ALL JENNY ZIGRINO WANTS is more stage time. “Have you ever done stand-up? It’s like a drug,” she says. “It’s like cocaine. All you want to do is get onstage.”
Zigrino, who is 26, has been honing her craft in Cambridge and Boston for five years. She’s gotten really funny and has developed a warm, weird comedic voice that doesn’t sound like anyone else’s. One time she got to open for Tom Green at the Wilbur Theatre. Other than that she’s mostly played tiny rooms that don’t pay, and the occasional Elks Lodge that does.
Lately Zigrino has been on the edge of her seat. Like a lot of young comics in Boston, she is awaiting the coming summer with a mix of anxiety and anticipation, wondering whether everything that’s been wrong with the comedy scene here is finally about to change.
What those young comics have been waiting for is the arrival of Laugh Boston, a comedy club that will host stand-up five nights a week when it opens in June in the Seaport District. Conceived by John Tobin, a booker at Nick’s Comedy Stop in Chinatown, and Chet Harding and Norm Laviolette, owners of the North End’s Improv Asylum, the new club’s defining feature will be nothing more complicated than its size: With a capacity of about 300 people, it will be able to attract national acts that for years have not had a place to perform in Boston because they’re too big for small rooms like Nick’s, which seats 140, and not nearly big enough for the Wilbur, which seats about 1,100.
The fact that there’s nothing in between — and hasn’t been since the nearly 500-seat Comedy Connection closed in 2008 — has meant that rising stars from around the country who have built national followings but aren’t yet household names just don’t come to Boston. As Sean Sullivan, 29, explains it, the economics of playing a room like Nick’s just don’t make sense for people from out of town who could fill twice as many seats. “It’s not that they don’t want to play here,” says Sullivan, who performs regularly in small clubs in Cambridge and Boston, “but no one can take the financial risk associated with it.”
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