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Emerging local comics work on taking the next step at Sunday Funnies

Phillip Kopczynski will headline the new Sunday Funnies show at the Spokane Comedy Club, which gives up-and-coming comics an opportunity to work on their sets.
Phillip Kopczynski will headline the new Sunday Funnies show at the Spokane Comedy Club, which gives up-and-coming comics an opportunity to work on their sets.
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane music scene is burgeoning and the same is so for local comedy.

The abundance of fledgling area stand-ups has inspired Sunday Funnies at the Spokane Comedy Club, a new program designed to let local comedians hone their acts. Spokane Valley’s Phillip Kopczynski, a veteran comic who will headline, believes it’s time for such an event.

“There are more up-and-coming comedians in Spokane and they are developing and they can take the next step at Sunday Funnies,” Kopczynski said . “When a national act like Anthony Jeselnik or Damon Wayans comes to town, there is a need for an opener and a middle and those gigs usually go to local guys. You have to be at a certain level to handle the middle gig. Comics here need to work on their material. So when they perform Sunday, a guy who normally does five minutes, can push it to eight minutes. A comic who is used to doing 10 minutes can do 15 minutes. This is a way they can get better and the show will be entertaining.”

Sunday Funnies will feature six comics with Kopczynski, 42, who has been a professional comic for a decade, closing the show. The married father of two teenage sons will crack wise about his family and their experiences.

“We recently were on a vacation in Mexico and that was an experience since I had been studying Spanish,” Kopczynski said. “There was nothing like me stumbling around with my Spanish with a waiter who spoke perfect English. Also, my son got a cold down there and I was surprised, while trying to buy the Mexican equivalent of Nyquil, what you can pick up at the pharmacist down there. You can literally buy Xanax or anabolic steroids over the counter. There’s so much to talk about.”

The Rockford native has plenty of new material, but his life changed after the pandemic. Before 2020, Kopczynski spent 30 weeks a year touring the country. “I missed my family,” Kopczynski said. “So I decided to focus on being a Pacific Northwest comedian.”

Kopczynski, who placed second at Seattle’s International Comedy Competition in 2018, kills with his clean material inspired by his older son’s Boy Scout experiences. His bits on the Pinewood Derby and Boy Scout politics are relatable and humorous. Kopczynski is reaching back to some of those vintage bits since his boys are growing up.

“It’s hard to believe that they’ll be gone soon and I’m getting a bit nostalgic now,” Kopczynski said. “I remember being the only male party planner for my kids’ school and there was an interesting gender dynamic. The moms thought I was an idiot. I have so much material from when they were younger and it’s fun slipping some of that stuff into my set.”

Kopczynski could have left Spokane for Los Angeles, but he was always more of a stand-up than an actor and he wanted to raise his boys in Spokane. “I love it here,” Kopczynski said. “This town is booming so much that there are even places to go in the Valley. There’s a great restaurant very close to where I live, Craft & Gather. A guy from Napa bought it and turned the clubhouse of a golf course that closed into something cool. How does the golf course (Painted Hills) close? I didn’t know golf courses could close but that’s another story. The bottom line is Spokane is getting cooler. It’s still a stepping stone market for comics, but it’s a place where comedians here can get better and they’ll have the opportunity at the Spokane Comedy Club with Sunday Funnies.”

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