When we took over the Hi De Ho Comics shop in November of 2014, we all came together with different ideas as to how to make the store more relevant in an era where print is on the decline. Comics, art, film, music, magic, comedy — we’ve had it all happen within the walls of our shop in a relatively short time. Our game plan was and continues to be to make the store a hub that brings in people of all walks of life.

If we, as owners, were going to claim a different aspect of the store as our own, my spoke choice was comedy. Not that I think I could ever do stand-up comedy, but experiencing it is one of my passions in life. Living in L.A., there are so many big names that play all the time, the options feel limitless. A running complaint I’ve heard from comedians is that while a cross-country tour can sell out months in advance, dates in Los Angeles will notoriously take their sweet time to sell. There’s just so much to see! Kristen Schaal on Mondays at The Virgil and Comedy Living Room’s monthly Tuesday shows at a now-demolished residence in Hollywood are my particular weekday favorites. To be able to see Aziz Ansari drop in, or to regularly catch Cameron Esposito on someone’s couch, how quintessentially L.A. is that? And I’m not even including the weekends.

And so we set out to create a show we could call our own: Hi De Ho Comedy. Stand-up comedians in L.A.’s oldest comic book store. It could work, right? We decided it was worth a shot.

Our first show consisted of little more than comedians talking into a mic plugged directly into a 2-foot amplifier in a brightly lit store. It was an interesting experiment. How could we improve? Like all new ventures, refinement is key. Online ads, wristbands, mailing lists, snacks, raffles, posters, Facebook events, expensive PA equipment — we needed it all to make things feel as smooth and professional as possible.

Our show now boasts a full PA rig, intro and outro music, and a killer spotlight in addition to everything else mentioned. The comedians who have graced our stage have played all over the country, been on your TV and entertained the troops in the Middle East. We manage to pull off a monthly show in large part to our booker and host, Alex Kojfman, who pieces it all together every month.

Back in May of this year I wrote this first piece in this series. Since then the store has made great strides, recently being named as one of the best stores in Los Angeles by the Hollywood Reporter, including a call out of our monthly comedy night. The shows have been well received; it’s not every day you get a mention in an internationally distributed magazine. Our audiences are always great, ready to come and laugh and have a good time.

Most important, however, is that every month we will have someone come up after the show and say what a great time they had. And, without fail, someone will mention how this is their first time in a comic book store. That’s what we’re looking for. A pet project is fine, but to have someone come and experience something new and have a good first impression of your store is priceless.

Hi De Ho Comedy is at 8 p.m. the first Thursday of every month. Our next shows are Aug. 6 and Sept. 3. Come check it out — especially if you’ve never been in a comic book store before.

Mauricio Machuca co-owns Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica.

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