Looking for a place to let loose after a long day at work? Want to make people laugh? If so, Serious Comedy Theatre is the place for you.
Located not too far from Beacon’s Main Street, this hybrid performance venue and training center welcomes all who are interested in comedy in the Hudson Valley.
Back in 2019, Serious Comedy started off as a simple improv jam put on by Chris Fontakis and Eli Barrett (now owners of Serious Comedy) at Beacon’s Performing Arts Center. The jam quickly became something larger, and the duo knew they had something special on their hands.
As Serious Comedy went through the trials and tribulations all businesses faced during the pandemic, Artistic Director Jaime Fallon describes how the theater found its footing through the community that initially brought it all together.
“Once things opened back up, it was like starting over in a sense,” she explains. “There was still a lot of fear with indoor gatherings (rightfully so). To ask people to lose all inhibitions on stage during such an uncertain time was near impossible. We had to shake people out of their pandemic routines and start to appreciate being around people again, to start pursuing the thrill of the stage again, and to open ourselves up to sharing stories with strangers.”
Currently, Serious Comedy offers classes in improv, musical, sketch comedy and advanced game workshops taught by talented instructors from all walks of life. All classes are between four to six sessions and allow for individuals to immerse themselves into the comedy world while simultaneously discovering new layers to their creative sides.
If you’re looking for something more intimate, the theater also offers one-on-one coaching taught by Chris Fontakis himself. With over a decade of experience in improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy, he is guaranteed to help you sharpen your comedic skills. The first 50-minute session is $85, and every session thereafter is $125 per hour.
When asked about what makes the Dutchess County concept so unique, Artistic Director Steve Capps highlights the infectious nature of Serious Comedy’s shows.
“We’ve got many people who started off as audience members who have discovered they have an interest in pursuing performing, which is how all of us onstage started out,” he notes. “It’s quite a beautiful cycle, really, and one we hope to continue to perpetuate.”
From the warm and welcoming community to the dedication to the craft, Serious Comedy elicits a sense of magic that leaves audiences wanting more.
“Both the people in the seats as well as many of the performers onstage are still very much in the learning stages of the art form, which also excites and inspires our more experienced members to remember what it’s like to be at that stage where it’s new and exhilarating and creatively dangerous,” explains Capps.
Performances take place every Friday night and feature a wide range of talent that’s sure to make you chuckle. Shows begin with a jam at 6:30 p.m., a rotating lineup of performers at 8 p.m., and, to close the night, an experimental improv show dubbed Sparkle Vomit at 9:30 p.m.
“The best part of comedy, besides the laugh riot ab workouts, serotonin boosts, and sense of community, is its power to tackle tough topics we all face and comment on them in a way that’s easy for people to digest,” says Fallon. “It helps us all feel like we are not alone.”
For more information or to sign up for a comedy workshop, check out the venue’s website.
Serious Comedy Theatre
22 Kent St, Beacon