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Monday, June 17, 2019

Get Your Laugh On

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Creating a safe space through humor and laughter

It is no coincidence that Shreveport’s newest comedy club, Laugh Out Loud, is named after the popular acronym, LOL. In our fast-paced, text-heavy world, there is no other shorthand that expresses glee or can bring a smile to someone’s face as quickly as the notification of an “LOL” received in response to their latest post or message. It is this brief glimpse of moments spent without fear, worry and stress that Laugh Out Loud hopes to bring to Shreveport-Bossier.

There is a need for laughter now, more than ever, in the harsh modern world we live in, comedian Molly Hiers states. “We are undergoing a lot of crisis as a nation. And, honestly, comedy is a major way that we are all coping with that,” she said.

Not only is Hiers a regular on the local comedy scene, but she is also the bar manager for Laugh Out Loud, owned by local radio DJ and manager of KDKS 102.1, Quenn Echols. With a long history of bartending and cocktail waitressing under her belt, Hiers was approached by a friend who knew she was running herself ragged trying to create a local comedy scene. Her friend let her know that Echols was planning to open a comedy club. Hiers contacted Echols immediately, and soon, Laugh Out Loud started to shape itself into a home for local comedians.

Laugh Out Loud opened on May 5, 2019, with a packed house. Located at 618 Commerce Street, the comedy haven is sandwiched right between Festival Plaza and the Red River District. Within walking distance of two casinos and a multitude of restaurants and bars, Laugh Out Loud has centralized itself into a prime location for tourists and locals alike.

While the venue does require a twodrink minimum, Hiers has ensured that the drink menu has a little something for everyone. The signature drink of the place is called “Giggle Juice.” This rumheavy stunner will have you laughing all the way back to the tropics. The club also boasts a signature “margarita sunrise” – just a little grenadine to sweeten that sour girl right up. And for the nondrinkers, Hiers has created a full menu of “mocktails” which changes weekly.

Laugh Out Loud is open Thursday through Saturday from 8 p.m. until around midnight, depending on the size of the crowd. Thursday nights serve as open mic nights for anyone who wants to brave the spotlight and try their hand at comedy. Friday and Saturdays are reserved for two local openers and a headliner. Locals are pulled from the LOL Comedy Crew, a troupe of jokesters who are known for their acts at such places as Bear’s, Noble Savage and Parish Taceaux – just a few of the venues Hiers has used in the past on her quest to make comedy a regular occurrence in Shreveport.

Quinton “Munchie” Washington is in charge of booking acts and so far has been able to pull in Texas comedy stars Sherry Belle, Angelia Walker, Johnny Elbow and D.D. Ingram as well as South Louisiana stand-up Tee Ray and Whodi, a well-known comedian from Mississippi.

Although the comedy club has yet to see any national acts come through the door, they move closer to making this happen each weekend as they continue to fill the 200-seat venue consistently.

While many find it hard to believe that a comedy club will last in Shreveport- Bossier, it is important to remember that the Funny Bone had a long-standing run in the early 2000s until its closure in 2008. The kiss of death for the Funny Bone was attributed to moving the club from its home in the Red River District across the bridge to the Boardwalk.

When asked why she believes Laugh Out Loud will outlast the concerns, Hiers stated, “I believe that people’s awareness of what’s happening in downtown Shreveport is shifting. Downtown is growing. And the crew of LOL is a family. We are so passionate about supporting one another. We will put in the time and do what it takes to make sure we succeed.”

If laughter is the best medicine, Laugh Out Loud is just what the doctor ordered for downtown Shreveport. It is the perfect oasis to sit, sip and laugh – a safe harbor in these heavy times.

Also from Mallori Sanders

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