Sully’s Restaurant is the place to be on Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m., when Westfield High grad Allison Wruk joins headlining comedian Rob Maher in an evening of comedy. Sully’s is at 14511 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway in Chantilly; cover charge is $5.
Also on the bill are up-and-coming, Washington, D.C., stand-up comedians Matt Mero, Danny Charnley, Jon Yeager and Rachela Forcellese. Maher is a regular performer at the D.C. Improv and at clubs in Richmond. And he’s a two-time finalist in Comedy Central’s laugh-riot competition.
“Rob is also a featured performer for Armed Forces Entertainment, having performed for our troops in 12 countries,” said Wruk. “He’s performed with Dave Attell, Lewis Black, Jim Norton and many others. Having Rob as the headliner out here in Chantilly is very exciting.”
Wruk grew up in Centreville and graduated from Westfield in 2008. Afterward, she studied media criticism and production at George Mason University, as well as at the University of Milan, during the summer of 2010. She graduated from GMU in 2011 and then began pursuing a career in stand-up comedy.
“I have always gravitated towards comedy,” she said. “At Westfield, I was on the improv team and lucky enough to take workshops at Second City and Improv Olympic in Chicago. At GMU I starred in, co-wrote and produced a weekly show on the Mason Cable Network titled ‘The Lindsay Gray Show’ and always dabbled in small projects in between.”
Although Wruk doesn’t know exactly why, she’s always wanted to be a comedian. “I guess what it comes down to is simple,” she said. “Making people laugh feels good — it’s therapeutic.”
“In my comedy I poke fun at a wide range of subjects, but my main focus always tends to be the world from a young woman’s perspective,” said Wruk. “I like to focus on the irony of gender roles and the way females are portrayed in the media.”
Many of her jokes are about the themes of dating, girlfriends, diets and television shows. “I would say it’s like a slumber party meets a 400-level media-criticism class — unloading and challenging the deeper meanings behind these seemingly shallow subjects,” she said. “For me, it’s better to challenge the norms and change someone’s perspective with a witty joke, as opposed to a heated argument.”
The Jan. 4 show will also kick off a stand-up-comedy series that Sully’s will offer every Friday night from 8-10 p.m. Each week will feature a different powerhouse headliner, plus on-the-rise local comics.
“These shows would be great to laugh off the end of a busy work week, go on a creative and wallet-friendly date night or just [have] a laughter-filled night out with friends,” said Wruk. “Matt Mero or Jon Yeager will host a new opening act of 5-10 minutes, a featured act of 20 minutes and a headlining act of 60 minutes. So every show will be brand new and will have something for everyone.”
She said there’s an abundance of comedic talent in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area but getting to a club to see it can be a hassle. “So many of my friends from home, or their parents, are eager to see comedy shows, but can’t always make it all the way to the city,” said Wruk. “Let’s face it — getting in your car, paying to park, getting on the Metro, making changes, finally getting off and navigating your way through the city to the venue is difficult and stressful.”
Recognizing this fact, Mero and Yeager organized Friday’s event at Sully’s, plus the ones to follow there. As a result, said Wruk, “These guys are bringing D.C.’s biggest talent straight to our backyard.”
Besides being affordable, she said, the shows are “filled to the brim with rising talent. A majority of these performers are the people you’re going to see on Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, at the Laugh Factory in LA or even on SNL [‘Saturday Night Live’] in the years to come. And many of the headliners have even already appeared on these shows.”