Four years ago we started a backyard comedy show called Krakin Jokes with 8 people in attendance.
We had a rickety backyard stage,
a borrowed microphone and amp, some bad jokes, and a lot of rum. If you showed up, you had to get on stage. Had no material? No worries, you could field questions provided by the wily audience and tell a story about the most sensitive, embarrassing, or downright strange moments in your life.
When it got cold, we moved into the living room
and stood on a coffee table. After two shows about 30 people showed up and we had to put together a lineup. Kelly Smith started playing some walkup music on his laptop, Daniel Cutts built some benches, and the rest is pretty much history.
More people kept showing up to the house, to see what had started as a drunken lark.
We tried some weird stuff and experimented constantly.
Some of it worked. Some of it didn’t, like our fifth show, known as the Lost Krakin. Carter’s 45 minute bomb. Rampant drunkenness. Bonfires full of house chairs. We thought Krakin Jokes was over, and we had lost the trust of our audience. (Thankfully people either forgot about it or thought it was a good time.)
It became clear that we had an obligation to the community
to put on a good show. Without the people in the community, there simply was no show. One could even say the whole concept of “comedy” depended entirely upon the community that defined it. Those who came out made the house shows a truly magical experience, but eventually the audience outgrew the ability to host them in our home. We are now trying to open a commercial space and “go legit.”
Cultivating a Community
Show after show, we invested every donated dollar into a better — not bigger — experience
We never thought of what we were running as a theater,
but it so clearly was. We just thought of it as a house show, but the house was itself simply a stage, or better yet, a recurring oasis in which people could come together, tell stories, make friends, and bond over the common laughter that made us all human.
Since our humble, drunken beginnings we have reached thousands in the community,
cultivating the talents of performers and the appreciation of audiences. When we open the doors to our theater, we will open them to the hundreds of folks who have called Krakin home, while welcoming the greater Athens community to join us.
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