Up until early July, Tony Capobianco had gone five months without once performing to a live comedy crowd. That was until he realized that the solution to safely returning to the stage amidst the COVID-19 pandemic was in his very own backyard the entire time.
With his bi-weekly Open Air Open Mic, which takes place every other Wednesday night, Capobianco has welcomed comics, friends, neighbors and comedy fans alike into the backyard of his Brighton home for an evening of socially-distanced stand-up comedy. Driven by not only his own relentless desire to get back on stage, but that of his fellow stand-up comrades, as well, and not being a stranger to hosting outdoor gigs in the past, Capobianco has been surprised by the response and turnout, and he’s excited for the chance to get back into the swing of things, and offer up a night of safe, hand-sanitizer heavy and mask-required fun.
“It’s such a summer thing to do, because everyone wants to be outside during the summer, especially during the evening, and the environment just feels better that way,” Capobianco tells Vanyaland. “I wasn’t going to wait for a venue to open back up to do this, because what seems so simple under normal circumstances isn’t exactly happening right now. The answer was pretty clear, and since we started doing this, the turn out has just been mind-blowing.”
As he and his fellow comics continue to shake the rust off with their stage time, while also avoiding any physical contact with the microphone as a way to help slow the spread, Capobianco is feeling better already, in terms of flexing his comedy muscle once again. But in regards to if the bi-weekly gathering will continue on whenever things start to smooth out and restrictions are loosened, ‘maybe’ is the best answer he has at the moment, but he’s not leaving it out of the question.
“As anyone who runs an open mic knows, a lot of work goes into putting these together,” says Capobianco. “I guess I just haven’t really thought about that yet. I suppose I could, but that’s really just more food for thought, I guess.”
OPEN AIR OPEN MIC :: Wednesday, August 12 at 7 p.m. :: Masks required, guests asked to bring lawn chair for seating :: Address available upon request to host