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Laughing matters: A night at the Funny Bone comedy club

1/4/2017

“If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch,” says comedian Bill Blank from the stage of the Funny Bone Comedy Club. Blankat-the-bar-1 was born in Iowa, and he attended North High School. His act balances Iowa-style common sense with logic, and he combines the two while driving a bulldozer down the line of real-life issues.

“Well, I voted… so I’m bitching,” he continues to laughter.

Blank’s terse, abrupt humor — he later questions the sanity of Americans for spending 11.4 cents to make a nickel — serves to highlight his more complimentary words.

“Des Moines doesn’t realize how fortunate it is to have a full-time comedy club,” he says. “It doesn’t understand. The absolute best comics in the country come here. To work at the Funny Bone/Improv chain, you’ve got to bring the pain. This is where the best come.”

Leisha Lane, the club’s general manager and owner, agrees.

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“We bring in some of the top comics from across the nation,” she says. “It’s very rare to see these big names in such a close-up environment. You get to shake their hands and have a photo with them afterward.”

The Funny Bone’s 90-minute shows usually feature three comedians. Lane credits them for the club’s three-decade run of laughter. The central Iowa Funny Bone began in Urbandale before moving to its current location at West Glen Town Center in West Des Moines about nine years ago.

Lane gives one tip to first-time club goers.

“It’s an easy first date,” she says about an underutilized reason to attend. “You learn a lot (about the other person), you see what they will and won’t laugh about. And it also gives you something to talk about afterward.”

Josh Novey is this night’s warmup act. He gives the audience tips on getting a first date. He says that, while some personal ads wax poetic about long romantic walks on the beach, his reads more honestly: “I like short walks… to the refrigerator,” he says.

The Funny Bone Comedy Club features the nations’ premier stand-up comedians from across the country, and it also brings in the best talent from right here in Iowa.

“Everybody who works here is a professional,” says Novey. “You never see an amateur comedian on stage. This is a great place. You’re going to see a great show, and they have good food and great bartenders.” ♦

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