It’s a hot July Sunday evening in Upper Lake. Waves of heat shimmer on the concrete parking lot of Running Creek Casino, making the air conditioning a welcome breath of fresh air. It’s early in the evening, and there’s still plenty of time for dinner before the comedy show. After a quick visit to the Players Club to purchase tickets, the evening presents opportunities to enjoy. Slot machines catch the eye, but tonight’s dinner special, ribs, has already taken priority.
The dining room’s spacious layout of tables and chairs creates an intimate environment. Outside, separated by a wall of windows, the famous local band Dr. Groove plays catchy tunes on the patio. It’s just possible to hear them through the windows, but don’t worry; there will be time to head out after dinner to enjoy some music before the show.
There’s no rush tonight; we start with an appetizer and glass of wine. The steak bites pair perfectly with local wine. Next come the ribs, complete with sides of corn on the cob, beans, and potato salad. The tender meat does not disappoint, and neither does the French dip sandwich.
Outside, Dr. Groove picks it up a notch. The heat has turned into a balmy Lake County evening. Several people make their way to the dance floor. It would be easy to settle in, get another glass of wine, and enjoy the music for the evening, but it’s time for the main event: comedy night.
The multipurpose meeting room at Running Creek has transformed into a cocktail lounge. Dim lights barely illuminate the tables, creating an intimate setting. Candles sit in the middle of each table, surrounded by guests enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail. A podium stands in the middle of the stage, a sign stating “The Zany Report” taped to it, while green lights blink below. Various tunes from the sixties and seventies pipe through the speakers. It’s easy to settle in, order a drink from the cocktail waitress, and chat with friends.
After a few minutes, Ruben Mora’s voice comes over the speaker. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he announces, quieting the audience. “We’ve got a great show for you tonight!” Then, without further ado, he introduces the first act: himself. He pops up on stage, wearing jeans and a sports coat over a t-shirt, a pork pie hat perched on his head, bringing the first laughs of the evening with him. Ruben offers more than hospitality tonight; he’s come up with a few jokes himself. If you get him a chance, ask him about his new tattoo. But he’s only on stage a few minutes before he introduces tonight’s opener, the talented Becky Lynn from Sacramento, who, among other things, shares about experiencing childbirth and Fentanyl simultaneously.
But once Bob Zany walks up on the stage, there’s no doubt who’s the evening’s feature comedian. Bob’s been around in show business, from his appearances on The Gong Show to Last Man Standing. And, notably, he’s the guy who pushes Joe Dirt at the movie’s beginning.
I’ve always had a dream like this,” he begins, a cigar in his hand. “I’ve never performed before fifty-two people in a meeting room in Upper Lake.” He pauses, looking around the room. “I’ve arrived.” He’s a master of the craft, able to make a joke of any person’s name. Who knew so many laughs could come from contractors named Steve in the audience? Bob’s good at all types of comedy, from his box of Goodwill finds to his fake news “Zany Report.” The night’s filled with laughter. Sure, he never lights his cigar, but he keeps the audience engaged until the lask joke.
Outside, a cool breeze softly blows, and the clear blue skies have transformed into a misty sea of blues and purples. People smile, talk about the jokes, and how they can’t wait to come back next month for more fun.
There will be comedy this Tuesday! Mention “THE BLOOM SPECIAL,” and you will get $5 off your tickets at the Players’ Club!
Running Creek Casino holds regular comedy events. Call ahead for dates and times.
Running Creek Casino
635 East Highway 20
Upper Lake, California 95485