A Black man in a yellow hoody and matching athletic pants and a white baseball cap leans on a railing in front of the Rainier Arts Center, a white and tan building with an ornamental facade that includes four pillars and tall glass-paned doors with curved windows above them. A rhododendron with pink flowers blooms to the left.

Laugh Rehab Returns Live Comedy to Seattle’s South End

by M. Anthony Davis

About two years ago, Julius Caesar founded “Laugh Rehab,” a monthly live comedy series in Seattle that featured both local and national comedians. After a long one year hiatus due to COVID, Caesar is proud to announce that Laugh Rehab is back and better than ever. 

Laugh Rehab is all in the name, Caesar says explaining the show — “It’s rehab. It gives you an opportunity for an hour and a half to unplug from everything in your life and just chill, have a great laugh, meet some of your neighbors, and catch with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.”

Caesar envisions this monthly comedy series as more than just a show. Located at the Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City, it is a community event geared to revitalizing the neighborhood and safely bringing people back together after a year of isolation. 

Caesar’s plan is to not only bring people to Columbia City for the comedy show but to partner with local Black-owned businesses like Café Avole who will be at the show selling beverages. 

“We want to bring people to Columbia City,” Caesar says. “That way, after the show, they can visit restaurants, bars, and other spots in the area. I would like to use this comedy show to have a positive economic impact in the community.”

Along with boosting foot traffic and creating economic opportunity, Caesar also wants to ensure that Black culture remains in the neighborhood. The comedy show will feature Black and Brown comedians, Black music, and soul food. Caesar explains that he once read that 98118 was one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States. He would like to see Columbia City hold on to its culture, and Laugh Rehab will be a catalyst by bringing people from all backgrounds together to turn Columbia City into a cultural hub.  

A Black middle-aged man in a yellow hoodie and white and green baseball cap and glasses stands next to a poster for the "Laugh Rehab" comedy show.
Julius Caesar stands near a poster for Laugh Rehab. (Photo: Susan Fried)

“I know people that play professional sports that come here with their families and the first thing they ask is, ‘where’s the culture at?’ And they don’t see it. So they get stuck over in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond. Well, we have an opportunity now, coming out of the pandemic, to identify ourselves as that cultural center.” 

Aside from the cultural impact Caesar hopes to create, he also promises a dynamite show. He is genuinely excited about Laugh Rehab’s lineups, especially now that COVID has affected his ability to fly in national touring acts. Instead of navigating those restrictions, Caesar decided to keep the comedians local and he has lined up a solid stream of local talent to grace the stage. 

This Saturday, the lineup will include Sweeng One, who Caesar says is sure to be a fun and unique act, Marilyn Gibbs Wightman, who Caesar describes as a “from the church, but not a church lady,” and Rod Long, who won both the Seattle International Comedy Competition and Emerald City’s Funniest Person. Caesar ensures that the show will be fast-paced and full of energy, and all comedians in the lineup are from Seattle.   

Julius Caesar’s Laugh Rehab
Saturday, May 15, 2021, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Rainier Arts Center
3515 South Alaska Street, Seattle, WA (98118)

M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a local journalist covering arts, culture, and sports.

📸 Featured Image: Julius Caesar stands outside the Rainier Arts Center, which will host Laugh Rehab on Saturday May 15, 2021. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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