Center City nightclub holds outdoor comedy show to lift spirits amid coronavirus

A Center City club flicked on the mic for the first time since March to provide some much-needed levity amid the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus and civil unrest.

The Raven Lounge on 17th and Sampson Streets held a free outdoor comedy show featuring 20 local comedians. Normally a dance and nightclub, the Raven Lounge provided laughs from the makeshift stage on the front stoop of the 14-year-old business.

"I think that comedy is essential and I think a lot of people forgot that and they forget what levity does for the human spirit and the fact that right now we need it more than ever," Keith Ruffin said.

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To those who know the culture at Raven Lounge best, the club is described as a "melting pot" for local comedians; a characteristic club owner Jonathan Hunter wanted to reinforce with Saturday's show. 

"I feel that I've always had a responsibility to use this venue to give voices that might not be heard," Hunter said.

Hunter believes that peace, unity, and equality are part of what helped Raven Lounge earn its reputation.

"This was the melting pot for everybody 14 years ago when we started this, it didn't make a difference, if you wanted to do comedy Thursday night you could get on," Dave Temple said.

The first live show in the throes of a pandemic and following weeks of protests against police brutality and systemic injustice, those who stopped by heard a wide range of topic behind the mic.

"Growth only comes from discomfort and pain," Temple said. "We're getting there, it might feel terrible right now, but this is progress, this is growth, this is what it feels like," Temple said.

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