Bay View’s Cactus Club is known for bringing in acts that rock and audiences that are ready for something beyond the standard entertainment. One year ago, they started doing this in a new way, when they paired with Hardcore Comedy Show to bring local comedians in to rock the room with laughs. We spoke to Mel Fleming, one of the founders of the Hardcore Comedy Show, who you may know as the human half of Mel & Blossom, about the partnership.
Q: Tell me the basics about the Hardcore Comedy Show.
“The Hardcore Comedy Show is a local comedy showcase featuring mainly women comics, started by two local female comedians. It’s at Cactus Club in Bay View, usually the last Thursday of every month (unless there’s a conflicting show) at 9:00 pm. It’s free, but with a suggested $3.00 donation at the door.”

Q: How did the Hardcore Comedy Show get started?
A.: “Stacy Pawlowski [another local comedian] and I started it. Several female comics had started working on other showcases and we started to think about doing an all-female comedy showcase. I had been running an open mic at the Bremen Café, but that ended. So Stacy and I decided to join forces and start a show at Cactus Club. We started with all female comics and then eventually added some male performers, but usually a majority of the acts are women. The anniversary show will be all women, for example.”
“Stacy has decided to focus on sketch and improv for a while right now, so local comic Jason Hillman has hopped on to help organize. It changes the dynamic a little but it’s a good fit and we’re moving forward with lots of plans for the next year.”
Q: What’s cool about doing the show at Cactus Club?
It’s taken on an entity of itself—there’s this great attitude, no chairs, or BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair), rock show vibe. Because it’s a rock room we can do it no holds barred. The only requirement is that you be funny. We can run a whole gambit of people and we don’t have to be afraid of offending anyone or watching the language. It’s not about what you say but about what works. The Club helps us keeps costs down, too, which is important for what we are doing–because we have very little overhead that means we can offer opportunities to people that a bigger club wouldn’t take a chance on. It’s awesome and a great showcase and quite an achievement to make in a year (and to make it to a year).”
Q. What’s next for Hardcore Comedy?
“We’re about to celebrate a year of Hardcore, so we’re doing an anniversary show on November 25th at 9:00 (Thanksgiving Eve!). We’ll have all female performers and we’re giving fifty percent of the proceeds to The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that has high security costs because they fight white supremacists and hate groups. We’re dedicating the show to Corey Lamons, a relative of one of our friends, who was killed by one of these groups.”
“After the anniversary show we may take December off due to the holidays, but then we’re back in January, and we’ll have some special shows at Cactus Club and maybe play some other venues on special nights to spread the word about the Cactus Club show. We have a lot in the works. It should be another good year.””
Judging by what we’ve seen so far out of the Hardcore Comedy Show, it will be.