ELKHART — James Witty wants you to laugh — preferably in the city of Elkhart.
Even more specifically, Witty hopes you show up next year for a series of stand-up comedy gigs he’s promoting at Five Star Dive Bar, 561 E. Jackson Blvd.
Witty used to own The Drop Comedy Club in South Bend. Witty said he sold the club, which is still up and running, because he wanted a bigger venue. He decided to rent a room in Elkhart and contacted the owners of Five Star Dive Bar.
Witty said he’s planning monthly shows at the Dive Bar, featuring well-known stand-up acts and national up-and-coming performers.
The first show — nearly sold out — is set for Jan. 9 and will feature Mijo Bueno, who’s from the Michiana area and tours nationally. Next up in February will be Chicago-based performer Megan Gailey.
“She’s one of the funniest females in the country,” Witty said. “Her star is kind of on the rise.”
Scheduled to perform at the venue in May 2014 is Donnell Rawlings, who was a cast member on Comedy Central’s much-missed “Chappelle’s Show.” “Ashy Larry” was one of his roles.
Witty has been doing stand-up comedy for eight years, and promoting and booking comedy shows for around six. (Editor’s Note: The comedian says that “Witty” is, in fact, the name on his birth certificate.) He said he was driving around with a friend one day when they heard a commercial for an amateur comedy competition. The winner would perform at the Funny Bone comedy club.
His friend encouraged him to give it a try and Witty, initially reluctant, decided to do it. Witty’s performance went well, and he caught the comedy bug.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Witty said of doing stand-up. “But honestly my true calling, I think, is promoting shows and kind of having an eye for talent.”
For more information about the upcoming comedy showcases in Elkhart, visit www.facebook.com/fivestarcomedybar.