Last week, Acme Comedy Co. announced an epic show/party to celebrate the its 25-year anniversary. While tickets sold out super-fast (more tickets may be released at a later date), that doesn’t mean that the celebration is limited to that one night.
While comedians such as Cy Amundson and Mary Mack -- both of whom appeared on TV this past week -- surely have their own Acme memories, we’re digging deeper and talking with the people behind the curtain who have helped make Acme the comedy institution it is today. Last month, we chatted with Acme owner Louis Lee. This month, we're sitting down with manager Sarah Drew, who has been the glue that holds Acme together for the past 10 years, to learn about her favorite club memories.
Comedy doesn’t take a snow day
Part of the reason why comedy thrives in Minnesota is because it gives us something to laugh about during the brutally cold half of the year. Back in 2010, however, the conditions nearly became too intense for Acme to handle.
“We had Tom Segura headlining back during the blizzard of 2010,” Drew recalls. “We got something like 20 inches of snow, and I remember getting stuck three times on my drive into work. That night, there were literally six of us, three of which were the comedians. Then, all of a sudden, 50 people showed up, all with southern accents.”
While some would have panicked, Drew and company dug deep, juggling multiple jobs and making the show just as good for those 50 people on that night as it would have been in the dead of summer with 300 people and a full staff.
“Tom killed,” she continues. “He said it was one of the best sets of his life. The cool thing for me was that we pulled it off exceptionally well, and we proved that even Minnesota winter can’t stop us.”
Acme heads to Asia
Two years ago, Acme owner Louis Lee made the decision to take his show on the road with the first-ever Acme Asia Tour. Featuring comedians Pete Lee, Tom Segura, and Chad Daniels, the show hit Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau, and was a massive success. Drew went along to assist with the event, and the experience was unlike anything she had seen before.
“We had huge crowds, and it was really interesting to see how they reacted to the comedians,” she recalls. “I felt really proud to be a part of the club during that tour, and to get to experience comedy in a whole other culture.”
A crew accompanied the group to film a documentary about their Asian adventure (it should be released in the very near future). While Drew is used to keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes, this gave her the chance to make her on-camera debut.
“I literally have one line in the entire movie,” she laughs. “The one you see in the preview? That’s it.”
Assholes need not enter
In any service and entertainment industry position you’re bound to deal with difficult people. Acme has had its fair share of tough customers over the years, and have had plenty of incidents of people walking out on performers for a plethora of reasons.
For Sarah Drew, however, there is one specific group that were exceptionally difficult to deal with.
“We had this company of like 100 to 120 people do a corporate event here, and they were really difficult to work with right away,” she recalls. “The night of the show, their group was talking during the performers’ sets. Finally, the headliner comes up -- I’ll leave his identity to the imagination -- and he almost immediately calls the head guy’s wife a "cunt." The guy is fuming, and he stands up and announces that his entire group needs to leave.”
Sure enough, more than one-third of the audience got up and walked out the door at their leader’s behest. But as any corporate drone can tell you, the boss doesn’t always speak for the masses.
“The other employees slowly started trickling back in after the boss left,” Drew laughs.
While other comedians have upset their fair share of audiences throughout Acme’s history, that specific group stands out to Drew as one of the most heated. And though the company may have been upset, she made sure to follow her boss’ instructions from earlier in the evening.
“Before Louis left, he just said, ‘Make sure they pay.’”