Big laughs coming to Williamsport this July

PHOTOS PROVIDED Comedian Charlie Vergos, shown above, will be doing a stand-up comedy routine in Williamsport on July 31.

Need a good laugh?

The Comedy Shop will be bringing touring comedian Charlie Vergos to the city for an 8 p.m. show at Morrone’s Pub, 200 E Fourth St., on July 31. Other comedians performing include Zack Hammond, Dan Hoppel, and Eddie Kiersnowski.

Vergos, who is a regular on the comedy festival scene, makes the stop in Williamsport on his “Personal Space” tour. He has performed many times at stand-up staples like the Laugh Factory and Zanie’s in Chicago, and recently moved from the Midwest to New York City.

“This will be my first time in Williamsport and I’m super excited,” Vergos said. “One of my favorite parts of comedy is getting to travel to places that aren’t necessarily mentioned all the time on hip travel blogs and having the locals show me a great time. For instance, I had a blast at a show a couple years ago in Ocean Springs, MS, and now I tell everybody they have to stop there. I hope that happens with Willi­amsport.”

Having grown up in Memphis, TN, Vergos said he always loved stand-up comedy but didn’t feel like his world and experiences were necessarily being reflected by the caricature-type comedians that often came through the south when he was young.

“I felt like every southern comedian was either a cartoon redneck or was the type that moved away, lost their accent and wrote off the entire region,” Vergos said. “I feel like my comedy explores the fun middle ground between those two extremes. Like, yeah I bring a reusable bag to the grocery store but I got it from a fried chicken joint.

“My folks ran a barbecue restaurant in Memphis that I grew up working in, and I think just the sheer amount of time I spent people-watching there is my biggest influence,” he added, noting that he also draws influence from comedians like Rory Scovel, Sean Patton, Jon Dore and Bill Bailey.

Though The Comedy Shop has helped host several stand-up shows at various locations throughout Williamsport, this is the first time the organization has teamed up with Morrone’s Pub for an event.

“I don’t really know what to expect in terms of atmosphere, but I’m excited to work with them,” said Kevin Seibert who helped organize, and will also be hosting, the event. “They’ve been very supportive and helpful with setting everything up. It’s always a pleasure to work with people who are enthusiastic about hosting comedy, so I’m sure it will be great.”

Vergos is also excited about the venue, as he thinks that playing at the bar should make him feel right at home.

“Every comedian sta­rts off doing open mics in the backs of bars, so even though I’ve done clubs and theaters and basements of Thai restaurants since starting out, performing in a bar will be like home court,” said Vergos.

Surprisingly, Seibert said it was actually Vergos who reached out to him about playing a show in Williamsport, and not the other way around. After seeing some of his material online, Seibert was excited to have The Comedy Club help bring Vergos to the city.

“He heard about us from another comedian who has worked with us in the past — John Dick Winters of Pittsburgh. My friend and fellow comedian, Eddie Kiersnowski, lined things up with Morrone’s Pub,” Seibert said. “I’m excited to see Charlie’s act in its entirety and expand on the clips he originally sent through e-mail. The lineup we put together is incredibly solid, too.”

Among those opening the show for Vergos will be Scranton-based comedian Zack Hammond, who also tours up and down the east coast. Hammond, whose biggest influences include George Carlin, Christopher Titus and Doug Stanhope, has been performing in the comedy circuit for a decade.

“I started in college. My friends knew I wanted to try it and one night they convinced me to sign up for an open mic and I (wasn’t good),” Ham­mond said. “But, like an idiot, I kept going back and improved.

“I’ll joke about anything,” he added. “If I can find an angle to make something funny I won’t shy away from it. I enjoy pointing out the absurdity of dark and taboo subjects. My brain just gravitates towards dark subjects and I’m not going to stop it.”

Doors for the show open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free.