Just when you thought there was nothing funny about this pandemic, comedy shows are making a comeback.

Some Maine comedians are taking advantage of the state’s gorgeous summer weather to stage outdoor, socially distanced comedy performances. Comedians often play in cramped and crowded clubs and bars, something that wouldn’t be prudent or easy to do right now.

On Friday, a show featuring seven comics called “Cabin Fever: An Outdoor Comedy Show for a Socially Distant Time” will take place at Thompson’s Point in Portland. Stroudwater Distillery, also located at Thompson’s Point, hosts a weekly Thursday night outdoor comedy show that regularly sells out.

The state is currently allowing up to 200 people to attend seated outdoor events, like concerts or sporting events, as long as people are separated into groups of 50 each and other restrictions are met. Both of the comedy events at Thompson’s Point have a crowd limit of 50 or less. Here is a little about each show.

Maine comedian Rachel Gendron will perform at “Cabin Fever” Friday at Thompson’s Point in Portland. Photo courtesy of Rachel Gendron

COMEDY ON POINT

The “Cabin Fever” show is being organized by comedian Marcus Cardona, a Buxton native who had been living and performing in Brooklyn, New York, before the pandemic hit. Since many indoor comedy venues are still closed and he was “itching” to peform, Cardona decided to put on a show outside. His co-presenter is Portland’s Empire Comedy Club, which has no immediate plans to reopen.

Performers on the bill include Maine comics, like Rachel Gendron and Johnny Ater, as well as comedians from Boston and New York and beyond. Besides Cardona, Gendron and Ater, the rest of the lineup includes Dan LaMorte, Sam Ike, Colleen Genevieve and Kyron Hobdy.

Cardona expects a lot of the jokes comics will tell will be rooted in the pandemic, with likely topics being toilet paper hoarding or the hardships of living life at a distance. Some of the staple topics of comics – like dating or workplace hassles – just don’t apply right now, Cardona said.

Marcus Cardona will perform at “Cabin Fever” Friday at Thompson’s Point in Portland. Photo courtesy of Marcus Cardona

“Live comedy is about being in the present. No one’s dating anymore so you can’t talk about that. You have to talk about how everyone is coping with all this,” Cardona said.

The show will be held on the lawn outside the Thompson’s Point Brick South events building, not in the entertainment complex’s concert area. The audience will be capped at 50 people. Most tickets are $20 and people are asked to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Groups will be spaced six feet apart. For $75, people can reserve a picnic table for four. Food and drink, including a full bar, will be available, and people can use restrooms inside the building. People are required to wear masks except when seated, and hand sanitizer will be provided.

“Cabin Fever: An Outdoor Comedy Show for a Socially Distant Time,” 8 p.m. Friday, Thompson’s Point, 8 Thompson’s Point Road, Portland, $20 to $75. thompsonspoint.com.

Maine comedian Ian Stuart performs weekly outdoors at Stroudwater Distillery in Portland. Photo courtesy of Stroudwater Distillery

LAUGHTER DISTILLED

Maine comedian James Theberge has been doing shows for a couple years at Stroudwater Distillery, but in late June, he took the act outside. Since then, he’s been hosting weekly Thursday night shows on the patio – an outdoor area that’s covered by tents. The shows at first were limited to 20 people, and all seats were reserved in advance. But those shows sold out quickly and regularly, so now the audience limit is 40 people and sometimes a second show is added later Thursday night.

Theberge hosts and performs, usually with two or three other comedians. He’s joined in every show by fellow Maine comedian Ian Stuart, but has also been booking comedians from Boston, New York and Chicago, as comedy clubs there remain closed. Those performers include Francis Ellis, Pat Bolduc and Sunny Dennis.

People have to buy reserved tickets and are seated at tables spaced six feet apart. People are required to wear masks moving around the space or going to the restroom, but not while seated. Stroudwater Distillery offers a food menu, along with their spirits and drink specials. Because there are tents, the comedy shows are on rain or shine.

“We’re so lucky to have this space and continue to do shows,” said Theberge.

Summer Patio Comedy Series hosted by James Theberge, 7 p.m. Thursdays, Stroudwater Distillery, 4 Thompson’s Point Road, Portland, $10. eventbrite.com.


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