Melody Klema got her start in comedy at an open mic at an unlikely venue — a Colorado Springs yoga studio.
“I was 25 and going through a quarter-life crisis. I had just gone through a break-up and was looking for something to boost my confidence,” she said. A friend connected Klema with a comedy coach, and in August 2015 she got up the nerve to try out some jokes at an open mic night at Cambio Yoga. Her first performance went surprisingly well. Next, she tried open mic night at Zodiac nightclub, and again the audience was receptive.
“It was addicting. I kept wondering when I was going to have my first bomb, and then two months in I finally had it,” she said. But that didn’t stop her from putting on her first “Locals Til Last Call” show featuring 30 minutes of original material in November 2015 at Gold Camp Brewing Co. The show has since become an annual event.
Klema is producing and hosting “Laugh Your Brass Off,” a comedy night beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at Brass Brewing. She’ll warm the crowd up and introduce each of four performers she picked: Oshee Baugas and Caesar Gonzalez of Colorado Springs, featured performer Katie Bowman of Denver and headliner David Testroet of Denver.
“It’s a mixture of talent, age, background and ethnicity. I try to have everybody represented in a show,” she said. “As much as I can, I support female comedians. Every show I produce, I have at least one. And I try to always give new comedians a chance.”
The jokes at Friday’s event will “not necessarily be family-friendly. This is adult humor,” said Klema, who hosts a monthly comedy show at Gold Camp Brewing and weekly trivia nights for Denver-based Triviality at Iron Bird Brewing and Gold Camp.
Testroet, a nature and wildlife photographer who’s been performing comedy for three decades, including many shows at Loonees Comedy Corner in Colorado Springs, said his headlining set will include “a lot of real-life stuff, about being a photographer and being married for 25 years.”
What inspires him to get up in front of a live audience and bare his soul? “It’s a real drug, a real medicine. I’m a comic, and none of us are completely normal. It’s a thrill to see people enjoy watching you. It’s as fun for me as it was for them.”
Klema partnered with Brass Brewing owners Woody and Kelly Briggs for an Oct. 12 comedy night that had such a good turnout, they decided to do it again. It’s a win-win, with comedy and “amazing beer,” she said.
“I think people are thirsty for live comedy, they just don’t know where to find it,” said Klema, a Windsor native who moved to the Springs in 2008 to attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She stayed after earning her bachelor’s in strategic communication with a minor in women’s and ethnic studies.
That academic background helped her open up to diverse audiences. “It taught me there’s always different sides of the story, and that’s helped me in comedy a lot,” Klema said.
MICHELLE KARAS, THE GAZETTE, MICHELLE.KARAS@GAZETTE.COM