“This is a weird little place to have a comedy show,” said Denver comic Sam Tallent when he headlined a show at the Guild back in April. A movie theater may be a weird stand-up venue, but for a few years now, local comedian Matt Peterson and Guild Cinema owner Keif Henley have been producing comedy shows there bimonthly. Though at first they could only fill the plush theater seats with other comics, friends of comics or people expecting a movie, Henley and Peterson have built an audience by putting on some of the funniest shows in town. Even wayward moviegoers stay and enjoy a laugh.
When performing at the Guild, I can tell you from personal experience, you feel like a vaudevillian luring your audience in with old-timey promises of entertainment. Something about the curves of the velvety curtains on the walls and the rickety wooden stage floor make you want to channel Mae West or W.C. Fields. Audiences enjoy that nostalgic energy from the comedians because it’s a rarity in this modern world. “People come to see stand-up only, which is great for the comedians as well as the audience,” Peterson reflects.
Keif Henley and Matt Peterson have built an audience by putting on some of the funniest shows in town. Even wayward moviegoers stay and enjoy a laugh.
On Friday, Aug. 16, Scotty Goff, originally from El Paso but currently residing in Albuquerque, headlines at the Guild. Goff is one of the sharpest, most quick-witted comics I’ve seen live. A crowd-work master, he can craft a joke out of anything thrown at him. Opening for Goff is Anthony Almanzar, a South Valley native, who recently won a competition to be the next MTV Voices correspondent. Relatively new to the Albuquerque stand-up scene, Almanzar has a slick, energetic stage presence and has quickly become one of the best young comedians in town. Just back from a gig in Texas, Sarah Kennedy and Matt Peterson are also performing. Kennedy has won best local comic from the Alibi and Albuquerque the Magazine. Her style ranges from pop culture references to political and social commentary. Peterson, who also runs a weekly showcase at The Damn Bar, recently had a lead role in the film The Bigfoot Election and is gearing up to star in Abe Makes a Movie. Peterson draws his comedy from raw personal experiences that resonate easily with the audience.