By George Basler
The Boho Comedy Club opened four months ago at the DoubleTree Hotel in Binghamton with the laudable goal of bringing community residents some laughs.
Since then, it’s established a niche in the community, hosting four stand-up comedy shows a month, often to sold-out audiences, and endeavoring to sustain the vision of one of its founders, the late Giordi DeAngelo.
DeAngelo wanted to create “a positive vibe” through humor, his widow, Stephanie DeAngelo, said. “He had a presence bigger than life. He was full of love and laughter.”
However, DeAngelo didn’t live to see his vision become a reality. He died suddenly — two months before the club opened — at age 27.
In the wake of this unexpected death, the other two founders, Bill Lake and Michael Ciurzynski, carried on with the plan of bringing professional comics to the region to ply their trade. Dropping the idea wasn’t an option, said Stephanie, who remains involved with club. “It was important for all of us to keep it going,” she said.
The Boho’s next two shows are Jan. 18. Ciurzynski will perform along with headliner Glen Tickle (no kidding, that’s his name), a New Jersey-based comedian and comic writer who has performed in venues throughout the Northeast.
The idea for the club grew out of comedy shows that Lake, Ciurzynski and DeAngelo began staging in 2016 at various venues throughout the community. The name Boho is a shortened version of Bohemian Traveling Artists, Ciurzynski explained. (Both Ciurzynski and Lake do stand-up comedy themselves, although they haven’t surrendered their day jobs of high school English teacher and freelance writer, respectively.)
The original plan was to continue staging regular “pop up” shows at various locations. But that changed when the DoubleTree, which hosted two sold-out shows last February, made space available at the hotel. Organizers built a small stage, put in lights and installed a mosaic created by Jablon Studios. “The relationship is a great one,” Stephanie DeAngelo said.
Tickle is typical of the comics being booked by Boho’s founders. “They’re not household names yet, but they are on the brink of being known nationally,” Lake said. The comics have performed at clubs in New York City, and some have made appearances on late night television shows. Their acts run the gamut from family friendly to more in your face (Boho patrons must be 18 years of age or older).
“We’re picky in terms of quality. We know the people who come to our shows and aim to give them what they like,” Ciurzynski said.
Still, the club is a gamble, the founders acknowledge. While the DoubleTree is providing the space, organizers are responsible for booking, promotion and advertising. The main question was, “Can we go from a show every few months to getting people here twice a month? Do we have enough of a base?” Lake said.
So far support has been there. About half of the shows have sold out, and the club is drawing repeat customers. It’s holding its own financially although, Ciurzynski joked, “we haven’t bought a plane yet.”
One of the club’s features is a warm, homey atmosphere, Stephanie DeAngelo said. Organizers hang artwork on the walls before every show. They also move some antique chairs to the back of the room for some customers. Food and drinks are available.
An immediate goal is “to sustain what we’re doing,” DeAngelo said. A more long-term goal is to bring in bigger name performers, but that will depend on financial considerations. Organizers know they must manage expenses and keep ticket prices reasonable.
Her late husband’s vision was to make people laugh, because, when you laugh, you feel good about yourself, DeAngelo said. “He is bringing laughter still,” she concluded.
IF YOU GO: The Boho Comedy Club is located in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 225 Water St., Binghamton. The club’s next two shows are at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Jan. 18. Tickets are $20 apiece. Other upcoming shows are 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 and 15 and March 14.
Looking for more laughs? Kelly’s Sports Bar, 102 Page Ave., Endicott, hosts an open night for comedians on Tuesdays, starting around 7:30 p.m.