H-town laughs: A timeline of notable events in Houston's comedy history

A few notable dates in Houston comedy history.

A few notable dates in Houston comedy history


Bob Newhart releases "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart," a stand-up comedy album recorded at the Tidelands Club at the Tidelands Motor Hotel on South Main in Houston. The record would win an album of the year Grammy in 1961.


Bill Hicks' family moves to Houston.


The Laff Stop opens on West Gray. The venue was the site for several recordings, including Mitch Hedberg's "Strategic Grill Locations" and Ron White's "Drunk in Public." That same year, the Comedy Workshop opens on San Felipe. A teenage Bill Hicks would sneak out of his house and show up at the venue. By age 17, he was performing there.


Sam Kinison moves to Houston and quickly makes waves on the comedy scene. One night, he's suspended from the Comedy Workshop for starting a riot. Upon leaving the venue, he proceeded to lose his shirt, cover himself in ketchup and tie himself to a cross across the street from the venue.


The Comedy Workshop debuts "Two-Bit Opera," a musical comedy about Houston. The show would be performed more than 800 times.


Rise of the Texas Outlaw Comics, a group of comedians that would include Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, Ron Shock, Robert Barber, Steve Epstein, Jimmy Pineapple, Carl LaBoue, Fred Greenlee, Riley Barber, John Farneti and Andy Huggins, among others.


The Comedy Workshop closes. Sadness ensues.


Sam Kinison's "Live From Hell," recorded at the Comedy Workshop, is released one year after Kinison's death in a car accident and three years after the club closed. The album would win a Grammy.


Bill Hicks dies of cancer. Sadness ensues.


Louis CK releases "Live in Houston," which he recorded at the Laff Stop. The comedian released the album independently through his website, a distribution model that would become more common a decade later.


While out for a walk before a Laff Stop gig, Lewis Black notices a Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks at West Gray and Shepherd. His "The End of the Universe" routine is born.


The Laff Stop closes. Sadness ensues. For years, it had offered an early stage to comedians like Brett Butler, Katy native Sean Rouse and the late High School for the Performing and Visual Arts alum Ralphie May

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Article H-town laughs: A timeline of notable events in Houston's comedy history compiled by www.chron.com

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