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The Ding Ho
Constant Comedy

1979 - 1984

So, what does a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge have to do with the history of comedy in New England?

The Springfield Street Saloon in Inman Square was a bar with stand-up comedy in the "Comedy Connection". But that wasn't enough. The bar was sold to Shune Lee who turned it into a Chinese restaurant and renamed it the Ding Ho. Barry Crimmins, who had been working as a bouncer at the bar, was put in charge of bookings and a new legend was born.

steven wrightCrimmins started loading the bar with unknown talent and helped usher in a new generation of Boston comedians. Steven Wright, Denis Leary, Dana Gould, Kevin Meaney, Lenny Clarke, Paula Poundstone and Bobcat Goldthwait among a litany of others used the Ding Ho as their launching pad for their careers. Steven Wright led the pack out of obscurity and onto a national stage when he was called up to perform on the tonight show with Johnny Carson.

A video to celebrate the impact of the Ding Ho was released called When Stand-Up Stood Out. Highly recommended for those looking for a fun look back at a time when the world was completely different, yet still oddly the same.

They just don't make an environment like the Ding Ho anymore. Completely non-commercial. People working their tails off for laughs and the enjoyment of the artform. Comedy...in a Chinese restaurant. What's funnier than that?

Ding Ho Comedian Links
   
Denis Leary
Lenny Clarke
Paula Poundstone
Dana Gould
Steven Wright
Kevin Meaney

 

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More information on the history of improv is available on the Improv Miami website and information on the history of stand-up is available on our History of Stand-Up page.

 

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