As a kid, Eugene-based stand-up comedian Seth Milstein watched Saturday Night Live religiously. “I thought it was the greatest,” Milstein recalls of NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show.
Then one night Milstein, who grew up in New York, stayed up late enough to catch Comic Strip Live, a late night TV stand-up comedy showcase popular in the ’80s and ’90s. “It was just a guy and a microphone,” Milstein describes. “That was amazing to me.”
“I was always terrified of public speaking,” Milstein continues. Nevertheless, he dreamed of trying stand-up comedy. It took until he was in his 30s to finally get up the nerve. “The first time I got a laugh on stage I was like, ‘Oh, I just do this now,” he says.
Now Milstein performs all the time. “I go up five times a week usually,” he says. Milstein hosts and participates in comedy open mics at local venues like Luckey’s, The Green Room and The Wandering Goat. He says each comedy show appeals to different types of people, and performers are pretty diverse — all part of a local comedy scene Milstein says is “growing.”
“We’re all weirdos,” Milstein jokes. “That’s Eugene. But it’s a weird that I chose. If you’re a fan of comedy, you’re going to have a good time.”
In addition to local open mics, Brickwall Comedy Club, inside Kowloons at 2222 MLK Blvd., hosts comedy shows from touring acts, and more big name comedians are booking into Eugene’s larger venues like the Hult Center and McDonald Theatre. There are also regular comedy nights at smaller venues like Wayward Lamb, The Barn Light and Sam Bond’s Garage.
“Any known comic coming through here is a good thing,” Milstein says. So even if you’re just a person who’s always been “funny at parties,” curious to try your hand with comedy on-stage, Milstein encourages you to give it a shot and come out for an open mic. “I say go for it,” he says. “Maybe you are that kind of funny.”
Amusedays! Comedy Night with Seth Milstein is 9 pm every Tuesday at Luckey’s Cigar Club, 933 Olive St.; sign-up at 8:30 pm, 21-plus. The Green Room Comedy Open Mic, hosted by Michael Sevigny, is 8:30 pm every Thursday at The Green Room next to Doc’s Pad, 710 Willamette St.; sign-up at 8 pm, 21-plus.
7 pm Thursday, Nov. 3
Hult Center • All Ages
8 pm Saturday, Jan. 14
Hult Center • All Ages
8 pm Thursday, March 2
McDonald Theatre • All Ages