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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay in the Life: Eric Durchholz
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2012-11-28

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Eric Durchholz applied in October to be a server or bartender at The Spot in Uptown but its owner, Calvin Duong, had another idea for the multi-talented Durchholz.

He brought Durchholz to the upstairs portion, which was not being used. He said, "Figure out a way to convert the space into a comedy club."

Durchholz is now the manager of The Funny Spot, which officially opened before Thanksgiving and will have its grand opening in early 2013.

"When I went to a comedy club [in the past], it seemed very dark and depressing, and a lot of comedians seemed very cynical. So I wanted to create a place that was diverse, for all colors and all sexual orientations, somewhere that would be a bridge between an amateur comedian and a professional comedian," Durchholz said.

The Funny Spot has seating for 60, offers gourmet food (from The Spot) and even has a beer-pong table. There will be nine comedians performing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (starting at 9 p.m.), and the best of those 27 will be on stage on the weekends too in 2013, said Durchholz, who will serve as the host for at least one of the mid-week comedy nights.

"I can do standup, but that's not the direction I want to go in my career; I would rather be an actor and develop a TV show," Durchholz said. "This [new job] was one of the first times in my life when someone was not scared of my experience or talent, but rather, exploiting it for maximum profit potential."

Also in November, Durchholz performed at Salonathon, a weekly performance art event. He sang and shared a short film. In addition, he has done a live show at Gorilla Tango this year. In addition, on Dec. 12, Durchholz is hosting a pilot screening party at The Funny Spot (7 p.m.) for his genre-spanning satire called ANYTHING BEAU'S.

"I really wish this delineation between gay and straight comedy would just go away. In my mind, I just see this as a place where fresh and innovative talent comes from."

The Funny Spot will likely have a limited number of gay entertainers, simply based on those who have applied. That's fine, Durchholz said, tagging The Funny Spot as a facility with a "gay sensibility," meaning "we're not afraid of different."

"A perfect night would [involve] a straight comedian, a straight female, a lesbian, a drag queen, a Black comedian, and also an Asian, Latino and others," he added. "We all can bring our experiences together. A bunch of us funny people, striped of pretension and greed, no telling what could come from this. We do it because we love it."

The comedians will not be paid during the week. Rather, The Funny Spot will serve as a training ground for them. "This is more like a real-life comedy workshop," Durchholz said.

THE STATS

Age: 40

Neighborhood: Uptown

Relationship status: Single

Job title: Comedian and manager of The Funny Spot (4437 N. Broadway)

Four people (living or dead) who you'd have over for dinner: Prince, Lady Gaga, movie director Kevin Smith and Groupon CEO Andrew Mason

Favorite Chicago restaurant: Pho & I

Translation: Durchholz is German for "through wood"

Little-known fact: Has a half Japanese half-brother whom he has never met


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