Stand-up in the Basement of the new Joe Squared!

Reviewed by Nina Lerner 


A new tradition is starting for beloved pizza joint/bar Joe Squared. On the first Thursday of every month, they’re having stand-up in their basement, presented by the Baltimore Whiskey Company.

It was a bit of a madhouse to get in – people had bought tickets online beforehand and only 20 tickets remained. About 50 people showed up to buy them. When the basement doors opened, everyone walked/sprinted to it like schoolchildren lining up to get candy. Once we were inside, the magic happened.

First of all, we could order pizza at the bar. Before the jokes even began, we were chowing down on the beloved thin-crusted pizza. Getting this food without the wait for a table? Count me in. (They even had soy cheese for my born-again Vegan friend.)

Stand-up host Umar Khan was hilarious and for some reason brought his parents to the show. He made several self-deprecating jokes about himself and/or them for the sake of hilarious comedy. Anyone could laugh at their pain.

Comics for the first round included Elahe Izadi, Donnie Sengstack, Jamel Johnson and Stavros Halkias. I am not going to give away their sets, but each of these comedians had us all in total hysterics. The group was young, diverse and purely enjoyable. Stavros Halkias was a stand out, discussing his failed love life (an all-too-relatable topic) and his recent move to New York. I hope Baltimore wins him back.

There were drink specials through the Baltimore Whiskey Company. (Well, right now they only serve their gin since whiskey apparently takes years and years to distill. I learned this all from a stranger on the line to get in.) And of course, as all Baltimore drinking events should have, there was a $2 Natty Boh special. That’s just classy.

This month’s comedians will gather again on March 3rd along with returning host Umar (and his parents?) and will feature Jason Weems Josh Kuderna, Jessica Garret, Carlos Delgado.

Maybe it was just the delicious pizza and cheap beer, but I had an absolutely wonderful time. Learn from my mistakes, thought – buy your tickets online beforehand so you don’t have to push someone out of the way to get in (like I did).


This event is 21+ and takes place the first Thursday of every month at Joe Squared.


Nina Lerner is a writer, filmmaker, New Yorker, dog lover and chronic disappointment to her parents. She writes for the JHU-based comedy newspaper The Black and Blue Jay and once had a glamorous, unpaid summer internship for a talent agency in NYC. She loves the theater, horrible sports teams and Paul McCartney. Her parents are actually very proud of her.


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