Did you have a rough day, a rough week, or a rough year? Do you need to de-stress? Do you need to leave your woes behind?
Sidley, a witty and wry host, organizes and performs on Tuesday/ Wednesday/Thursday nights in Tysons. He is doing so by building a following with everyone ranging from stand-up comedy snobs to people looking for something new to try.
The 29-year-old former technical consultant gave up his suit and tie several years ago to grace the comedy stage and has never looked back. “I gave up being financially secure, but my life is a lot simpler now,” he says, “and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
“From the first time I was on stage I felt like this was it – making the right choices, making people laugh; I was on fire,” he says. “I never once felt that way about a line of code.”
This feeling has only grown for Sidley. His first venue was the DC Improv back in January of 2014, a short-form improv performance in the style of Whose Line Is It Anyway. The topic was the world’s worst bosses. From the start, everything clicked for Sidley.
“I was excited when the audience suggested that. I mean the world’s worst bosses?! I had tons of experience to draw from…My instincts are really good when I don’t have time to think. That was a fun night, the first time I felt like I was in the zone. Everything was easy.”
His comedic journey has been interesting, to say the least. Lots of long, challenging nights had him questioning himself.
“I got tired of performing in front of three people at these local shows, it drained me and killed my confidence. I dreaded performing. I thought I could maybe do it better.”
Organizing shows on and off in the past with varying degrees of success, Sidley re-dedicated himself to the art. He eventually landed his first room in Fairfax, and started putting together graphics for the shows, booking talent, and putting up flyers in the blistering cold.
“One night I was out passing out flyers and it was 25 degrees, there was a wind chill, it was miserable…and I loved it. I still have no idea what I’m doing, but back then I didn’t even have a hint of a clue.”
Fast forward to now, where he’s working at the ideal venue. “It’s two stop lights away from my house. Not only is it convenient, but the venue is a hub for locals to get a beer after work and enjoy live entertainment anytime.”
So what is Sidley feeling when he enters the stage?
“Excitement and energy from the audience. There is definitely anxiety, but if I start connecting with them it goes away. There is no overthinking and I’m in the moment,” he explains.
“It’s about setting the right pace for the crowd and leading them on the journey. Like I have them in the palm of my hand. While doing stand-up you have to always be a step ahead of them.
“When it’s working it’s a very positive experience. Super fun!”
Sidley, a 2007 graduate of George Marshall High School, was inspired by Dave Chappelle when he was a teenager, as well as George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David. Growing up he did not miss Seinfeld and he has seen every episode of South Park twice.
Sidley, a bit of a Renaissance man, enjoys rap music, and his recent travel destinations have taken him to Budapest, Greece, Slovenia, and Mexico. On the local level, he has performed in and around Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Manhattan.
He said that he is proud that his shows usually reflect diverse representation. He does his best to book “people of color, women, and those that are generally underrepresented. The shows are generally better, as opposed to having eight white guys standing around telling the same jokes.”
A 2011 graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s of business information technology, Sidley said that he knew his passion was in comedy, it was just a matter of timing. He added that the business world gave him great preparation for the world of entertainment.
“Being in business taught me how to be organized and how to build systems and plans that work. It’s easy to get distracted, so it’s important to do it and revisit it regularly to see if I can make improvements. And more entertaining for his audience!”Sidley is lucky to have the backing of the owner of Tyson’s Biergarten, Matt Rofaugaren, and the rest of the crew as they strongly support Sidley’s vision, giving him and other comedians a platform to entertain audiences three nights a week.
“The food is delicious, the drinks are cheap, the staff is friendly, the comedy is hilarious,” says Sidley, “and the vibe is relaxed – perfect for a great local night out.”
So, go check out a show, they are all FREE
Tuesdays 8 p.m. – Local Showcase, the talent is vetted and the list is locked. The place to be on a Tuesday.
1st & 3rd Wednesdays 8 p.m.– Open mic, come to see the DMV’s funniest up and comers. Want to perform? Sign-up is at 7:30 p.m.
2nd & 4th Wednesdays 8 p.m. — An experiment to save humanity. A new themed show every other week. Upcoming themes include Dad Jokes, Game Show, Risque Comedy, and Jokes Off The Dome.
Thursdays 8 p.m. — Professional Show, people you have seen on TV or heard on the radio headline the showroom.
Tyson’s Comedy Cellar at Tysons Biergarten, 8346 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, VA 22182. Located right outside the Greensboro Metro on the Silver Line.
Stay up to date with shows and content here:
Follow on IG @TysonsComedyCellar and facebook.com/TysonsComedyCellar
Keep up with Sidley’s content at https://www.sidleystandup.com/and IG @SidleyStandup
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