When it comes to comedians making an audience laugh, luck has little to do with it. But the extra bit of luck in the air on St. Patrick's Day weekend certainly won't hurt for an upcoming comedy show.
The St. Patrick's Comedy Night coming to the Back Door on Saturday is the second in a new series of stand-up shows put on by local comedian Jessica De La Garza. It will feature sets by five comedians from Bakersfield and nearby towns.
"It would be great for (people) to come out, just to have a great time," De La Garza said. "It's something different."
De La Garza started doing stand-up about 10 months ago, she said, after going to an open mic night at Temblor Brewing Co. and getting roasted by a comedian. She went back the next week to give it a try herself.
"Something sparked," she said. Since then, "it's been kind of a whirlwind."
It wasn't long before De La Garza decided she wanted to produce comedy shows, too. Through DLG Co., she already has comedy shows planned for the next few months.
"I turned it into a business because I really wanted to pay the talent," she said. "I want everybody to be paid. I want people to be valued for their work. That's really important to me."
Her first was last month's Anti-Valentine's Day show, which had an all-female lineup. Those comedians were people De La Garza got to know as she started doing stand-up.
"I wanted to highlight all the women I met on this journey," said De La Garza, who also performed at that show.
This time around the lineup is coed, with comedians Alyssa Suggs, Phil Kemp, Bebe Queen, Justin Brown and headliner John Hacker set to take the stage, along with regular host Priscilla McNamara and guest host Jose Chavez, who will come from Los Angeles.
"Pretty much everybody is local," De La Garza said. "I'm trying to highlight our local talent."
Both Kemp and Hacker have a musical element to their comedy, she said. Queen will be familiar to those who attended last month's show (and she's also been helping De La Garza with the comedy shows behind the scenes). Newcomer Suggs will be performing her second-ever show, while Brown has toured throughout the state and has recorded a comedy album.
The St. Patrick's Day theme will come via decorations throughout the venue (which is adjacent to the Casablanca Night Club). Guests can also get lucky with special door prizes and a raffle for a $150 gift certificate for a tattoo by an artist at The Painted Man.
"I want everybody to get something out of the show," De La Garza said. "I want to thank everybody for being there."
The show will also benefit a cause close to De La Garza's heart: endometriosis awareness. She herself deals with the disorder, where the tissue that makes up the uterine lining is found on other organs in the body, often making for extremely painful periods and causing back pain and fertility issues. Because it's endometriosis awareness month, 25 percent of the show's proceeds and 100 percent of the raffle proceeds will be donated to the Endometriosis Association.
"The last show didn't benefit anything," she said. "This show is focused more on giving back."
The February show sold out the 100-capacity venue, with more chairs being brought out to accommodate the crowd right up until show time. This time around, there will be more seating, De La Garza promised, though the capacity remains the same.
"We are getting more seating this time," she said. "We shocked the owner" by selling out last time.
De La Garza is "pretty confident" that the St. Patrick's show will sell out too, she said, and she's excited for the money it will raise for endometriosis awareness.
"Last month was amazing and I loved the support we got from the community," De La Garza said. But this time "it's also a great opportunity to have a good time while giving back to a good cause."
Keep an eye out for future shows, with the Happy Little Trees comedy show on April 20, benefiting the Apple Core Project, and another sometime in May, which De La Garza wants to use to benefit mental health awareness. She is currently looking for a local organization doing work in that realm to benefit.