In a resolute win for all that is funny in Philadelphia, Aaron Nevins and Kate Banford have raised $12,000 to fund a Kickstarter campaign for their planned Good Good Comedy Theatre in less than 48 hours.
Nevins and Banford, both 25, say there is room for more. They have been stepping out front in the last two years as impresarios, cobbling together shows by wrangling all the various factions of the comedy world - the improv people, as well as the stand-ups, the sketch comedians, and the storytellers.
Then came their Five Dollar Comedy Week, a festival of shows held at various venues.
Nevins and Banford had intended Five Dollar to be an annual festival. Demand was so great that they revived it so it played three times over the last year, with new shows each time.
They adopted the name Good Good Comedy for their weekly shows showcasing local talent, and recently took the next step: They signed a lease for a Center City venue, which they hope to open in summer 2016. (They're keeping the address close to the vest until their request for a zoning variance is granted.)
The minimalistic black-box theater will be adaptable to any kind of performance.
The $12,000 funding will cover furnishings and legal expenses.
Opening a theater "will certainly make it easier for us," Nevins said. "We're up to [working with] three or four venues a month just to be able to put on our shows, and it's an effort on the part of the audience" to find the shows.
Not all comedians are business people, of course. But the economics of running even a small theater - or theatre, as they theatrically spell it - does not faze them.
Banford has worked in production since she was in college, working at a small studio at University of Delaware, getting experience in the financial end of film and television.
Nevins understands finance from a personal perspective. "I dropped out of college pretty early on because at that time, I knew I wanted to work in comedy. I always had to have a serious perspective on that. There was never an option where it's like, 'This is just a silly hobby.' I have to be able to make money on this."
To help with the funding, Good Good will host what Nevins and Banford call a "live telethon," bringing together performers for a show from 8 p.m. to midnight Jan. 30 at Plays & Players Theatre. Tickets are $10.