The Skills to Build a Scene

Josh Dunkin brings Chicago-honed comedy to Sanctuary Brewing Company.

Hendersonville’s comedy scene is cracking up this month, thanks to the infusion of some serious Chicago talent. Producer Josh Dunkin has tailored his show Get Up Stand Up — voted number two in Time Out magazine’s list of Chicago’s best comedy open mics — to his new digs. (He’s lived here about six months.)

Josh was co-producer of Laughingstock: The Chicago Comedy Music Festival and a writer, director, producer, and performer in the touring sketch-comedy hit Bye Bye Liver: The Drinking Play. He’s produced shows in cities across North America, including Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, and Nashville.

He and wife Barbara relocated here to assist long-time friends Lisa McDonald and Joe Dinan with their Sanctuary Brewing endeavor. “Joe and Lisa were super fans of my old show Bye Bye Liver, and would travel to my show openings in cities all over the country,” Josh tells Bold Life. “So, when they opened a bar, Barbara and I decided to bring our various skill sets to Hendersonville and help them out.

“Once here, I saw how Hendersonville is growing,” he adds, praising the city’s “blossoming arts scene.”

Get Up Stand Up South, a monthly showcase and open mic, will be hosted the last Wednesday of every month at Sanctuary, featuring Josh and Hendersonville native Troy Colbert (also late of the Chicago scene).

“Troy is very relaxed and conversational in his delivery. It’s almost as if the audience were collectively sharing a beer with him as he waxes hilariously on politics and the world at large. I come from the world of Chicago sketch comedy and improv, so I tend to mix observational humor with both storytelling, characters, and comedy music,” says Josh.

“We want to nurture a community of local comedians and artists and offer them a venue to find their voice,” he explains. We started Get Up Stand Up in Chicago with the intention of creating a ‘warm’ room for comedians to test new material and polish their best bits. I want the same for the show in Hendersonville. I want a room where I can fail and not feel like a failure — where I can succeed and know that success will translate to other shows.”

Get Up Stand Up South debuts at Sanctuary Brewing Co. (147 First Ave. East) on Wednesday, May 25, and runs the last Wednesday of the month. 8pm. Free. See the events Facebook page for more information, or go to

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