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New kings of comedy: Porky’s Comedy Club debuts in St. Cloud

Posted on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

 

 

 

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

Comedy is king in St. Cloud, at least for one night a month.

Porky’s Comedy Club got off to a rousing start Friday (Jan. 19) on the second floor of the St. Cloud Marina. It was a packed house, so much so that the event sold out days ahead of the historic opening night. They even had to add more seats to the house to meet the demand, and that actually wasn’t even enough.

But not to worry. Porky’s will return to the venue again in February, and this time for two nights.

Opening a comedy club has been a lifelong dream for St. Cloud resident and businessman Vinny Barber, more famously known as the guy behind the barbecue at Jimmy Bear’s, also in downtown St. Cloud.

But even though Jimmy Bear’s barbecue is practically legendary in the city, Barber has always been wistful about his real passion — being in front of a mic in front of an audience falling out of their chairs from laughter and wanting more.

He got that wish, finally in January.

Barber, along with a comedy team from Real Radio 104.1, had that capacity crowd laughing and yes,  wanting more at the first-ever event.

These guys are no amateurs. Devin Siebold, Miguel Colon and Britt James owned the night with their R-rated humor that ran for about two hours in the venue above Crabby Bill’s downtown. Note: Porky’s   is an adults-only, 18 and up monthly event, with adult humor and beer, wine and cocktails available as well.

Many of the jokes and the some of the ones that got the biggest laughs can’t even be printed here, making it an evening similar to what you might find on a HBO comedy special.

And no one appeared to be having a better time than Barber, who has been waiting for a night like this for many years.

“Jimmy Bear’s was my dad’s dream,” Barber said of his popular restaurant. “This was always my dream.”

Barber was actually a part of the comedy scene in Central Florida in the early 1990s before he got into barbecue. “It took me 28 years to get to this point,” his broad, victorious smile amplified by the bottle of Jack Daniels that helped him get through the memorable night.

Barber said the comedy group actually had a practice run of their material at another venue in Central Florida and it went over well there, so he knew they had winner. And since he has regular catering and business deals with the city of St. Cloud, he knew he already had a venue.

And finally on this memorable Friday night, he had the crowd.

Barber had his shining moment, but if his fans are hoping for a return engagement at the new Porky’s Comedy Club, scheduled for Feb. 23-24, (yes, there will be two nights of comedy in February), they will be disappointed.

Barber used up all of his material for the historic night and said he doesn’t want to repeat himself, so he probably won’t be performing again until he is ready with comedy in hand.

About the only thing that wasn’t perfect on this Friday was the service. While the comedy had no problems with opening night jitters, the serving staff was overwhelmed by the demand for food and drinks and many folks apparently had a long wait for service.

“We will get a lot better with the service next time,” Barber promised.

As for the comedy, there will be another great show in February.

“It will even be better next month,” he said.

Jef Brannan headlines both nights in February.

From his website:

Brannan is a no holds barred comedian who has appeared on Evening at the Improv and Showtime as well as headlined venues like the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Caesars Lake Tahoe and the Atlantic Casino & Resort in the Bahamas. His resume includes a long list of concert and comedy club appearances.

From the food menu: Porky’s Comedy Club, of course, features several selections from Jimmy Bear’s Barbecue including pulled sliders, pulled nachos, pulled chips with rub and cheese sauce, a three-rib basket with kettle chips and the BBQ Sundae (baked beans, cole slaw, any pulled meat with a pickle spear and role served in a cup with a sundae spoon.

Menu items feature your choice of meat: pork, beef or chicken, and choice of sauce as well — sweet, mustard or sweet spicy.

The drink menu features beer (Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, $4); wine (white zinfandel, chardonnay and merlot, $6) and cocktails, several choices for $7.

Juices and sodas also are available.

Since tickets sold out quickly for the January show, it probably is advisable to get advance tickets online now for February. General admission tickets are $12 plus a service fee and are available at porkyscomedyclub.com.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the show running from about 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.