If the rainy weather gets you down this winter, there’s a free monthly event in Mokelumne Hill that is sure to lift the spirits.
On the first Friday of every month at 9 p.m., comedian Diego Curiel, of Sacramento, hosts Comedy Night at Hotel Leger.
On Dec. 6, a microphone and chairs were set up in the banquet room of the hotel, and three comics took turns entertaining the crowd.
Becky Lynn, of Roseville, was the first to perform. She discussed how her relationships have changed as she’s gotten older.
“(When you’re younger) you roll over, you look at your partner, you know, you’re just caught in this moment of love, you cherish them so much, you know, you’re just like, ‘Oh wow, look at you,’” she said. “Those moments are gone for me, absolutely gone. I roll over at 2 a.m., and I’m like, ‘You could die of a brain aneurysm at any time, and there’s absolutely nothing … I would be able to do … to pay this rent by myself.’”
Laughter was mixed with groans from the audience. There was a constant interaction between the comics and the crowd throughout the evening.
Jimmy Earll, of Sacramento, was the next comedian to approach the microphone.
Earll said that his booking agent called him three months ago offering him a gig at the Comedy Store in Hollywood on Dec. 6.
“That’s career launching,” Earll told his agent. “Do you have something less career launching? Maybe Northern California, can you book me up there? … Do you have a haunted hotel?”
His agent told him about a place called Mokelumne Hill.
“I’ll do it,” Earll said. “But I have a couple requests. The energy. Well, first of all, can you set up the room so that there’s enough room for ghosts. Like leave the chairs open – blank – ’cause I want the ghosts to be here, too. Can you set up the room like we’re going to sign the Declaration of Independence? And can you set up the crowd like it’s the Swinger’s Club of Moke Hill?”
The audience laughed uproariously.
Simone Springer, an Austrailian comic, was the last performer of the evening.
“I flew in today on Spirit Airlines, so I’m in a really good mood, ’cause I’m just happy to be alive,” she said. “As soon as we took off the lights started flickering, and I was like, (expletive), I’m not even in the haunted hotel yet.”
Springer said the Hotel Leger wasn’t the first haunted hotel that she had visited.
“In a little town called York, I did a haunted hotel, and I stayed in the room – No. 1 – where it was supposed to be, like, highly haunted,” she said. “I tried to talk to it. I was like, ‘Hey? … Anybody? … No?’ Frickin’ ghosted – no response.”
Springer thanked the crowd, and the audience applauded.
After the show, the comics sat chatting at a table in the corner of the room.
Lynn said that her career in comedy began while frequenting an open-mic standup show in Chico.
“I decided, ‘You know what? I think I can do this; I think it would be fun,’” she said. “So probably after four or five months of just watching like every week, I went up and I did it, I did five minutes, and just never stopped. It’s fun. I love it.”
While Lynn has been performing stand up for about five years, it was only her second time in Mokelumne Hill.
“I love it here,” she said. “When I started, I did a lot of rowdy bars, that’s sorta where I cut my teeth, and I love that, so being able to do this and kinda get that vibe again – which is sort of like a rowdy, really involved, fun, supportive crowd – it was great.”
Earll has been doing standup for 12 years, and generally performs three weekends every month. He said he liked coming to Mokelumne Hill because the audience always gets involved.
“When I first started out, that would just make me super nervous,” he said. “Now, I just embrace it, and I really learn a lot from it. I learn, like, new parts to my jokes … They kinda lead me to expand on a bit or a joke, which is kinda cool.”
Springer was on the tail-end of a three-week-long tour that took her through Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I have one more tomorrow … at Punch Line comedy club tomorrow night, and then that’s it, then I go back to Australia.”
Curiel, of Sacramento, began organizing and hosting Comedy Night about three years ago.
“Dan Myers started it two years before me – he’s a comic out of the Bay – and he just had a baby, and he wanted to give up the room,” he said. “He chose three guest hosts, and they liked me, and I was able to do it.”
Curiel is also a comic, although he didn’t perform on Dec.6.
“I’ve been on Amazon; I’ve been on Hulu; I tour with my buddy (Earll) that you saw today,” he said. “Comedy is cool, because you meet cool people.”
Curiel said that he really enjoys the venue and hopes to keep the event going as long as he can.
“You gotta work for your laughs,” he said. “This is cool because it’s rowdy, like a bar, but they’re also paying attention, so you just got to feel them out.”
Afterward, Earll, Springer and Curiel went down to the basement to conduct a ghost hunt and see if the Hotel Leger really lived up to its reputation.
“I was scared about staying in the hotel, but I’m sure it will be fine,” Springer said. “Unless I’m dead tomorrow.”