Nearly 30 local comics will get a shot at some national shine this month when celebrity comedian Kevin Hart’s Comedy Central show “Hart of the City” stops by Motor House to film an episode all about Baltimore.
The two-day event, set for April 18 and 19, will feature a collection of local comedians at the Station North arts venue. None are guaranteed a spot on TV, though each will perform with the hope of making the cut for the show. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets for $8.
Each episode of “Hart of the City”–now entering its third season–is framed around a trip to a major U.S. city, with clips from featured comedians’ live sets. In travelogue style, Hart also chats with the comics about their local scene.
Motor House director Andre Mazelin said in an email that it was local comic Ivan Martin, host of the monthly Art of Comedy series at the Station North venue (and previously at the former Platform Arts Center, among other venues), who helped orchestrate the “Hart of the City” showcase.
In an interview, Martin said the focus of Hart’s special is on “urban comedians.” That mostly means black comics, he said, though “there’s a few Hispanic comedians, white comedians, that are just as embedded in the urban community” who will be performing.
Martin has been active in Baltimore’s comedy circuit for nearly a decade and has watched it grow.
“When it comes to downtown Baltimore and Station North and Mount Vernon, you can get on stage every single night now,” he said.
He also said the city’s national comedy profile has been raised, which he attributed in part to the success of last year’s inaugural Baltimore Comedy Festival. Martin helped put together the 2017 festival, and is doing it again for Labor Day weekend this summer.
According to a list provided by Martin, 14 comedians will perform each night during the two-day showcase. The odds of actually getting on TV are steep, with four to six comics ultimately making it onto the final episode.
He added that just because Comedy Central is filming here doesn’t necessarily guarantee the episode will make it to cable, as the network often trims the final season down from a pool of already-filmed episodes.
“All the comedians that are in the comedy industry understand and know that’s exactly what happens,” Martin said, “but what everybody is most proud of is that we’re a city that is beginning to get recognized.”
This story has been updated to reflect that 14 comedians will be performing on each night of the showcase.
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