Caffeine is the most widely used addictive upper in the world, a fact that is not lost on the folks at Black Bear Coffee in Hendersonville. But they also understand that laughter is still the best medicine. That’s why Black Bear’s talent booker, Raphael Morales, has teamed up with local entertainer and comedian Curtis McCarley to add a jolt of funny to the coffee shop’s menu.
“It’s been a number of years since stand-up has been attempted in Hendersonville,” says McCarley, “and it hasn’t been all too long since a comedy scene emerged in Asheville. Ralph was interested in branching out past just music, and this was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up. It’s been very well received so far by the community.”
The new shows, which take place almost every month, each feature a different headliner. McCarley has performed, as well as popular Southeastern comedians including Tom Emmons of Greenville and Drew Davis from Nashville. He reports that Hendersonville audiences are an “absolute delight,” and that the first show maxed out the venue’s occupancy limit. “I couldn’t have imagined a better first-headlining experience,” he says. “Practically all ages were present and represented. So far the turnout is a fun-loving, ready-to-laugh, smart crowd.”
McCarley, who also goes by the stage name Curtis Mac, describes his own signature style as a mix of “experiential narrative and observational comedy, with a mild flair for the absurd.”
Audiences seem to enjoy his brand of funny, too — especially his story of when he blew himself up at the age of 19, while incinerating a can of Lysol. He also successfully puts a comedic spin on what he describes as a “brief taste of jail life over a misunderstanding.”
Black Bear Coffee wants to bring stand-up to the public as often as possible, and is committed to the pursuit of quality over quantity. “The stage isn’t going to be open to just anyone, but established comics that people will enjoy,” McCarley says. “We’ve decided to go with the classic format,” he explains, “with four openers at 15 minutes apiece, a feature who gets approximately 25-30 minutes, and the headliner who gets 45-55 minutes. The entire evening runs approximately two-and-a-half hours.”
Under Black Bear’s new ownership, the cafe serves craft beer, wine, and select liquors, too, in addition to the coffeehouse staples and favorites. McCarley acknowledges that spirits by the glass can help to put an audience in the right mood for comedy.
“The crowd is able to let their hair down a bit as they enjoy the show,” he says, “and it makes for a relaxed, pleasant, and ideal atmosphere.”
Friday, October 2. 8pm. Free. Headliner is Tom Emmons of Greenville and featured comedian is Cary Goff of Asheville’s Disclaimer Comedy. Supporting acts are Tom Peters, Chase McNeill, and Artie P. of Asheville and Charlie Grey of Greenville. More info at: blackbear.coffee/events. 828-MY-COFFEE.