Comedy specials, late-night TV appearances, network TV writing rooms, even everyone’s favorite, and exceedingly popular, NPR game show – a perfect encapsulation of the pedigree that has played one of the hottest (and best-kept secret) comedy shows in Los Angeles. It just so happens to live within the walls of Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica.

On a relatively warm March night in 2015, I shuffled nervously between a newly-excavated stage and a paltry radio system, the like of which you’d find on the bargain end of any electronics store. Comedians began to file in, one by one, some with a friend in tow. My own wife read silently in the first row, in front of the badly-stained plywood platform inhabited, for the moment, by a dodgy amplifier and a microphone. It all was painfully laid bare by fluorescent lighting that never let you forget where you were – decidedly not a nightclub.

We ambitiously set up about 25 chairs for an unknown number of souls brave enough to try out a new experience on the Westside. My producer, Alex Kojfman and I believed that a Thursday night stand-up comedy show could be a draw. And it would be… just not that first night.

In the two years since that night, the lights have been turned low, the stage has been painted, a soundboard runs the audio, and the show grew in its own little petri dish that was seeded by a whopping seven-person audience.

On a good night, we’ll swell into a group or 60 or so, a growth that has run concurrent with the level of talent we’ve been lucky enough to attract. Every late-night show has been represented; TV, radio, and now streaming, stars have graced our stage. I’ve been fortunate enough to be called a “gremlin” by Alonzo Bodden once in the midst of a 15-minute set that filled every cubic foot of our 30’ tall store with cacophonous laughter. I’ve listened to Ali Wong deliver a similar amount of new material, fresh from glowing reviews of her Netflix comedy special “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra”.

At the same time, however, we’ve made time for newcomers, first-timers, lapsed comedians, comedy musicians, and even a magician. Most importantly, our show is a place where women and minorities are given time to showcase their skills in front of a receptive audience.

And so it goes, you will hear names that have graced our stage explode into mainstream stardom in no short order. From guest host Jackie Tohn, who will grace your TV as Gilda Radner in the upcoming National Lampoon biopic and as a female wrestler in “G.L.O.W.”, the next production from the creator of “Orange is the New Black”, both coming to Netflix this year. To Chris Estrada, who I firmly believe is the next great comic waiting to be discovered by an industry that is slow to accept more than one Latino comedian per decade.

With a week or so left before our second anniversary show, I take this moment to savor how far we’ve gone. A crazy idea matched by equal parts enthusiasm and anxiety, our show now called “Comic Books and Comedy” is digging its heels in, hoping to entrench itself into a Westside comedy scene that is otherwise only serviced by one dedicated club. Who knows who’ll drop in next?

Comic Books and Comedy’s Second Anniversary show is this March 2 at 8 p.m. here at Hi De Ho Comics 1431 Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica. We otherwise run the show every first Thursday of the month. Entry is $5. Come see what all the fuss is about.