Nam Vu and Omar Finley take the stage in front of a packed house at the Guru. It’s Monday night, and with microphones in hand, they introduce themselves and the other comedians about to take the stage.
This is NO Show Comedy, a monthly comedy show that has quickly become a staple in Mid City. LSU students Vu and Finley started hosting their own series after performing comedy at an open mic night for musicians at the Guru. Finley had seen a poster for the event at the fledgling venue behind The Market at Circa 1857 and decided it could be a cool place to try out his material.
“I had called ahead of time, and I kind of knew it was just for music. But when I talked to them on the phone I introduced myself as a comedian and asked if it was an open mic for everything or just music,” Finley says.
Kay Turner, event coordinator at the Guru, begged them to come anyway and loved their set so much she decided to give Vu and Finley a regular slot each week. After getting together a crew of their closest friends, the two decided the city needed something other than a typical open mic night, and they would put their own spin on things.
“I had stopped doing open mics altogether, and we just wanted to start something new for the community to enjoy,” Vu says.
The two hosts select comedians to perform and try to keep the production fresh so you never hear the same material twice. They want the series to be fun, and they have held Halloween costume contests, a roast of themselves and even featured a few musical numbers.
Although the friends will celebrate the first anniversary of NO Show Comedy this May, the past year has not been easy for them. Both were attending LSU and found it difficult to juggle the demands of hosting the show and keeping up with their classes. But the returning audience has kept them going.
“We underestimated how big it would get and just how much work it would take,” Finley says. “After our first few shows, we had to sit down and talk about where we wanted it to go and how we could do that while still being in school.”
The show took a hit after the August 2016 flooding. Vu and Finley had to make the difficult decision to postpone a show, and attendance has since been lower than before, but that hasn’t stopped them from wanting to give back to the community that has helped them. The proceeds from a show after the floods were donated, in conjunction with the Guru, to the American Red Cross. NO Show has since gone on to donate to other local charities such as Front Yard Bikes, an organization that teaches kids how to salvage and maintain bicycles.
In 2017, the Capital City can expect to see the expansion of the show with not only new acts here but also pop-up shows in other cities. Vu and Finley would also like to start their own open mic night where anyone could practice material as a stepping stone to performing in the NO Show Comedy series.
You can find the comedy duo and their friends at The Guru on Feb. 20 and every third Monday of each month. Look out for headliner Marguerite (Maggie) Shipley this month. Cover is $8, and the show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, find them on Facebook and Instagram @noshowcomedy.
This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.