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Friday, June 20, 2008

Drinking and Laughter Cancel Each Other Out

Categories: The IU Student Perspective

Here's another entry from our intrepid young "nightlife intern" who recently discovered something that past alumni and local residents have been enjoying for decades . . .

Laugh – to show emotion (as mirth, joy, or scorn) with a chuckle or explosive vocal sound. "laugh." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

To laugh is possibly one of the most peculiar of all human responses.  Every year, Hollywood racks in millions and millions of dollars on movies that help facilitate this wonderful activity.  But with movie theater ticket prices on the rise, who wants to pay eight or more dollars on a movie when the funniest parts can be seen in TV commercials?  Even worst, I have yet to find a movie theater that helps ease the cravings for one of Bloomington's favorite enjoyments, a fine alcoholic beverage. I believe trendy Bloomingtonian's deserve better!  But where in Bloomington, might you ask, can someone find first class, knee slapping, abs of steel laughter, and a cocktail that makes your face look like the sun is in your eyes?  Well my friends, I believe I just might have the answer for you, "Comedy Caravan."

Comedy Caravan is the longest running one night comedy show in the country and it takes place right here in Bloomington every Monday and Saturday night at Bear's Place, 1316 E. 3rd Street.  Bear's Place is a Bloomington tradition and has been hosting Comedy Caravan for over 23 years.  Within those 23 years they have hosted a myriad of up and coming comedians. USA Today, in their article titled "10 Great Places to Sit Down and Watch Stand Up," had this to say about Bear's Place and Comedy Caravan:

 "We have to include a one nighter, "the staple of comic road warriors everywhere."  This one, just outside of Indiana University's campus, presents it's "Comedy Caravan" only two nights a week, but it gets packed, and anybody who's anybody has played there-there are pictures of them on the walls."

 As you first enter Bear's Place and you walk down the aisles of dark wooden booths that line your path, you can't help but get the feeling that you've just entered someplace special. The pictures that were mentioned deck the walls of the final passageway into the small theater. The faces of world-class comedians stare down at you while you wait in line. A sort of nostalgic reflection takes you over while you look at the faces of two decades of stand up comedians, and wonder if the comic you are about to see will one day take over his or her own sit-com or headline for an HBO stand up special.

I am truly embarrassed to say that I experienced Comedy Caravan for the very first time this last Monday. A couple of friends and I decided that after four years singing karaoke at Bear's, it was finally time to enjoy their one-of-a-kind Bloomington tradition, the stand up comedy show.  Luckily we came thirsty; this is because Bear's offers another local tradition, "the Hairy Bear."  I don't know if they named the beverage this because after you drink it, your chest looks like it could put Tom Selleck to shame, or if it's because you would probably wrestle a bear if they were native to Indiana, but either way, it's potent, cheap, and halfway through it, delicious.  They offered three comedians and they were all hilarious. Bear's also offers a great menu. I recommend the sandwiches; they are cheap in price, but high on taste.

So, the next time you are free on a Monday or Saturday night, give Bear's Place/Comedy Caravan a try. Tickets are only five dollars on Monday and seven on Saturday, and as long as you like great food, a great atmosphere, long traditions, strong drinks, the smell of an old pub and laughing till your stomach hurts, you won't regret it. Order a Hairy Bear and don't worry about the negative effects that a potent beverage can have on the body, because laughter has been proven to reduce stress, strengthen your internal muscles and heart, increase your threshold for pain, reduce your appetite and increase social development between people. Case in point, I'm not a doctor and in no way am I qualified to make this statement, but I'm pretty sure laughing cancels out drinking, so just have a good time!  Oh yeah, and don't forget to go early, this is a very popular activity, and seats can fill up fast.        

Tosha Daugherty

Tosha Daugherty

Tosha was the primary contributor to the B-town Blog during her tenure as content coordinator. Her blogs covered a number of topics, from family activities to outdoor excursions.