Shiba Ramen's 2018 Comedy Series Starts Soon

Launched by two lawyers, the every-third-Thursday series features local comics and special drink deals.


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Image courtesy of Shiba Ramen

What's funnier than a lawyer joke? Lawyers who tell jokes!

Local attorneys Jake Freed and Liz Stone have teamed up to launch a monthly comedy-night series at Shiba Ramen in downtown Oakland.

"Liz was my legal recruiter and helped me get a job a number of years ago," said Freed, who co-owns Shiba Ramen and is also a Harvard-trained chemist. 

"We stayed in touch, and I learned she was a very active standup comic. When I was looking for fun events to start doing at our Oakland location" — which, last year, joined Shiba Ramen's original Emeryville location — "this seemed like a great idea, and we had a lot of fun with the first two editions last fall." 

Starting Jan. 18, Shiba Ramen Comedy Nights will occur every third Thursday of the month and will feature special drink prices and a wide variety of comics — and no, they're not all lawyers.

"They are all working comics based in the Bay Area," Freed explained. "Each month, we pick a lineup of people with different styles and material so the audience gets to see a great mix."

Are ramen and hilarity a natural match? 

"The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other," Freed said. "Comedy lends itself to drinking alcohol, and vice versa. We have a great selection of sake and craft beer, which provides nice drink pairings to go with the comics."

And are law and standup comedy a natural match? 

"In some ways, practicing law and doing comedy require similar skills, and in some ways they are complete opposites," Stone asserted. "Both litigation and comedy involve writing, preparation, and public speaking/performing. Both require a lot of hard work and grit, and both are competitive environments where you have to perform under pressure. 

"But in some ways, a background as lawyer isn’t helpful: I have to get in a different headspace to be creative and be okay with a process that involves putting myself out there before my material or set is perfect. Also, comics are always late, which stresses out the lawyer in me."

It's all about balance, Freed added — and blending disparate knowledge and experience to create an ever-more-interesting life:

"As for how my careers intersect, I see them all as contributing to an overall skill set that enables me to solve a diverse array of problems, even when — as usual — I'm not an expert. 

"Chemistry taught me how to think critically and creatively, explain complex concepts, and analyze facts within the boundaries of a set of rules. Believe it or not, it was natural training for a legal career, where everything is about spotting critical issues, distilling complicated subject matter, and applying rules to fact patterns. But being a lawyer also taught me about how the law and the government work, and how to be a robust and effective advocate for a client. All of this comes together when you're running a business.

"We're excited to make Comedy Night a monthly thing," he enthused.

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