The entire world has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but few industries have been hit as uniquely hard as the bar and restaurant sector. Recognizing the dire straits the industry faces, Michigan-born comedian Jason Douglas was compelled to help and launched Pay it Forward Comedy, a virtual standup series that distributes crowd-sourced funds to struggling restaurants and bars. The shows feature national headline acts from shows like Seinfeld and Breaking Bad donating their time and talent to raise money for small businesses that have partially or completely closed down due to the pandemic. Tune in to this latest installment of Open Mike for information on upcoming comedy shows and ways to contribute to your local establishments — while enjoying laugh or two as well!

Show Notes

[00:30] Jason Douglas’s bio and Pay It Forward Comedy charity event details.

[00:54] Jason, welcome to Open Mike!

[01:08] There are so many ways to help small businesses, like you’re doing with Pay It Forward Comedy. Tell us how you came up with the idea!

[01:40] So you have the participation of some comedians who have been on Seinfeld and Breaking Bad… tell us who they are! How hard was it to get them to do this?

[02:21] Wait, Agent Gomez from Breaking Bad is a comedian?

[02:39] When are these comedy shows? How can people watch?

[02:47] Check out their Facebook Page for upcoming show dates!

[03:12] I didn’t know you were a Metro Detroit guy! I have a lot of restaurant friends, so I love this idea. Where were you born and raised?

[03:37] How does this work? You’re conducting this on Facebook or a platform where people can digitally log in… but let’s say we pick a great restaurant — walk us through how the event works.

[04:48] Have you done one yet in Michigan?

[05:47] I know when I’m in a comedy club, I’m laughing my ass off… whereas, if I’m watching an HBO comedy set, I’m not as engaged. How are you finding it translating over via Zoom? How does the audience interact and how do you feed off them when the audience is remote?

[07:03] Let’s try it — I’m gonna put you on the spot. Give me a little something!

[07:47] How many shows have you done thus far? And what’s the reaction from the restaurants?

[08:08] Those headliners you mentioned… are they up for participating whenever?

[08:39] How many of the jokes are about COVID and the pandemic? What percentage does that occupy the setlist?

[09:35] Tell me about your comedic life! Before COVID, what were you up to, what’s your background?

[11:07] You’re booking a lot — are you still doing standup, or is that a thing of the past?

[12:04] Before COVID, there were a lot of new comedy shows on Netflix… now that live comedy shows are paused, I imagine there’s been a boom in recorded comedy specials?

[12:50] Royal Oak’s Comedy Castle is consistently voted one of the nation’s best comedy clubs and just reopened in late February for the first time since the pandemic.

[14:05] Do you like heckling when you’re performing?

[15:28] You mentioned you worked with Brad Garrett… what did you do for him? Is he a good dude?

[16:05] Your company is called the Comedian Company and you’re still booking events both corporate and private party right now… if anyone is listening and owns a restaurant that is struggling, make sure to contact Jason, who is providing this service.

[22:36] Jason also got Darren McCarty, a former Open Mike Guest, into comedy.

[23:48] Thanks for being on Open Mike, Jason! We’ll talk soon.

[23:58] There you have it! Jason Douglas from Pay It Forward Comedy… if you have someone in your life who loves to laugh, be sure to forward this episode to them and like/subscribe. We’re nearing 3 million downloads and are coming up to our 100th episode, which we have some special stuff planned for… we appreciate you watching — take care!

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