The Orange County Register - September 23, 2005

'Loud Mouth' is a Small-Scale Improv
The Orange County Register

Chris Edwards' goal for his comedy show is for it to be the second-best comedy show in Orange County.

As the host of "Loud Mouth Comedy" at Durty Nelly's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Costa Mesa, he knows it's nearly impossible for him to compete with the big-time, national names that the Improvs at Irvine and Brea boast on a weekly basis.

But that's not to say that his show isn't worth seeing. Every Thursday night, Edwards makes the most out of the small space at Durty Nelly's to stage some surprisingly good comedy acts from up-and-coming comedians. And there is no cover charge.

"The quality of the show is good enough to where there should be a cover charge, but we did it for so long without a cover charge. We didn't want to change that," Edwards said.

"Loud Mouth Comedy" can easily compete with the Irvine Improv's "Tuesday Night Hot Shots," a show with a similar format. In fact, last week's headliner for "Loud Mouth" was "Hot Shots" host Kristian Vallee. Edwards also has managed to score bigger names, including Doug Benson, who's appeared on the television shows "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and Shang, a comedian quickly on the rise whom you might have seen on "Politically Incorrect" and the soap opera "Passions."

"Loud Mouth" is a good mix of potty humor and political musings, and the crowd young and old, regulars and new faces reflects that.

"A lot of bar shows want the dirty stuff, but here they like the smart stuff, too," Edwards said.

On this particular evening, the show got started a bit late; the lights finally dimmed around 9 p.m. for Edwards to introduce the first comedian. Cary Nelson got the show off to a high-energy start, followed by Evan Wecksell, a guitar-playing funnyman who reminds me of Stephen Lynch, and later Vallee's colorful act.

"Right now, Orange County is the best place to run a comedy show," Edwards said. "There are so many small shows in L.A. There even have been some in Laundromats. People from L.A. come down here to be part of a real crowd."

The comedy show is free, but Durty Nelly's charges a reasonable $10 minimum. Your best bets: Any of the appetizers, hamburgers or the Irish stew. All are standard with no surprises, and the stew's mix of cubed beef, potatoes and carrots is hearty and comforting. Be sure to steer clear of the looks-can-be-deceiving fish and chips, which upon first glance seem flaky and appetizing, but upon first bite are gritty and tasteless. At least we don't have that to say about the comedy show.

Durty Nelly's, 2915 Red Hill, Costa Mesa. (714) 957-1951. Comedy shows are every Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. There's no cover and a $10 minimum. 21 and over. For upcoming show information, add yourself to the "Loud Mouth Comedy" mailing list, or e-mail orangecounty  for show updates.

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