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A night of comedy downtown

In downtown Salem, Capitol City Theater gives local entertainers the chance to perform routines before a live audience every week. 

The theater offers events every Thursday through Saturday, according to Julie Shadlow, bar manager and part-owner of Capital City Theater. Shadlow says Salem performers have been attending these open mic nights and “cultivating it [the local comedy scene] for the past six years.”

Every Thursday is Open Mic Night; doors open at 6:30 p.m. and comedians begin performing their routines at 7 p.m. Open mic allows any member of the community the opportunity to perform five minutes of original comedy material.

According to Shadlow, there are about 50 active people in the Salem comedy community. “Comedy is not exactly lucrative,” she said. “People who are on Comedy Central work a day job.”

One such moonlighting comedian is Grant Yoder, a regular performer at the open mics. During the day, he works for the State of Oregon, but he’s been attending and performing at Capital City theater’s Open Mic Night for the past year.

Yoder discovered his passion for comedy in the fifth grade, where he performed during a talent show.

“The only joke I remember was a sweet Elvis joke,” said Yoder. “I’m pretty sure I was the only one who laughed.”

Yoder started going to Capitol City Theater’s open mics because, according to him, “they’re the best in town.”

Admission to shows at Capitol City Theater is free with a purchase of two or more items from the bar to support the theater. These do not have to be alcoholic items.

Shadlow’s advice to anyone interested in an open mic is to come to watch a show first. After that, she recommends writing a full 10 minutes of material for the five-minute slot.

In addition to stand-up, the theater also hosts improv shows at 9 p.m. each Friday and Saturday.

“This is a vibrant section of our community, and it is thriving,” said Shadlow.

To sign up for Open Mic Night, visit the Capitol City Theater’s Facebook page at from noon to 5 p.m. on the day of the event.

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