Peach Pit Comedy Club: Lifting Up with Laughter

The Peach Pit Comedy Club in Kalamazoo has a simple mission: to put the fun back in fundraising. 

Sure, that sounds like a dad joke we’ve all heard before, but by using standup comedy nights as an opportunity to raise money for area nonprofits, the new venture aims to elevate the community, offer a new source of entertainment, and provide new opportunities for artists.

“I’m not saying that other fundraisers are necessarily boring, but they don’t always have that entertainment aspect to it,” Peach Pit Comedy Club Executive Director Jon Batchelder told Revue. “So to do something that’s fun and lighthearted and entertaining, but also goes towards a variety of different great causes in the area, to me, you just can’t beat it.”

Growing out of the comedy events production company Demented Peach, which began by hosting outdoor standup shows back in 2021 during the waning days of the pandemic, the Peach Pit Comedy Club will officially open inside Main Street Pub Gull Road in Kalamazoo, starting this September. And on show nights, it will feel and function like a regular comedy club, but with a charitable twist.

“We struck on this idea of what if instead of running this like a traditional comedy club, we instead flip it on its head and turn it into a nonprofit,” Batchelder said. “We’ve done a couple of fundraiser shows where proceeds went to different charities, and not only were those some of the most successful shows we did, but some of the most personally fulfilling as well. We figured if there was a way for us to do that in a permanent way, that’s something certainly worth pursuing. So we fleshed it out, and decided to launch the Peach Pit Comedy Club as a nonprofit.”

Partnering with his wife, Director of Operations, Board Secretary and Treasurer Demitria Batchelder, who brings over a decade of nonprofit experience to the project, the couple gathered together with their “Pit Crew” – Board President Alana Gonzalez, Board Vice President Nick Leydorf, and Board Treasurer Jen Frissina – to launch the Peach Pit Comedy Club earlier this year. 

Primarily looking at raising awareness, sponsorships, and partnering with nonprofits before opening, the Peach Pit Comedy Club plans to run on the “true dollar principle,” where every dollar of every ticket sold goes to the nonprofit featured at that event.

“The true dollar principle or the golden dollar principle basically means that every dollar that you spend on a ticket goes back to whatever charity we’re sponsoring that weekend,” Batchelder said. “We don’t take a penny from any of it for our own operational costs. It all goes directly back into whatever programming we’re funding—because of that, we rely 100 percent on grants, on sponsorships, on individual donations. So, if you’re reading this, please give us your money.”

So far the reaction from the comedy community and across West Michigan has been overwhelmingly positive, with many organizations and performers reaching out and sharing how excited they are to take part in such a unique opportunity.

“We’ve had a couple nonprofits that we’ve reached out to, and sometimes they’ll say, ‘We’re not really interested because standup comedy for some people can feel like a little bit of a crapshoot,” Batchelder said. “But they don’t necessarily know our reputation, they don’t know that we’re not putting on shock jocks. We’re not putting on people that are going to damage your brand.”

Starting out small, the Peach Pit Comedy Club plans to start with one show per month, with the goal of expanding to one show every weekend, nearly 50 weekends a year. 

The comedy club’s first weekend will take place Sept. 8-9 with one show Friday and two shows on Saturday. The night’s headlining comedian will be Mike Geeter, who’s been featured on FOX and Hulu’s comedy showcase “Laughs,” “Kevin Hart Presents Hart of the City 2” on Comedy Central, and has even given a TEDTalk in 2022. 

The shows will benefit Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, in recognition of September as National Food Insecurity Month. 

“We’re going to have headliners coming from all across the country,” Batchelder said. “We’re going to have people that maybe you’ve heard of, maybe you haven’t heard of, but you’ll be excited to hear about. And it’s going to be operating as a traditional comedy club... You’re going to come in, you’re going to sit down. We’re not going to have a two drink minimum. We’re not going to do that to you. But you’re going to come in, sit back, relax and enjoy a good show. And knowing that every dollar that you spend on tickets is going back to wonderful charities.” 

Peach Pit Comedy Club

(Located inside Main Street Pub Gull Road, 5462 Gull Rd. #5, Kalamazoo)

Sept. 8, 8 p.m., Sept. 9, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

$20 advance online, $25 door