Four of a Kind: Jess Cooley shares insights on the local comedy scene

Jess Cooley. Photo by Sahil Dhawan

Editor’s note: This is part of “Four of a Kind,” a new Arts & Culture feature. Each month, four new artists will share their takes on the local art scene. In addition to individual online posts, you can find all four features as a single spread in this week’s print edition.

Jess Cooley is an Asheville-based stand-up comedian.

Xpress: Is there an upcoming comedy event happening in Asheville that you’re looking forward to seeing?

Cooley: It’s so hard to pick just one — this scene is very special to me. The venues, the comics, the crowds … it’s a very rare place where, as a comic, you can actually work on material with decent and frequent audience feedback. It’s also attracted an incredibly diverse group of comedians with a wide range of styles and perspectives. It would be a disservice to the scene for me to pick just one event, so if you see a flyer for local comedy in Asheville: Go! Support this fantastic, borderline-secretly-amazing group of comics. They deserve it.

Outside of comedy, what other upcoming local arts happening intrigues you?

That would definitely have to be Bit Brigade at The Grey Eagle on March 15. They perform rock covers of full Nintendo game soundtracks while one member speed-runs the game [i.e., plays it as fast as possible] live onstage. I’m obsessed with speed-runs of almost any game, and usually, people have barely even heard of the concept. But if you’re into two very specific interests being combined for one very specific show, definitely check it out.

What current project are you working on that you’re especially excited about?

I’ve been deep diving into videography tutorials, color-grading techniques and audio equipment specs in preparation for starting a YouTube channel in January. The entire channel will be centered on discussing stand-up comedy as an art form, which most people misunderstand, and it will hopefully even showcase a number of comics I know personally who deserve the attention. It’s a lot to learn, and I’m enjoying taking on a new challenge without getting too far away from my passion for stand-up.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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