Bone Dry is making Montana’s comedy desert bloom

Bone Dry is making Montana's comedy desert bloom

They name it Bone Dry Comedy as a result of Montana was once a comedy desert.

Positive, we’d get occasional reveals from individuals who grew up right here — Reggie Watts and Chris Fairbanks reliably tour round Christmastime — and large headliners may carry out on the Alberta Bair in Billings or the Ellen in Bozeman. However the true meat and potatoes of stand-up comedy, the touring comics and the comedy golf equipment the place they will carry out, has lengthy been missing from Montana.

Stand-up comedian Alex Kaufman began Bone Dry Comedy in 2020. 

Positive, Bozeman has the Final Greatest Comedy Membership. However that’s only one city. In the event you’re not within the Gallatin Valley, good luck seeing stand-up on most given nights.

Alex Kaufman is altering that. Kaufman lives in Bozeman, the place he usually performs. However he’s altering the sport for Montana comedy by taking it on the street. He based Bone Dry Comedy, a manufacturing firm that runs two open mics — the place anybody can get on stage and check out their hand at stand-up — in Bozeman and one in Missoula. As well as, each month, and typically extra, Bone Dry herald a nationwide touring comedian and tour them throughout the state. Comics begin in Billings, head to Bozeman, then Missoula, and finish the tour in Helena. Kaufman calls it “The Run.”

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Comics historically carry out a full weekend (Thursday to Sunday) at a comedy membership. However Montana markets are too small and too unfold out to make that work. “The Run” solves that drawback and provides comics who tour Montana an opportunity to get their cash’s price, each by way of precise money for the reveals, and the chance to carry out for various audiences in several venues in several cities.

“We’re type of a pop-up comedy membership,” Kaufman defined. “We may give comics a full weekend, however the way in which we do it’s by spreading it throughout the cities in Montana.”


Bone Dry Comedy’s emblem nods to its comedic and desert inspirations. 

The touring nature comes pure to Kaufman, as a result of he’s type of from all over the place. His dad was within the Air Drive, so the household moved each couple years. They returned to Texas loads, however hung out in Hawaii, Guam, Rhode Island, even Tokyo. Name him a comedy composite.

He grew up a stand-up fan, however with a busy background, he by no means tried to do comedy himself. There aren’t a variety of golf equipment for English talking highschool college students in Tokyo and Guam. That modified when Kaufman began attending the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Kaufman discovered a child who lived in the identical constructing as a him was going to open mics, so he tagged alongside. However even on the membership, he discovered it too annoying to stand up. One factor saved him: on-line signups.

“I did the web signup course of to hack my very own mind,” Kaufman famous. “Now I’ve made a dedication. I’ve an obligation.”

He spent the subsequent week “dropping my thoughts,” however went up and carried out anyway.

“It’s been an obsession ever since,” Kaufman stated.


Alex Kaufman opening for comic Kyle Kinane in Missoula. 

He realized a couple of issues from these early reveals. First is that Bone Dry’s three open mics all provide on-line signups. However the extra vital factor Kaufman realized was concerning the worth of comedy golf equipment. Comedy now so typically lives in individuals’s headphones. However in a membership, it’s public. It’s as a lot concerning the bodily setting and who you’re round as it’s the comedian on stage.

It took a transfer to Montana to show his obsession right into a full time job. Kaufman relocated to Bozeman in August 2019 as a result of he’d gotten into the physics grad faculty program at MSU, working with gravity analysis and quantum communication. Stand-up provided an escape from this very heady work.

“A part of comedy is attending to train each side of my mind,” Kaufman stated.

Now he’s a full time comic and comedy promoter, a far cry from graduate degree physics. However Kaufman sees a connection between physics and working his personal comedy manufacturing enterprise. Fixing a physics equation is a tough drawback, however so is determining the place your touring stand-up goes to remain in Missoula, or whether or not it’s cheaper for them to fly out of Helena or Billings.

“From physics, you may develop a resiliency and a willingness to leap into these sorts of areas the place you haven’t any concept what’s occurring,” Kaufman stated.

