If you've ever wondered where to catch some of the underground acts that come out of Brooklyn before they make it big – well, in the case of the weekly open mic at , you literally have to go underground.
The open mic started in the summer of 2008, not long after Abigail opened its doors. Owner Jason Noble had run poetry open mic nights on Long Island in the past and "wanted to give the neighborhood a venue to express creativity."
"This neighborhood's chock full of talented people," he said "I wanted to give them a welcoming, non-threatening place to work out their material."
The show is emceed by Jim Search, a stand-up comedian, who has had the hosting gig for about four months. A former open mic performer himself, he says he feels a "loyalty" to the event.
"(Abigail's open mic) is only two years old, we're taking it slow… it's like dating, we just started holding hands," he said.
On Wednesday, turnout was a bit sparse with Christmas weekend approaching – OK, it was just performers who made it out – but the show went on as always, anyway. There was a laid back vibe, and many of the performers knew each other from past events.
During the show, comedians got six minutes and musicians got two songs.
Search opened the show poking fun at Abigail's basement show space – "I call this the Fung Wah show (like the bus). It's dirty, it's broken down, and if you're in the bathroom, it'll leave without you."
Jim McCray, a local musician, performed two songs on acoustic guitar, "The Ambulance," and another describing memories of Marcus Garvey Boulevard. In a testament to the casual nature of an open mic performance, after his second song McCray asked, "Did you just hear my phone ringing during that song?"
Cyrus McQueen was up next, performing stand-up comedy about his hometown, his friends and relationships. Sample joke: in describing dating a white woman, McQueen says it's opened him up to new things – Top Chef, coastal Long Island towns and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.
Kibibi Dillon, the night's only female comedian, didn't let the male-dominated show unnerve her as she took the stage, joking about assumptions about how women can cook and the negative connotations of the word 'obese' ("It sounds like 'Oh, beast!'"). One of her funniest bits was about how when the temperatures drop, so do people's romantic standards.
Steve Carr, another local comedian who hosts his own stand-up event Tuesdays at Abigail, was up next, explaining the reason he dresses like a "metrosexual" was because of his time spent at central booking in Brooklyn.
First joking about how inmates would sleep on sandwiches wrapped in socks, he quipped: "I turned in baggy jeans for skinny jeans and a cardigan – whatever – I'm never going back to central booking!"
A last minute addition was Wordsmith, a poet from Long Island who performed a beat piece called "Visionary," before launching into "Endangered Species," a scathing poem about the proliferation of lazy, drunk men.
Outside, Joey Richardson, a comedian and musician, came to the door, apologizing for running late. The other performers, hanging around outside of the bar, just laughed, telling Richardson the show was already over.
"I thought you guys were joking!" he said when he came back from the empty back room.
Open Mic Night is held every Wednesday in Abigail Café's downstairs room. Sign-up is at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. There is a one-drink minimum. For more information, call 718-399-3200.