Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ryan Douglass and Laura Crawford run alternative comedy shows set to return to local stages within the next couple of weeks. (Photos: Marc Levy)

Winter killed off plenty of comedy, but spring reveals some budding: April 6 sees the return of the “Yoga Cult” alternative show Cambridge comic Laura Crawford hosted at Lilypad in Inman Square, now at the new Davis Square Theatre and this time called Black Box Comedy.

And Ryan Douglass’ “Upstairs at Rodney’s,” another showcase for alternative comedy, also has a kind of return, albeit not upstairs at Rodney’s, the Central Square bookstore. Instead, “the return of Upstairs at Rodney’s” will be at the Massasoit Elks Lodge on Bishop Allen Drive on March 28.

The Lilypad show ended in early February, Crawford said (in a Facebook post reminiscing about great moments that included “when Matt Ruby had a 10 minute conversation with an intoxicated homeless vet about Vietnam”), shortly after the end of the Upstairs at Rodney’s series, as the second story of the bookstore was emptied of bookcases for expansion by a tech company. To mourn, Crawford attended the third free comedy night at a Somerville laundromat, and that show turned out to be the last such event, according to the business’ owner. Performing at that laundromat show: Tim McIntire, who had just announced Feb. 25 was to be the last show at Mottley’s Comedy Club, which he ran with two partners near Fanueil Hall in Boston.

“While we are exploring the possibility of re-opening in a new location, we do not have any concrete plans,” McIntire said.

What was most striking about Mottley’s closing was the factors seeming to work in its favor: location; partners such as Rooftop Comedy, TicketFusion, Eventbrite, Magners USA, the Women in Comedy Festival (another Cambridge product, based mainly around Central Square’s ImprovBoston, running Wednesday through Sunday) and the Boston Comedy Festival; and well-attended shows. “We certainly need to thank our customers, who consistently kept us full and grew with our comics,” McIntire said at the time. “You’ve always supported us and we are forever grateful. We only ever had to kick out four drunks, and three of them were from New York.”

But Mottley’s closed all the same. Comedy is tough; its economics are tougher yet.

Crawford describes her Black Box Comedy — not quite yet on a weekly schedule, but she’s “working it out” — as a combination of standup, sketch and improv comedy. The show starts at 10 p.m. at the theater below-ground at 255 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville, a finally permanent replacement for Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater. Guests for the first show are listed as Tim Vargulish, Gary Petersen and Don’t Tell Mimi.

In the run-up to his “JM Rodney’s Medicine Show” at 9 p.m. March 28 at the lodge, 55 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square, Douglass has other Cambridge shows: 8:30 p.m. Mondays at Think Tank, 1 Kendall Square; and 8 p.m. Wednesday at “Harry Gordon Roasts America!” at ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Central Square.