A Renton native and former Hazen High School basketball star is returning to the city with jokes.
Monica Nevi, a 2008 Hazen grad, is now an up-and-coming comedian about to take the stage for Comedy Night, Sept. 7, in a show planned at the Renton Civic Theatre. Nevi will host the show, which features local comedians Xung Lam, Aaron Kirby and Mitch Burrow. The event, starts at 8 p.m. and will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“Not only will we be putting on a great show, but the money spent will go toward a great cause,” said Nevi, via email. “It just seemed like the perfect scenario. I fell in love with the venue, it’s old but you can feel the history when you’re in there. I not only felt like Renton needed some good stand-up comedy somewhere, but also friends, family and Rentonians – I don’t even know – have been asking for me to perform in Renton non-stop, since I started, so I figured let’s do it and make it for a great cause!”
Since graduating from Hazen, Nevi went on Seattle University and was supposed to continue her basketball career. Unfortunately, she said, injuries ended that athletic track.
Nevi discovered stand-up comedy in January of 2011. Stand-up was something she always enjoyed watching and thought she would one day try, even at an early age.
“After about a year of writing jokes and some reckless abandon, I decided to get onstage at Laughs in Kirkland for my first open mic,” wrote Nevi. “I really enjoyed it right from the start and haven’t stopped ever since.”
She is now a regular at Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland, the Tacoma Comedy Club and has performed all over Seattle. Nevi has cracked jokes in the 2012 Bridgetown Comedy Festival, in Portland, Ore.; the Seattle Comedy Underground and on stages in San Francisco.
She describes the comedy scene in the Seattle area as “pretty good” and the Renton scene as not bad, but “just lacking some presence.”
“It’s not quite one of the big markets like New York or Chicago, but it is definitely here and thriving,” said Nevi of the Seattle comedy scene. “There are multiple clubs; a few of the best I have been in are in the greater Seattle area. There is decent support for the scene as well. You can find some really great audiences around here and some of the best comics in the country have come from here or spent time here. It’s really fun.”
Comedy stages in Renton have come and gone, but have been fairly successful, she said.
“Now there is a Monday night open mic at Burnett’s (Pub), in downtown Renton that I have come to really like, for working out my new material,” said Nevi. “Other than that there isn’t too many options right in Renton, which is kind of what prompted me to go for it as far as putting this show together. I think we have the community to support it, people just need the option.”
Nevi hopes to eventually go as far as she can in comedy, making it her full-time job, if possible.
“I am enjoying how it’s going thus far, but it is a process,” she said. “I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with some amazing and talented people already and I really hope that continues.”
For now, Nevi plans to increase her stage performances and continue hitting the road with her jokes.