host to various Italian Stage Plays, Musical Events and Italian movies, due to it's Federal Hill location. The Columbus took it's rightful name back in 1962 and started showing films again. In 1965 the Theatre was split into two levels and was the first "Twin Cinema" in Providence, RI. It was also around that time that the management noticed that Adult Fair was bringing in the most money and the the Theatre showed Adult Sex Movies for the next thirty years or so. In 2001 it returned with first run Art-House cinema but again closed due to insufficient funding.
The Columbus Theatre is back and just as great as ever! They seemed to have returned to their Art-House roots. 2013 has seen the re-re-re-reopening of this Theatre. They have hosted live bands like "Boo City" and even a live Q and A with actor Crispin Glover. All in the up stairs theatre. The last show on the Main Stage was in January 2013 for The Revival of the space. I got to see myself on their "big screen" in 2009 during the 48 Hour Film Festival. In a seven minute short called "Sex Addicts: A Comedy." So I appeared almost nude in an old seedy theatre. Add that to this show and the bucket list just gets shorter! I owe it all to this historic building.
Eugene was affable and told stories from the road as well as his life in New York. He also shares his internet life with us by bringing print outs of his twitter pranks and other social media interactions. As well as a letter to a state office about a ridiculous parking law. Mirman also brought along a video of a pilot he had filmed for Comedy Central called, "Eugene." He assured us not to worry because it would never be a show. It was a sketch show and as if the network you were watching was called, Eugene. There were many programming parodies and guest appearances from some of Eugene's funny friends. I would watch that! At the end of his set Eugene announced his priest hood from an online site and unofficially married a young couple in the audience with some joke vows.
This was a great show. I can't say it enough. It was refreshing to see such a historic building returned to it's roots. The show captured the spirit of the art scene and the minds of the audience. I hope you enjoyed all of the links and information, click around and keep an eye out for these guys in your town and on TV. And try to catch a show at the Columbus this time around. You never know how many comebacks a place may have.