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Report from the Road -- 12 Shiny Nickels, Los Angeles

Recently the Apiary was in Los Angeles, visiting both old and new friends alike, and having a generally raucous good time seeing a fair amount of stand-up comedy and getting sandy on various beaches. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be giving shout outs to some of those in the LA underground stand-up scene that are bringing cutting edge comedy to the folks of LA, and will endeavor to continue this coverage over the next year (and beyond).

Dan BialekOur first feature of the series is 12 Shiny Nickels and room producer Dan Bialek. We recently got to chat with Bialek briefly about the room and LA comedy, generally.

Asked how long the show has been running, and, more importantly, how are we able to drink so damn cheap at such a bangin’ stand-up show, Bialek said, “The show started in June 2008 and has been going every Friday and Saturday night at 11PM since. The first six months of the show we were giving away free all you could drink beer to help get people interested in it. After that we shifted to BYOB and $1 beers (for a suggested donation). People really love the BYOB, about 95 percent of our guests do, too.”

Mike HolmesQueried about the “celeb” culture of 12SN, Bialek said, “Big names that have stopped recently: NYC's Robert Kelly stopped in a few weeks back, this weekend we have Human Giant's Paul Scheer. Chicago comedy expat favorites include Matt Braunger, Kyle Kinane, and TJ Miller.

Robert Buscemi“Also, we get some famous audience members from time to time like Jerry O'Connell, Mike Dimt (the bass player for Green Day) and Demi Lovato. It's a weird mix because the show venue is right in the middle of the Sunset Strip below a rock 'n' roll Thai food restaurant that's open until 4AM.”

Brandie PoseyHow did this all come about, then? Bialek: “The inspiration for the show came a couple years back. I was having lunch with a friend and talking about how lackluster most of the indy comedy shows in LA were. My idea was to have a short one-hour show with just three really good comics on the bill doing 20 minute sets. My friend said that it was a great idea but that it'd never work in LA because the audiences here have such short attention spans. A few weeks later I came up with the name "12 Shiny Nickels" as in a dozen comics doing their best 5-minute sets. I found the best theater I could afford to rent (i.e. the cheapest) and emailed my friend that a new show was born.

Kyle Kinane“The idea for the show really isn't that unique. Here in LA they've been doing special occasion shows sort of like this at The Fake Gallery and The Hermosa Beach Comedy & Magic Club for years. Also, there's a comedy club in Minnesota (Acme I believe) that's had its open mic night structured like this for years. The 12SN show is just the first one that uses this same structure every week."

Lizzy CoopermanThe show is every Friday and Saturday night at 11PM, The Sunset Gardner Stages, 1501 North Gardner Street, Hollywood, CA 90046; BYOB & $1 (suggested donation) beers; $8 online/$10 at door. Tonight’s line-up includes: Ed Galvez (host), Brian Kiley, Paul Scheer, J. Chris Newberg, Jan Davidson, Andy Haynes, Marianne Sierk, Byron Bowers, Todd Womack, Lizzy Cooperman, Raj Desai, Erik Charles Nielsen, Jim Hamilton.

Saturday’s line-up includes: Ed Salazar (host), Jarrod Harris, Aida Rodriguez, Jonny Loquasto, Paul Morrissey, Paul Ogata, Skippy Simon, Susan Burke, Heather Thomson, Andrew DeWitt, Will Weldon, Ron Babcock, Dan Bialek.

--Kristy Mangel

all photos by the author.

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