Sure, Chris Coen remembers his first time as a standup comic.

Sure, Chris Coen remembers his first time as a standup comic.

But it was his second time on stage that really made an impression.

It was about five years ago at a sold-out open-mic show with 300 people in attendance.

"Ironically, and I didn't know this at the time, going up in front of a large crowd is easier," Coen said. "It's harder to work a small crowd, period."

Coen said he's had his ups and downs as a comic, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing the art.

"The payoff when you get laughs is very, very satisfying," he said.

"I do think it's what everybody's addicted to. Apathy is almost as bad as getting booed."

Coen and Travis Hoewischer will perform at the Aug. 7 comedy show at Shadowbox Live, 503 S. Front St. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Originally from Zanesville, Coen received a business and history degree from Muskingum College. He is the manager of a wholesale supply company, a decidedly non-comedic profession, he said.

"I love it because employees say, 'Do you joke about us?' and I say, 'No, not one bit,' " he said.

He said his comedy routine revolves around bad relationships, growing up Zanesville and random occurrences.

"I'd say 85 to 90 percent of my act is based in truth with a few twists and turns here and there," he said.

Comedy was the last thing on his mind when his old college roommate called and said he was trying stand up.

"I didn't even know what an open mic night was," Coen said.

He tried it about a month later.

"I had a good time. The drinks didn't hurt either."

Coen said he tries to perform an average of two times a week. His comedy has taken him across 15 states, from comedy clubs to elk lodges, but he still does open-mic nights around town.

"You still have to do that just to try out new material," said Coen, who lives on the West Side.

He said isn't sure why he decided to try standup or stick with it.

"I never really had any kind of plan or goal or purpose," he said.

Hoewischer, meanwhile, is a local standup veteran, whose time on the mic dates back 12 years ago to his time at Ohio State University

"I definitely span a generation at this point," Hoewischer said.

The native of Sidney, Ohio, and current resident of Victorian Village called his comedy "a smart attempt at stupid."

Among his various gigs around town, he hosts Monday Night Live at Wild Goose Creative on the North Side.

"Comedy is kind of an interesting hobby I've enjoyed," said Hoewischer, 32.

"I've never had to resent it. I've never had to write jokes to pay my rent. I've always felt free to say whatever I wanted as long as the audience laughs.

"In other words, I'm held by the rules of comedy, nothing else."