Comedy traveled up North to start the spring in style, bringing five local comics to the top floor of the Ziegfeld Theater—aptly named The Loft—in Ogden as part of a new monthly event. The lineup for the night included such local comedic favorites as Tommy Milagro, Marcus Whisler, Jason Harvey and Melissa Merlot, as well as introducing a relative newcomer to the stage, Calvin Dittmore. Our generous host for the evening was owner and comedy-lover Quinn Kapetanov, keeping things fun and running right on schedule.
If you don’t mind a little travel time from Salt Lake City to our infamous sister city up north, The Loft in Ogden is a great, and more than affordable venue for comedy. The show started promptly at 7 p.m. with about two dozen comedy fans in attendance, which was about perfect for the intimate setting. The whole place looked and felt like a comedy speak-easy, and the password was simply a fiver. The whole vibe from the crowd was a good one—they were there to pay attention and laugh at some jokes. This is not your normal comedy audience: no bar distractions, no drunken hecklers, no loud college kids. The starting lineup each brought 15 minutes of material, and were met with a warm reception.
Starting the night was newcomer Calvin Dittmore. Though he’s fresh on the scene for Utah comedy, Dittmore has a long background in improv and his stage presence did not disappoint. Being originally from Utah, he’s now just returned home from living in L.A. He compared his journey to the beloved Disney movie Homeward Bound, which he watches in order to “feel emotions.” Dittmore looks like such a clean cut, exceptional young man, like any honor student, which was surprising when he went on to compare nursing homes to The Walking Dead. He’s a big fan of zombie jokes, as were the audience, and this would be a more than welcome theme for the night. The audience was rolling in laughter as he finished his set up by talking about a seedy Hollywood strip club called Jumbo’s, complete with scary clown décor and bruised up, B-rate strippers.
Next up was SLC veteran comic Tommy Milagro, right at home and able to make jokes about his half-Mexican, half-German heritage. He made a few well deserved and on-point jabs at the local Ogden police department. They are the only ones who would automatically assume he’s part “brown,” as he’s the self-proclaimed “whitest brown guy you’ll ever meet.” Tequila is Milagro’s medicine of choice. He’s got a drinking and buying problem, and he knows that there are much scarier things in this world than a haunted house—like a downtown Salt Lake City Walmart. Following Milagro was the one-and-only Marcus Whisler who brought out his guitar and wooed the crowd with his epic song-writing. He dedicated his first song to all the hot girls in the audience, one that was about “diverse shit,” in quite the literal sense. Whisler threw back to Dittmore with an ode to gentleman’s clubs called “Beta Male,” and then he finished up with his crowd favorite about strange and unknown encounters after a night of heavy drinking entitled “Where’s the Cat?” For first-timers seeing Whisler, this one adds in audience participation, including a Spanish verse where you get to yell out, “¿Cual gato?”
Continuing the action was featured comic Jason Harvey, spouting his love for old people and their trusty scooters. He has apparently put extensive thought into geriatric coitus, and ladies, he’s single. Harvey does wish that old people would remember cooler things, with some interesting and mixed results. From old people we move on to strippers, another theme for the night. We explore interesting real estate opportunities, like the strip club in Ogden that’s next to a gun store. Strippers make more than comedians in monetary compensation, which is a sad fact we all learned, and these dancing girls have made Harvey a firm believer in evolution, but that is a story you’d have to hear directly from him to really “grasp” it. He went on to provide some brilliant comedic gems like running a daycare on ecstasy, his take on werewolves and the irony of American Eagle Outfitters. Once he let the audience in on his favorite combination of words, he became a little worried he might be a really bad person (for the record, those words are “orphan funeral”). Harvey is always raw, always funny and extremely unique in his thought process, this set was no exception.
Finishing up the night was headliner Melissa Merlot, in a fancy Selfie T-shirt that was actually pretty cool. She’s got some good theories on beverage pairings, and I learned that coffee is great for showers, but wine is more of a soaking-in-the-tub drink. For those not in the know, Merlot is an avid reality TV fan, and she’s formed some interesting ideas about human biology from watching 19 Kids and Counting. Hearing this, I’ll never think of tents, camping or the stretchiness of female lady bits the same ever again. Dating in the digital age is always humorous for Merlot, trading sexy pictures “like pogs” that get sent to her. Like Harvey, she’s possibly in the market for an elderly partner, but she’s firmly against going into it for the money. She is strictly into dating much, much older men with viable internal organs. Her philosophy on improving the financial state of this country involves using de-motivational pictures on credit cards, and it is brilliant. You can typically see Melissa Merlot featuring and hosting shows each month all over the Salt Lake Valley, as well as ask her for more financial tips on saving money.
A trip up to Ogden has never felt more worth it on a Thursday night. If you can make the jaunt, or you’re one of our Northern neighbors, do not hesitate checking out comedy nights at The Loft. There will be a new line-up on the last Thursday of each month featuring an 18+ show. The cost is $5 cash at the door, and the audience is welcome to BYOB if they are of the appropriate age. The Ziegfeld Theater and The Loft are located right next door to a tasty food and ice cream spot, and there is ample parking (which is always a selling point for those of us used to hostile SLC parking). The shows are hosted by owner Quinn Kapetanov and produced with the help of another Utah funny-man, Steve Uribe. The Loft is also home to Off The Wall Comedy improv. Details and future show information can be found at Ogdencomedy.com.