On any given Friday and Saturday night, one can expect to find a multitude of students pouring in and out of the State Street bars. However, among the things to do in Binghamton, attending a comedy club for a few laughs has never been an option. With this in mind, the organizers of Comedy Crawl are opening Binghamton’s first and only comedy club, The Boho, on Nov. 8.
Bill Lake, a member of The Boho team and a Johnson City native, said the community responded positively to the team’s early fundraising effort.
“As we did the Kickstarter program as well as posting on our social media, we had a lot of people say, ‘This is so cool that you guys are doing this to bring comedy to Downtown and have a club,’” Lake said. “Binghamton has needed a comedy club forever because the closest legit club is in Syracuse.”
The new club will create a dedicated space for humor, something Lake said is currently lacking.
“What we lacked in Binghamton was a venue to put shows on, specifically to do comedy, so it was always shows in bars, restaurants, whatever we could grab, so that’s what led us to make this space a comedy space where there is no competition with TVs, bars and conversations,” he said.
The founding and creation of The Boho was originally spearheaded by Giordano “Giordi” DeAngelo, who passed away in September at the age of 27. The Boho team has been keeping DeAngelo’s spirit and vision alive through the final stages of preparing for the grand opening.
“Giordi loved comedy, loved to laugh, loved to bring laughter to people, and I was his wife and came along for the ride,” said Stephanie DeAngelo, widow of Giordano DeAngelo and a team member of The Boho. “I went on this adventure with him. For me, it’s about keeping his passion and desire alive.”
Lake said the team intends to carry Giordano DeAngelo’s vision forward.
“Giordi was the driving force of this and we’re just picking up where he left off,” he said. “Part of why we jumped in so enthusiastically to finish where he left off was to honor his dream of having this here and his motivation to do that.”
By doing so, the team hopes to create a community of comedians in Binghamton.
“Being completely honest, none of us are trying to make money from this,” Lake said. “This is just to bring good comedy shows to Binghamton. That’s our honest motivation for this. We just want to see a cool comedy community here.”
Paul Kozlowski, a Cortland native, recounted DeAngelo’s desire to build a space that would be based in the local community’s desires.
“He was very community-oriented and we are trying to be community-oriented in that we are trying to bring comics that we think will appeal to broad audiences,” Kozlowski said. “We are not a clean club. We’re not a dirty club. But we’re a comedy club.”
The club will be located in the basement of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, according to Stephanie DeAngelo.
“Giordi started The Boho because there are a lot of places that the Comedy Crawl team was doing comedy at,” Stephanie DeAngelo said. “Unfortunately, a lot of the venues didn’t have the capacity for seating that we needed. We were finding that we were selling out shows and having a lot of success with it. DoubleTree told us, ‘Hey, we have a room we’re not using and we’ve had a lot of events here before.’ DoubleTree needed something to go in this room and all the comedians were looking for places to come and have quality comedy shows.”
The Boho plans to put on shows twice a month, featuring carefully selected headliners. Michael Ciurzynski, a Buffalo native, said The Boho has shows and performers booked well into February.
“We know that for a lot of people, they may not be names that people recognize,” Ciurzynski said. “They’re people we are familiar with and we’re totally confident in them.”
He also emphasized the value of going to see up-and-coming comedians.
“I think it’s that level of comedian that’s the most fun to see because they’re still working really, really hard,” Ciurzynski said. “If you see someone you already know, you know their style. You have a pretty good idea of what to expect but when you come here, you know you’re gonna see somebody good and it’ll be a little bit of a surprise, but we’re pretty confident that once we’re done, the names will stick in people’s heads.”
Lake said he hopes The Boho will give Binghamton University students something to do on weekend nights apart from barhopping and house parties.
“A lot of students come from the city and are used to having comedy clubs down there,” Lake said. “This gives them an option to do something that they get to do in the city. They don’t just have to go to Dillinger’s or Downtown bars. They can go see a comedy club where there’s gonna be quality people and comics from [New York City] coming up to do shows as well.”
Kozlowski added that The Boho will provide opportunities for BU students interested in comedy to get a start in a budding community.
“A lot of my friends and a lot of famous people went to [BU] — guys like Andy Kindler,” Kozlowski said. “A lot of times, you’ll see a lot of [BU] students at open mics just starting out. From my experience, they’re always hilarious and smart so if you have any interest in performing, it’s good to have a place to see people and see what it’s all about without having to go to New York [City].”
The Boho will be hosting its grand opening with shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 in the basement of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The shows will be hosted by Michael Ciurzynski, featuring Bill Lake, with Moody McCarthy as the headliner.