There’s a belief that good comedy can only be found in New York City. Those glowing marquees and huge audiences of the Radio City Music Hall, lines wrapped around the block and a buzz in the air. But, surprisingly, that dark bar, glowing stage and overwhelming laughs can be found just on Post Road.
You might miss it when driving by, making endless loops around that oxbow island where Donut Inn, McDonald’s and Señor Salsa sits. But, it’s right there, hidden away in the lobby of the Circle Hotel.
Just where it’s been since 2017 when owner Joe Gerics moved to Connecticut.
Gerics is a stand-up comedian, and though he was involved in the New York City comedy scene, when he moved to Stamford he was unable to find anywhere locally to perform. Luckily, a long-time friend of his, Ed Gormbley, offered the lobby of the hotel to Gerics.
For some strange reason, Gerics says, it became a perfect spot for comedy, “The crowds have always been amazing, the converted lobby and folding chairs gave us an underdog vibe, but the comics we brought in were top-notch and we’ve been rocking it ever since,” remarked Gerics.
Since then, the comedy club has become an integral part of the community. They often work with schools, nonprofits and other small businesses in the area, donating tickets for performances.
“People really seem to enjoy our shows and value our presence there and it really means a lot to see that in action,” Gerics says, “Especially over the past year when people were in dire need of an outlet.”
But, as with everything, the club was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For a venue that brings in up to 150 comics each year, the shutdown last year was devastating.
All regular shows were canceled and though many have been vaccinated and the world seems to slowly be opening up, the comedy club is still not fully operational. The club and the many comedians are still unable to perform and thus remain in a dire financial strait.
Luckily for them, Vans, which is a shoe manufacturing company, began the “Foot the Bill” initiative to help small businesses across the country fundraise during the pandemic and help offset any damages shut-downs have caused. They allow each participating small business to design a shoe and t-shirt which is then offered for sale on their website.
With the help of internationally acclaimed artist, Guy Stanley Philoche, the Fairfield Comedy Club is launching its own limited edition shoe design.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken so much from us, so when [Gerics] reached out and asked me to partner with him to create a shoe design for Vans that would support local comedians who have lost their jobs, I pulled out my paintbrush and went to work” Philoche said. “Artists supporting artists has always been my mantra, and as an artist who struggled to get to where I am, I understand the value of giving back to my community. It is an honor to be a part of this initiative.”
Gerics went on to say, “Vans has always been one of my favorite footwear brands and when I found out about their “Foot the Bill” initiative, I knew Fairfield Comedy Club had to be a part of it.”
If you want to help you have to act fast. Only up to 1,000 pairs of shoes will be produced, with 100% of the proceeds going to comedians in need. A purchase will give comedians some of the earnings that they lost due to the pandemic and the lack of work for the past year. But, Gerics reiterates that it will also, “Bring awareness to an industry that has struggled to stay afloat and an art form that many of us miss terribly.”
Philoche continues by pushing the importance of everyone not just focusing on them, but on every small business in the Fairfield religion, “especially during a time like this where many are struggling. “
He continues to say, “It’s as simple as heading to your town’s local farmer’s market or buying a piece of jewelry from your local boutique. You never know who may be struggling and how important that one purchase may be.”
The footwear can be purchased at https://www.vans.com/footthebill while supplies last.