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Dan’s Silver Leaf makes speed dating great again

Dan’s Silver Leaf makes speed dating great again

Denton comedian Taylor Higginbotham performs at Dan's Silver Leaf on Sunday during their speed dating event. The speed dating consisted of stand up comedians performing and raffles.

Dan’s Silver Leaf makes speed dating great again
February 13
09:22 2018

For a small fee of $5, the singletons of Denton gathered at Dan’s Silver Leaf Sunday for a session of speed dating, comedic relief and fundraising for Thin Line, Denton’s free 5-day video, photo and music festival.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of Thin Line. Vice President and Marketing Director of Thin Line Mindy Arendt said they want to keep the event free through funding from donated money.

“Today we are competing with a lot of different events, so it’s not as packed,” Arendt said. “Everybody is still having a good time and that’s what counts.”

Local Denton comedians like Tony Casillas, Taylor Higgingbotham, Brad Mckenzie, Joey Johnson and Kenny Severson provided the entertainment for the evening.

In hopes of helping avoid the sometimes-awkward nature of speed dating, the comedians took the stage every other 10 minutes to charm the crowds and provide a lightheartedness to the situation.

Casillas, a UNT media arts senior, was no stranger to the stage at Dan’s Silver Leaf. On Jan. 9, he performed at Dan’s in an event to help raise money for repairs on The Square’s Downtown Mini Mall as a result of the fire.

He said this fundraiser is different compared to previous ones because of its revival of a form of dating that is no longer a norm in every-day life.

“I think speed dating is kind of an out-dated system,” Casillas said. “If you think about it, [now] we have tinder.”

Casillas said it is rare for people from younger generations to interact face-to-face. The act of swiping left or right on tinder is more painless than being stuck in a date with someone incompatible.

Comedian Steverson, a UNT film junior, began his routine first. The intimate setting allowed him to interact with the audience more than usual, he said.

“It breaks the ice a little bit if you have comedy,” Steverson said.

Steverson said while there is still the pressure to be fun, there is not as much as there would be at a standard comedy show.

“I go to UNT now, any other failures in the audience?” Steverson said in his routine. “You are speed dating at 2 p.m., you did not go to church this morning.”

His topics of comedy ranged from being a military veteran to his grandma’s new interest in Kendrick Lamar. But for Stevenson, this event was more than just another gig, as he had a film played in Thin Line last year. Being able to do something he enjoys while also helping the funding of Thin Line is a win-win, he said, because he is supporting something he loves.

But Steverson is adamant this can only continue with local support.

“Get out and support local Denton comedy,” Steverson said. “Something is happening almost every night, so there is no reason not to.”

After Stevenson finished his set, another 10 minutes of mingling began for the small group of eight speed daters, who were coupled up into sets of two while they spoke over music ranging from jazz to pop.

One of the speed daters was realtor Christy Woy who heard about the event from her sister. She said after very recently getting out of a bad breakup, the event was almost a distraction for her.

“I think it’s fun, the comedy is a great add-in to the awkwardness of the idea,” Woy said. “Regardless, I think it’s a great networking event.”

Another 10 minutes passed, and Casillas was quick on his feet as he took the stage to call out attendees when necessary, often using himself as the butt of the joke.

“I actually did win MVP in my [soccer] league one year, but it wasn’t for most valuable player,” Casillas said in his skit. “It was for ‘most vulnerable player.’ No matter win or lose, I was crying.”

Arendt said she and her colleagues came up with the idea of combining quick-witted local comedians with the act of speed dating years ago after they sat down at Eastside to brainstorm fundraising ideas.

“Nobody else does speed dating,” Arendt said. “Let’s make it lighthearted and let’s make it fun so even if you don’t meet somebody, you have a good comedy show.”

Along with the speed dating comedy show, Arendt and her team do various types of unique fundraisers for Thin Line, such as Chinese gift exchanges.

It is alternative twists on fundraising like combining comedy with dating that Arendt said are important, because she believes it is necessary for relationships to build on similar senses of humor.

“Comedy tells a lot about your personality and what you think is funny,” Arendt said. “It’s an icebreaker. Comedy is perfect for [dating].”

Featured Image: Denton comedian Taylor Higginbotham performs at Dan’s Silver Leaf on Sunday during their speed dating event. The speed dating consisted of stand up comedians performing and raffles. Kelsey Shoemaker

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Anna Orr

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