BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Shawn and Sarah Carter bought an RV and were planning a road trip to do comedy when the pandemic made them pump the brakes. During a visit with family in Bristol, the pair realized that their dream of taking comedy to places that didn’t have it could be realized by staying in the Twin Cities.
The couple plan to open Blue Ridge Comedy Club at 620 State Street in Bristol, Tennessee in July.
“About a year and a half ago my wife and I left Boston, Massachusetts, in an RV planning a road trip to do comedy, and we decided to stop by Bristol first because their parents live here too. We came to visit. And then the pandemic hit and it was like, you’re not going anywhere. So, after a while, we decided to buy a house and stick around and we decided that instead of traveling all over and going to do comedy and other places, why not just bring comedy to Bristol. And as worked out, we found a nice place down here on State Street. So we’re really excited to get started,” Shawn Carter, owner of Blue Ridge Comedy said.
Carter, a 15-year veteran of comedy, said his love of organizing comedy shows spurred the idea for his very own club.
“A lot of that time was spent running shows and hosting shows and booking shows so I love running shows, so that’s always something that I’d like to do, and to know that we have a nice space in nice downtown Bristol like, it just felt like it was, you know the right place to be,” he explained.
Carter told News Channel 11 roughly 100 people could be seated in the club, and he hopes to have a bar, pending approval of a beer license.
“We want people to come in and feel like they can come in and try out comedy, and have a nice time and, you know, I think there needs to be a space for that where people can come in and, you know, try and be creative,” he said.
With comedians from Boston, New York, and Los Angeles performing, Carter said tickets will be priced at $20 for weekend shows and $10-$12 for shows during the week.
“We’ll have an open mic that will also be free if people want to come in, try out comedy or just have a drink and watch the open mic,” Carter explained.
The Hard Rock Casino coming to Bristol has Carter hopeful for foot traffic on State Street.
“The goal is just to put on the best shows, that we can have people coming in, having a great time and leaving thinking like ‘wow I didn’t know that that was going to be downtown in our town in Bristol, you know,'” he said.
Headlining the opening weekend of July 9 is Boston comic Andrew Mayer.
“He’s a good friend of mine from years of doing comedy together in Boston. A couple years ago he won the Boston Comedy Festival where, you know 96 comedians from around the country come to compete against each other, and he’s just really funny. And I think he’s a good fit for most comedy fans, he’s not. You know he’s not too dirty. He’s not political, he’s just a fun guy that you can enjoy,” Carter said.
He added that tickets will go on sale as early as next week.