Jilly's on Broadway: the Apollo of the Midwest? OK, maybe not. But when the downtown bar hosts open-forum stand-up comedy on Wednesday nights, the crowd frequently turns hostile. The victims may be young Stanford & Sons regulars or old locals armed with one-liners. No matter. Performing just a few feet from a popcorn machine full of hot grease, they have entered dangerous territory. "It's a tough comedy crowd," says man in charge Mike Medeiros. Because a core of regulars makes up much of the audience, he says, "They want originality. They want new jokes." The venomous crew has been known to heckle, shout out predictable punch lines and then summon the sort of silence wherein cigarette smoke is audible.
Perhaps, we can hear you thinking, perhaps the comics simply suck.
But weekly masochist Teague (who doesn't want his last name associated with such humiliation) swears that his guitar-strumming, observational comedy routine is better received at other venues, like the Brick. He points out that one comedian slaughtered by the Jilly's mob -- Rich Vos -- is now among five finalists for the title of "funniest person in America" on NBC's Last Comic Standing. "When he was here," Teague recalls, "he said, 'Open-mic night? More like get-out-of-here-alive night.'"
Teague sometimes heads for Overland Park in search of open-mic nights; upper-middle-class white people make for easier crowds, he says. And he has altered the flavor of his routine for the city folk, whose M.O. he finally understands.
"It's a bunch of drunken sex addicts."
The people in this club?
"This whole town."
The late-twentiesish joker has gone so far as to create a separate stage name for his raunchier performances. If it's all so painful, why is he at Jilly's on a Wednesday night?
"I'm a glutton for attention," he says.
Open forums start around 9:30 every Wednesday night at 1744 Broadway. Call 816-221-4977 for more information.-- Sarah Smarsh
Good sports score at T-Bones games.
If you arrive early for the T-Bones game Thursday, you might score a free "bottle jersey." If you head directly to the fan-assistance window, you could also be chosen to entertain the crowd between innings. That's when the T-Bones take a seat and let fans flaunt their athletic prowess in events such as the wife carry, the water-balloon toss and the apple catch. Good sports are rewarded with prizes and the admiration of their peers. The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Community America Ballpark (110th Street and State Avenue in KCK), but gates open at 5:45. Leave straight from work and plan on dinner in the stands. For information, call 913-328-2255.-- Kelly Sue DeConnick
Vendors stationed at an endless array of tents filled with clothing, tables covered in dry goods, and car hoods lined with paperbacks and beat-up cassettes offer the entirety of the American experience for dirt cheap at the Boulevard Drive-In swap meet (1051 Merriam Lane in KCK, 913-262-0392). From 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, the $1 admission and a fluent command of the language of haggling are all it takes to walk away with several somethings. Vendors set up shop between the ancient drive-in speakers and unload their cars full of new and old merchandise, sometimes selling their vehicles as well. -- Christopher Sebela
We Walk the Line
With crafts, there's a fine line between making seasonal heads out of Styrofoam balls and making book covers. We have concluded that the real distinguishing factor is that people who make book covers generally do not wear cardigans from which their craft projects hang. Workshops at Paper Source (621 West 48th Street, 816-753-2777) are geared more toward them. People wanting books with neither words nor pictures in them (journals, sketchbooks) might consider making their own. In Saturday's hand-covered journals class from 1 to 4 p.m., students use handmade paper to cover prebound text-block pages. A $60 fee includes materials. Class size is limited to six people, so call ahead.-- Gina Kaufmann