The original Laff Stop was discontinued back in 2009, and then once again in the same building, Sherlock’s Pub recently suffered the same fate. We’re here to remember them both for giving so much to the comedy scene in Houston. Here is the rest of the story.
Sherlock’s Pub: Comedy Reborn
With the fall of The Laff Stop, comedy in the city of Houston had been brought to a halt. It was time for somebody to step up and bring it back to life again. That somebody would be John Wessling, founder and leader of the Houston Comedy Union. The old Laff Stop had become Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub & Grill River Oaks. It wasn’t long until Wessling scoped it out, and convinced the Sherlock’s management to allow the HCU to host stand up comedy there once a week. They approved. Comedy was back.
Hosting stand up comedy at Sherlock’s Pub had an amazing run in such a short amount of time. It grew to become the largest and most consistent open mic in town. It grew to be so big that they began running it on Sundays as well as Mondays. Life was good in the Houston comedy world.
R.I.P. Sherlock’s Pub
Once again, as the curse of the building goes, Sherlock’s Pub was shut down on June 2, 2012 without any warning, making it an unwelcome surprise to everyone. And to make matters worse, it was shut down in the middle of Houston’s Funniest Person contest. Not having a place to host the contest, John Wessling and the HCU had to act quickly. Rob Mungle shared an inspiring quote: “For those people who want to do comedy, who are committed to the scene and committed to doing comedy, they’re going to find a way to keep that going.”
And that’s exactly what Wessling did. Amazingly, he was able to not only find a new home for the contest and stand up comedy altogether, but he managed to continue the contest that same evening, just hours after Sherlock’s closed for good. The new home for HCU stand up comedy is now at Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub & Grill in Rice Villiage. That’s right, same name, better location.
The closing of Sherlock’s Pub was a sad turn of events for the comedy community. Many comedians came forward to share their feelings of remorse.
I’m definitely going to miss it. I met some of my best friends there. I’ve killed in that room and eaten very, very large sacks of crap there, too. At the end of the day though, it’s just a building. The Houston Comedy Union was never just those four walls anymore than the Laff Stop was, or comedy has ever been, period. The scene is stronger than it has been in years, and I look forward to wherever things go from here.
Of course Sherlock’s was just a building, but the same can be said about a church. It’s about what happens inside the building that counts. Sherlock’s was kinda like a church, but with more sex, drugs, cursing, and drinking.
Sherlocks is where I improved the most on my comedy. It really was the Gold’s Gym for comedians. If you could do well there you could do well anywhere.
Sherlock’s was the first stage I hit when I came to Houston. It always brought me joy when I killed on that stage. It was legendary and it will be missed.
I got my comedy start at Sherlock’s. Ever since I’ve been a loyal member of the Houston comedy scene and I considered Sherlock’s my comedy home. —Aaron Barret
Sherlock’s was a training ground for comics to learn the craft. Sherlock’s and the HCU deserve credit for filling the void left behind by the demise of the Laff Stop. Being the old Laff Stop, it was really cool that we were performing in the same place that Mitch Hedberg and Louis C.K. recorded their first albums, and where Doug Stanhope recorded three CDs. My hats off to them for keeping it going as long as they could. –Al Bahmani
Sherlock’s & The Laff Stop will always have a place in my heart. The first time I did comedy eight years ago was at that location. Someone made a cartoon trombone noise to one of my jokes and I didn’t do comedy again till over seven years later. As the last person to host at Sherlock’s, it may be important to know my joke my last joke ever said on stage:
“My dog has cancer…
Same cancer I have….
I have a rare form of dog cancer… Chemo’s a bitch.”
For more info on Houston open mic comedy, click here
To see pictures from the very last night of Sherlock’s Pub, click here
Contributed by: Steven Padilla
Written by: David Gavri