Dr. Grins: Bringing Back the Laughs

For nearly 25 years, Dr. Grins Comedy Club inside The B.O.B. had West Michigan’s remedy for weekly laughs as the longest-running location for standup in our area.

Since opening back in 1997, Dr. Grins had brought in an epic list of big names, with everyone from Chelsea Handler and Michael Che to Nikki Glaser and Alonzo Bodden taking its stage. Huge comics like Bill Burr, Ron White and Nick Swardson, among many, many others, often performed pop-up performances at the club, dropping in for surprise sets at the end of the night. 

The comedy club also took part in LaughFest and other charitable shows that gave back to the community over the years. Every year, it hosted its own competition, The Funniest Person In Grand Rapids, giving local comics their shot on stage and helping to build their careers. 

Sadly, that all ended abruptly back on Jan. 1, following the sale and closure of The B.O.B. near the end of last year that forced Dr. Grins to shut its doors, for what some feared was for good. 

After weighing the possibility of moving the comedy club to another location earlier this year, it now will return when The B.O.B. reopens on Sept. 8.

“We’ve been working on the project of reopening The B.O.B. and Dr. Grins since early June,” Matt Dowdy, Marketing and Creative Director for The Gilmore Collection, told Revue. “I’m very excited to be involved with bringing back the most influential and tenured comedy club in the history of Grand Rapids. I also have significant interest as a fan of comedy. I’ve never had a bad experience as a guest at Dr. Grins. The talent level of the comics that get booked at Dr. Grins is consistently outstanding.”

Having worked for The Gilmore Collection for over 20 years, Dowdy said he’s very familiar with the legacy Dr. Grins has, and is eager to help build on its future.

“The entertainment scene in Grand Rapids was much different in 1997,” he said. “A full-time comedy club seemed like a risky venture back then, but the community quickly embraced the club. We’ve been able to book bigger and better acts year after year.”

Dowdy mentioned performances by Doug Stanhope, Steve-O, Kevin Nealon and Michael Winslow as some of his favorites, as well as watching the ascent of Michigan comedian John Heffron’s career as he regularly performed at the club. 

“There is a strong demand for excellent stand-up comedy in Grand Rapids,” he said, adding that Dr. Grins owes its success to its patrons. “Big name comedians continue to come back, which is indicative of the vibrant comedy scene in West Michigan. Dr. Grins’ influence was simply revealing that this vibrant community existed.”

Moving forward, Dowdy said they expect Dr. Grins to run and operate almost the same as it had before, with the exception of adding more self-service ordering options for food and beverage. 

Currently, the club has shows booked through early October, starting with comedian Pete Lee performing Sept. 8-10, followed by Carmen Lynch Sept. 15-17, Al Jackson Sept. 22-24, Erica Rhodes Sept. 29-Oct. 1, and Stewart Huff Oct. 6-8.

Dr. Grins Comedy Club

20 Monroe Ave. NW #3f, Grand Rapids