The large drawback that occurred shortly after shifting to Bozeman was, after all, COVID. Kaufman went to New York Metropolis to see his now-wife again in early 2020, and wound up getting caught there, ending a semester of grad faculty on-line from a cramped shoebox house.

However Bone Dry really grew out of COVID. After he returned to Montana and issues began opening again up, an open mic popped up in a small Bozeman bar. It was the one place to carry out on the town, however the small room wound up getting packed. Comics Kaufman knew had been turning down stage time to keep away from going to a good house like that.

The primary Bone Dry open mic was in October 2020 within the upstairs of the American Legion in downtown Bozeman, an enormous room with an enormous stage that allowed everybody to unfold out.

The open mic wound up being a hit. After one, a bartender from Massive Sky approached Kaufman to ask if he’d be involved in placing collectively a present within the resort city. Kaufman accepted, and placed on the primary touring Bone Dry present in early 2021. It was simply native acts, nevertheless it gave him an concept of how the mission would work as a touring outfit.


Alex Kaufman is the founding father of Bone Dry Comedy. 

By that summer season, Kaufman produced a present within the Giggle Field, a now shuttered artwork house that occupied the empty Sears on the Southgate Mall in Missoula. These reveals additionally went nicely, and phrase of mouth began rising.

“I noticed this chance to begin to deliver out larger and larger headliners, and the transfer to make that possible to was to ensure they’ve a extremely good expertise in order that they made cash and it was type of seamless,” Kaufman stated.

The primary Bone Dry “Run” was in December 2021, and Kaufman by no means seemed again. Now bringing comics round Montana, a spot a lot of them have by no means even visited, is his full time job. They’ve gotten huge acts, too, of us like Sean Patton, Carmen Morales and Amy Miller. Subsequent month, Bone Dry is presenting comedy veteran Matt Braunger in Missoula.

Kaufman runs the present, reserving the venues and organising the whole lot — he now owns a variety of skilled sound and lighting tools, and even a pink curtain he can put behind the comics to show a bar right into a membership.

It’s not straightforward. Discovering venues is hard, nevertheless it’s allowed Kaufman to placed on what he deemed “attention-grabbing DIY reveals in bizarre areas.” In Bozeman, they usually carry out at Rad Bikes, a motorcycle store that doubles as an occasion house. In Billings they’ve executed reveals at Final Likelihood Cider Mill, the Nova Theater, the Thirsty Avenue Storage and even the Pub Station Ballroom.

“It’s an endeavor,” Kaufman admitted. “The monetary danger each time I do this isn’t small.”

However he can’t cease. That obsession with doing comedy is now an obsession with facilitating comedy.


Alex Kaufman on the Giggle Field in Missoula. 

“I don’t just like the stress, however I do like with the ability to deliver these reveals and these comics to those locations,” he stated. “There’s attention-grabbing artwork stuff occurring on a regular basis underneath the floor, it doesn’t matter what city it’s, irrespective of how small or how huge.”

After each present, he has individuals come as much as him and comment about how they’re so completely satisfied that comedy is now coming to the place they reside.

“Even when I do a present the place there’s solely 10 individuals there and I lose X quantity of {dollars}, in the event that they’re 10 comedy followers it’s price it,” Kaufman stated. “It’s price it to have the ability to give these individuals one thing that they weren’t in a position to get earlier than.”

who else likes it? The comics.

Billy Anderson, who runs a touring present referred to as The Gateway Present, praised Kaufman for remodeling Montana’s comedy scene. Massive theater comics will at all times come, however for these smaller, extra intimate reveals, Anderson stated “Alex is the one particular person in Montana doing that in the suitable method.”

For Kaufman, the opinion of the comedians he brings to Montana is the factor he worries about essentially the most. Stand-ups from huge industrial markets don’t know what to anticipate in sparsely populated states out West.

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Nevertheless it nearly at all times goes nicely. The audiences are good, and the manufacturing worth is nicely above what most touring comedians anticipate in locations like this.

“The factor that comes up essentially the most is persons are stunned at how cool Montana is,” Kaufman stated.

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