Ying Vigilan is chasing her American Dream. Every Thursday, she hosts the LOL Comedy Night at the Grizzly Bar in the Pasco Red Lion, one of several venues in small to medium northwest towns that she brings stand-up comedy to. “They're just really hungry for entertainment,” she says, “and comedy is the easiest way for entertainment. Just show up with a mic. That's it.”
Ying is hands-on with everything. “Yes, I manage, I book, and produce,” she tells me.
In addition to delivering professional comedians to the stage, it’s not unusual to find Ying greeting and seating guests. “I want to make sure the whole thing runs smoothly,” she says.
But Ying puts in the kind of hours that only someone with a fire inside can do. “Comedy is a passion, of course,” she says without hesitation. “I make money, and lose money. I still do it. I think the best feeling is if you can make people laugh. So that's why I'm doing this.”
Ying is from Mainland China, but jokes that “all my jokes are made in America. Very safe.”
Finding a place to get those laughs wasn’t always so easy. “I don't get a lot of opportunities in Spokane. Probably some people don't like me, for some reason.” And so Ying changed her strategy; during the pandemic, she did online Zoom shows. And when things opened up a little more, she traveled to New York City and Los Angeles to get stage time. Her act was well received, and she got to know a lot of comedians, some of whom she hopes to bring to places like the Grizzly Bar, in small towns across the northwest.
“I don't think the venues I'm doing can book A-List,” she states, honestly. But she brings them the best comedians they can afford. "You know, I don't want to just book mediocre. Even small town people deserve the best.” And comedians need an audience. Ying already has 7 venues onboard. “I think it's gonna grow. It's getting bigger and bigger. Watch the house like, August, September, October. I have some big names lined up, so watch out.”
We’ll be watching, Ying, cheering you on, and laughing.
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