By John Hanley
Food and entertainment go together almost naturally —some would even say the two are interchangeable. From dinner and a movie to theater snacks, from fair food to hibachi restaurants, most entertainment is rounded out by an element of grub. This idea, along with the support of local arts and businesses, is what Jeffrey Buck is emphasizing with his new series, Stand-Up Pop-Up.
The first installment of the monthly series will be happening at Spanish Moon on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 9 p.m., although Buck says the plan is to hold the events in different locations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Performances for this event will include Howard Hall, Josh Watts, Vince Gulino, Tim Smith and Chase Bates. The cost of food will range from $1-5, but the event itself will be free.
“I’m aiming to pique the interest of bar goers in both local food and comedic entertainment,” said Buck, who is a comedian based out of New Orleans and curator of the Baton Rouge Comedy page. “There is an abundance of both around us all the time, but sometimes it’s hard to find all under one roof.”
Buck says the event aims to provide a venue for aspiring chefs and local or traveling comedians to showcase their work to the public.
One such aspiring chef is Michael Kopynec, who will be catering this event with tapas. Kopynec has hopes of opening a combination art, entertainment and food venue and is using Stand-Up Pop-Up for some exposure as he prepares to open his new business.
“My interest in this particular event is getting my name out there, and of course, getting to try the recipes on a public audience,” said Kopynec. “And when I have my venue open, I’d love for [Buck] to host these events at my place.”
Just as Kopynec sees the symbiotic relationship in this event, so does Buck. Buck loves food and comedy himself, but he’s putting on this event both for his love of the arts and helping local talents.
“I’ve always had an interest in supporting local kitchen pop-ups, especially since I’ve been cooking in kitchens for over six years now,” said Buck. “It’s one of my favorite things to do, so I figured I’d blend it with my other favorite thing: comedy.
“My goal is just to maintain a monthly event and showcase aspiring chefs and comedians. I want them to be happy and get their talents out for the public to enjoy and share.”
Just as Buck and Kopynec are working with each other and helping each other through the event, the two aspects of Stand-Up Pop-Up collaborate to complete the night of entertainment.
“I feel like they’re both artistic,” said Kopynec. “Comedy is an artistic expression, and food, for me, is an artistic expression, and they both serve people. So, I think they pair pretty well. And who doesn’t want a little bite to eat at a show?”
“I enjoy a stress-free environment with both comedic work and when I’m preparing food,” said Buck, adding he hoped the carefree atmosphere of a comedy show will help ease the stress of everyone involved and keep the event laid back. “It’s nice to have fun while you cook, so hopefully the chefs will find the mood of the room comfortable.”
Buck said he is satisfied with the way the series is currently set up but is open to expanding it if he sees fit.
“Maybe if I get a bigger spark of motivation or inspiration, I’ll change the format,” he said. “But I like comedy and food. Once you add music and art and so on, it becomes this big cluster and is hard to find the focal point of the event as an attendee. But who knows, this is the first event. If I feel additions are needed, then they can be added.”