Cardinal Spirits will invite a variety of local and visiting comedians to show off their stand-up skills at its latest comedy event, High Proof Laughs.
The show will begin at 8 p.m. Monday at the distillery and will include performances by comedians Brent Terhune, Bob Nugent, Alex Price and Shanda Sung. Proceeds from donations at the door will go toward Middle Way House.
“This time around, we’re asking for a $5 donation at the door, which will go to Middle Way House,” co-founder of Cardinal Spirits Jeff Wuslich said. “Comedy, cocktails and supporting a great cause. It’s a nice combo.”
Co-founder of Limestone Comedy Festival Mat Alano-Martin will emcee the show, which is a collaboration between Cardinal and Limestone. Nugent said Alano-Martin has invited him to participate in other shows in the past and they were always fun experiences for him.
"Cardinal is an amazing business, and I support them and love them as a Bloomington business and as an independent distillery," Nugent said. "It’s just a great combination of a lot of great things.”
Nugent, 40, has been performing stand-up regularly for around four years and said he has always loved comedy’s ability to find the strange occurences that break the routine of everyday life.
Finding "absurdity" sometimes means telling a story or joke with a twist at the end, Nugent said.
“One of the things that I’ve loved about comedy since I was a child was the absurdity of life and just bringing that to the front — discussing that and taking normal, mundane things, saying the wrong thing or thinking the wrong thing to make people laugh,” Nugent said. “That appeals to me, and that’s fun, the turn.”
Another tactic Nugent said he enjoys is taking a "dumb idea" and seeing how far he can run with it. If something seems like it could be funny, he will get up on stage and share it with an audience without apprehension about whether or not the joke will land.
The other comedians come from a variety of backgrounds, including Indianapolis-based Terhune’s comedy writing for the “Bob & Tom Show,” Price’s background in promoting comedians and performing himself and Sung’s perspective as a mother, Nugent said.
“Shanda performed comedy all through her pregnancy last year — she was at nine months during the contest we have every summer,” Nugent said. “She’s only been doing it a year and a half or so but she’s really funny, has great insight and is going to be great.”
The comedy community in Bloomington is full of talent, and patrons who enjoy this show should continue to frequent shows at the Comedy Attic and other venues in town, he said. He added that up-and-coming comedians should try out their routines for an audience.
“If you’ve ever watched a Kevin Hart or Louis C.K., there are countless comedians trying to do the exactly same thing here,” Nugent said. “They are arguably as funny at times and deserve your attention."
Students should come out to support the cause and enjoy a good stress-free time before finals, Wuslich said.
“There’s no better way to blow off some steam during dead week than laughing so hard that you spit out your drink in a room full of strangers,” he said. “I really enjoyed the Bloomington-specific humor from the comedians at our first High Proof Laughs. I need more jokes about the farmers market, Bloomingfoods and the fire department in my life.”