Arts & Culture » Week in Review

Something Funny in Boi: Hijinx is New Downtown

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Walk down Eighth Street between Bannock and Idaho on most nights and you'll likely hear laughter wafting down from the big, open second-floor windows of Hijinx, Boise's new comedy club. The newly opened venue has been hopping with a lineup of touring stand-ups and locals cutting their funny teeth.

Hijinx offers the same caliber of comedy that the Funny Bone used to have but with a more local flair and a different floor plan. A new set of stairs takes visitors from ground level to a bar in which the pre-existing wood floor is now covered with high wooden tables and chairs. Separated from the show room by a set of thick, sliding accordion doors, the bar's big floor-to-ceiling windows offer not only fresh surges of oxygen but also views of the street activity below. Smoking is allowed in the bar, but not in the show room during shows, a surely welcome change for non-smoking comedians like Auggie Smith, who regularly plays Boise.

Recently, as co-owners Brian Lee and Pat Mac greeted guests, Smith played the early Saturday show to a sold-out room, recording it for a possible new—and long overdue—live DVD. Born and raised in the Northwest, the Aug man knows Boise isn't quite as conservative as outsiders may think, and his liberal takes on politics, war, traffic and Bed Bath and Beyond were at times hard to hear over the guffaws of a nearly hysterical audience.

A pleasant surprise of the night came from Matt Bragg, who is now a Boisean by way of Los Angeles. Bragg has a great sense of timing and humor that comes from years of practice and that just-under-the-surface seething that the best working comedians tap into. Bragg, who is openly gay, appealed to the packed house of mostly 20- and 30-somethings, and his routine, which included bits about Jim Nabors and the Peanuts gang, struck 40-somethings' funny bones as well. Look for more on Bragg in a future BW issue.

On a recent Wednesday, four comedians took the stage including local Ryan Noack, Bragg, funnyman Vincent Oshana (who was opening for Damon Wayans Jr. later that week at the club) and L.A.-based Mike Faverman. For a hump day show, the room was more full than might have been expected, the audience drunk on cheap drinks and hilarity.

On Thursday, @RachaelDaigle@IDWordSlinger, @AverageAmy and @SSutton stopped in at Hijinx for a First Thursday Boise Tweetup. Sponsored by @KevinWBoise, @MikeBoss, @Brewtopian, @Scott_Nicholson and @HijinxComedy's Kari Carver, the bar was filled with the sounds of Ken Harris on electric piano and Twits—sorry Tweeps—chatting, networking and taking advantage of the club's great happy hour prices. Comments about how many of the gatherers enjoyed hanging out in the new bar filtered across the stiff breeze blowing through the open windows.

In the coming weeks, the club will bring Last Comic Standing host Bill Bellamy, Floyd Phillips Jr., Dan Cummins, Kevin Downey Jr. and personal fave, Ian Bagg. But even if stand-up isn't your thing--though it's hard to imagine why it wouldn't be--Hijinx is definitely worth a visit. Friendly waitstaff, dangerously low happy hour prices, voyeuristic views and a Funny Money card, which lets users build up points toward free tickets, all but guarantee a few BW staffers will be adding it to their long lists of regular stops.

800 W. Idaho St., 208-947-7100. Open Monday-Friday, 4:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.