What to do tonight: Laugh off some calories before Thanksgiving with comedians at The BeerHive
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The night before Thanksgiving. Seriously, you can't find anything to do?
Well, first, be safe! Thanksgiving Eve is notorious for young people, home for the holiday weekend, hitting the clubs with old friends. It's all fun until somebody gets hurt.
Second, ask Mom if there's anything you can do to help her prepare for tomorrow. With any luck, there won't be any potatoes to peel or celery to chop -- and you'll score points just for asking.
Now, let's go have fun.
Here's a place you might not have tried yet. It's The BeerHive on Penn Avenue in the Strip District. Tonight is the big Thanksgiving Eve Comedy Showcase featuring four local luminaries of laughter.
One of them is almost like family: Sean Collier -- the son of Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier.
Sean, 27, is an editor with Pittsburgh Magazine and film critic for the WDVE Morning Show. After studying theater in college, he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy, something he'd seen his father doing for several years.
"It's good. I consider myself a writer first, but I really enjoy stand-up," he said. "I've always had the itch to perform and I've found a nice little niche for myself. I'm not someone who's looking to travel and do it on the road."
He performs locally a couple times a month and is pretty familiar with the other guys on The BeerHive stage tonight.
"The headliner is Mike Wysocki, who does tour and is a regular on the morning show," Sean Collier said. "Aaron Kleiber is the one who is organizing this. He hosts a couple of the open mikes in the area. One of the serious rising stars. And Tommy Kupiec is a rising star as well.
" It should be a really good show, especially for Thanksgiving Eve, when everybody's home and looking for something to do."
My point exactly. On a night like this, do you really want to see some jokester from "the Coast" riff on airport security? Of course not. Let's hear the local talent gripe about potholes.
"There's no shortage of material to be found in Pittsburgh, to put it politely," Sean said. "And I love it and I love talking about it and people seem to love hearing about it."
The BeerHive itself is a funny place. Just ask owner John Patterson.
"It always was kind of a dive bar," said Mr. Patterson, who opened it about two years ago with his younger brothers, Will Patterson and Joey Robl.
"It seemed like no one's been able to stay open for more than nine months in this spot. The place used to have a pretty bad reputation from what we can gather. People would panhandle outside and come in and buy beer."
Mr. Patterson used to own a video production company. His brothers are accountants.
"The three of us kind of decided we were sick of what we were doing and we wanted to work together," Mr. Patterson said.
They decided to open a bar.
"We happened to stumble across this place on Craig's List," Mr. Patterson said. "The rent actually was cheaper here than out near Oakmont-Verona, where we're from."
Job One was changing the bar's reputation. They've accomplished that, Mr. Patterson said, by focusing on craft beers.
"The old clientele quickly realized this wasn't their bar anymore and it's not the type of product they want," he said. "It took about three months to get rid of the old reputation. Now, we have a pretty laid-back environment. We haven't had any fights yet. We don't have the kind of people who get hammered and act ridiculous."
Seriously, how many Pittsburgh bars can say that?
"It was slow in the beginning, but we realized you have to have something going on here to get people to come," Mr. Patterson said. "The same beer that we get, you can get at a lot of other places. So we decided to try to have different events going on."
Hence the comedy nights on Wednesdays and the occasional trivia nights. Next month, The BeerHive will start having acoustic music nights.
"Not coming from this line of business, at first we didn't know quite what we were doing," Mr. Patterson said. "But we knew we were hard working and we kept at it and we're figuring it out."
Maybe they'll figure out that when you offer a fun lineup of comedians, you ought to charge a cover. But since that hasn't happened yet, you can stop in tonight for free. The BeerHive is at 2117 Penn Ave., and the show starts at 8 p.m.
First Published November 21, 2012 3:31 pm