Carbondale comedians spread joy through growing stand-up scene

By Caleb Motsinger

If humor is the key to happiness, then the Carbondale Comedians are some of the happiest guys in the town.

With nearly a dozen regulars and close to 20 comics affiliated with the group, the Carbondale Comedians perform free weekly shows on Monday nights at Hangar 9 and Wednesday nights at Station 13. Though some members filter in and out of weekly shows, or have left the group since it formed in 2009, comedian Mike Garvin said the group has accomplished what it originally set out to do: create a stand-up scene in Carbondale.

“We’re all very lucky to be in Carbondale right now on the cusp of something great,” said Mike Veatch Carbondale comedian. “The stand-up scene in this town gets bigger every week.”


The Carbondale Comedians have formed a conglomerate of area comics, a sort of union for southern Illinois humorists.

“The scene didn’t start to develop until Kyle Scanlan began organizing monthly stand-up comedy showcases around Carbondale,” comedian Mike Garvin said. “It’s rare to see a stand-up scene in a town this small.”

When Scanlan, the group’s founding member, left in May 2011 to pursue comedy in Chicago, the Carbondale Comedians eventually picked up new leadership through Ross Kelly, David Sharp, Mike Garvin and Andrew Chandler.

“We do stand-up all over town,” Kelly said. “Twitter has been big for us; it’s definitely the best way to find out when and where we’re going to be.”

Their radio program, “We Are Jason Statham,” began on 91.1 WDBX last September. Through social media and public radio, the comedians have been able to get the word out about their performances.

“We bounce a lot of ideas off one another and work together pretty well,” Kelly said. “Comics come and go, but stand-up in Carbondale is too small to not bond together.”

Many of the group’s members are either students, or came to Carbondale as students, Kelly said, with crowds usually ranging anywhere from seven to 70.