Arts and Entertainment

Veteran Northwest comedian on Slip 45's Shipwreck Lounge

Northwest comedy veteran Mike Wally Walter on a recent night at Slip 45. - Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo
Northwest comedy veteran Mike Wally Walter on a recent night at Slip 45.
— image credit: Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo

Port Orchard place brings in the funny at 8 p.m. every Wednesday night on Bay Street.

PORT ORCHARD — It almost seems out of place — an urban comedy club in the middle of downtown Port Orchard.

What’s more if you stopped off for a drink at Slip 45, the newest bar on Bay Street, you might not even know its there.

In the front of the building, which faces Bay Street, it seems like just a regular drinking establishment with pool tables and booth seating, a jukebox and full-service bar and grill. But if you enter through the back door, from the Port Orchard marina parking lot, you’ll find a nearly completely different venue for comedy and dance parties, live music and more.

From the door, you walk down a small corridor lined with pictures of comics who’ve performed there, which leads into a dim-lit room with a smattering of candle-lit tables surrounding the stage. A staff of waitresses dressed in black are buzzing about with drinks and appetizers while comedian Mike Wally Walter is on stage in his patented black leather backwards hat, razzing a drunken audience member about talking during his performance.

This place could be Port Orchard’s Comedy Underground.

Walter has been touring the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast comedy highways for more than 20 years.

It all began one night, he said, at a bachelor party for a friend when he got drunk and unknowingly signed up for a comedy competition at a neighborhood bar. When the competition came around, he wrote a 15-minute bit on his wife having a baby, performed it and got second place. That led to his addiction and an illustrious open mic career, working a day job 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, then driving from Olympia to Seattle for open mic nights in the evenings.

He became a full-time comedian around the age of 30 after he got hurt at his day job and was subsequently let go. Not knowing where else to turn, since he’d gone straight from high school to the factory, Walter turned to stand up comedy and built a new career.

He worked his way into clubs and casinos across the Northwest and the western United States and he’s been working that circuit ever since.

Highlighting his career, Walter’s been a finalist in the Seattle International Comedy Competition twice, he’s been one of America’s Funniest People on cable TV and has opened for acts like The Beach Boys, Huey Lewis and the News, B.B. King and Foghat.

And when the Shipwreck Lounge at Slip 45 opened earlier this spring, featuring Wednesday night comedy on Bay Street in Port Orchard, Mike Wally Walter was the grand opening act.

“It’s a great room,” Walter said, giving kudos the staff and people at Slip 45. “It’s a good area for comedy, people want to go out and have a good time, it’s just a matter of getting them to know that there’s something going on there. It’s just a matter of getting butts in the seats.”

Perhaps no time more so than now is a night out for a good time more enticing, and with its comedy nights Slip 45 provides the perfect escapism — through laughter.

UPCOMING: David Testroet and Mike Wonder will take the stage at 8 p.m. tonight, while Mike Wally Walter returns with opener Susan Jones Oct. 22. All shows are 21+ with an $8 cover, starting at 8 p.m. at the Shipwreck Lounge at Slip 45, 715 Bay St. in Port Orchard.

For a calendar of upcoming events, including live music and more info, go to www.myspace.com/slip45music or call the bar at (360) 895-7932.

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