A! Magazine for the Arts

Shawn Carter

Shawn Carter

New comedy club opens in Bristol in July

June 28, 2021

When Shawn Carter and his wife, Sarah Morgan, set out on a cross-country tour, they didn’t know that they would run into a pandemic, find a new home and open a comedy club.

“My lovely wife and I had actually sold everything we owned and moved into a RV for a cross country road trip right before the pandemic started.I had planned a cross country tour with shows all over, and we were going to visit friends and family, see national parks and generally check out parts of the country as we went. Sarah works remotely for a software company in Boston and was planning to work from the road. Luckily our first stop was Bristol, Tennessee, where her parents still live, and they were kind enough to let us stay with them for a while.Eventually we decided we liked it here so much that we should stay.

So, we bought a house and started looking for a space where we could start our very own comedy club. When we found a space in downtown Bristol that looked like it could work as a full-time comedy club, I jumped at the opportunity, and I’m hoping that we’ll see a lot of creative people that would like to get involved and try their hand at making people laugh,” Carter says.
He spent the last decade in Boston hosting and producing comedy shows in bars and restaurants.He says he loves comedy and the community that grows around a regular show.

As part of that community, he also teaches. His Introduction to Stand-up begins Sept. 1.

“The first time I stepped on stage was on a dare. My friend thought I was funny and dared me to go on at a Monday night open mic. I had such stage-fright, but it ended up being a great time, and I was hooked on comedy after that first show.

“Teaching came as a result of hosting an open mic for so long, new comedians started asking me for help writing.It made sense to create a structured class, and I got a lot of guidance on how to do that from friends of mine in the Boston comedy community,” he says.

Carter says that while he enjoys teaching, he 100 percent prefers performing.

“It’s fun to see comedians develop and to see the growth and the excitement but there really is nothing quite like being up on stage in front of a group of strangers and getting them all to laugh at material that you’ve worked on and polished over the course of several months or years,” he says.

His new club, Blue Ridge Comedy Club, is in the back of 620 State Street. He will have Open Mic Wednesdays, Local Showcase Thursdays, Touring Comedian Fridays and Saturdays and Live Podcast Recording Sundays. The weekend shows are filled with comedians who have written for and performed on late night TV, Comedy Central and HBO.

Opening weekend is July 9 and 10. Shows are held at 7:30 and 10 p.m. and tickets are $20. Doors open 15 minutes prior to the show.

“We have three comedians on the bill for our opening weekend. Our headliner, Andrew Mayer, has performed at comedy festivals all over the country, he has two albums that can be heard on SiriusXM radio, and he is a winner of the Boston International Comedy Festival. Our middle act, John Baglio, is a terrific comedian and a great road trip companion as we’ve traveled hundreds of miles together. And our opener, Bryan Morton, is the first comedian friend I made in Bristol and the winner of the Tri-Cities Funniest Person Competition. I think it’s going to be a great way to kick off what promises to be a fun summer of comedy,” Carter says.

Initially, the club will serve light food and beer. For more information, visit www.blueridgecomedy.com.