Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bill Cruz!

Bill Cruz
Bill Cruz laughing it up
Seven Ten Lounge
Went to the Seven Ten Lounge last night and sat down with Bill Cruz, who, if you don't know, has been running the open mic room on Tuesday nights for the last couple of years.  It was the last night before the open mic's winter break and the place was jumping.  It was standing room only in the lounge with plenty of comics waiting in the wings.  Bill, a seven year veteran in the Chicago comedy scene was cool enough to sit down with me and answer some questions. Bill's motto for the open mic is "all kibbles no bit's".  Which basically means come with your new material and try not to do the "standard 5 minute" routine that you have been performing all around town over and over again.  Which is great and, in my opinion, should be standard policy for a lot of rooms.  This is of course on a volunteer basis and Bill does not strictly enforce the rule by cutting the mic or anything draconian like that.  Asked what he does if a comic performs obviously old prepared material, Bill replied with a laugh "I usually go outside and have a smoke".  Bill used to live next door to the seven ten lounge which is how he got the gig there.  "The owner asked me, I had been coming there for a while since I lived next door and the owner knew I was a comic and asked me if I was interested in running an open mic."  Which makes perfect sense because the guy is so freaking personable and since he's a veteran of the scene he knows it well.  Asked why so many comics leave Chicago once they get their chops Bill replied  "There's no industry here, most comics are writers, well there's not many writing gigs here so where do you go?  L.A. or New York.  Until Chicago gets an industry that can support the great talent your always going to have that exodus, however there is always new talent coming up and it always gets better, the comedy scene in Chicago has these waves of great talent and now were just at the start of a pinnacle of another wave."  While the Gutter Mouth Open mic is on winter break you can catch Bill at various showcases around the city, check out his page for details.
James Allen Kamp