Production designer Tom Lenz of 513 invited Christopher Landy of Brooklyn-based Vibrant Design LLC to have fun for a good cause when he suggested the lighting designer work on America's longest-running comedy benefit, "Comics Come Home," which marked its 15th anniversary at Boston University's Agganis Arena on November 7.
Hosted by Denis Leary, the comedy show benefits The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care and The Neely Cancer Fund. This year's performers included Bill Burr, Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara, Kenny Rogerson, Jeffrey Ross, Jimmy Fallon, Whitney Cummings, and Tony V.
"Tom (Lenz) has been production designer for 'Comics Come Home' for the last four or five years," says Landy. "Tom and I have been doing more and more shows with a strong emphasis on LED screens with content being a strong design element."
"Since this was the show's 15th anniversary Denis and I wanted to give it a really big look," explains producer Bartow Church of Apostle. "We want to keep people coming back every year so the show has to feel like a different event each year: It's important to find new ways to make it exciting. This year was the first time we've brought in a lighting designer."
"We talked about the lighting and gave Chris the challenge of coming up with a lighting design to complement the wall's overall structure and make the images really pop. He also gave each comic a different look. Chris pretty much ran with his own ideas, but I did insist on one thing: I wanted to obscure the band through lighting when the comics performed but didn't want to diminish their effect. Then when it came time to notice the band, you did. Chris was very successful at devising a way to handle this," says Church.
Lenz and Church stripped down the set elements and opted for Nocturne Productions VLite LED tile system. "The system is really bright, has a great resolution for big live events, and the scrim like quality of the open frame allows the video imagery to tie in more closely with the lighting looks and overall stage picture. It helped us achieve a really big look for the show, " adds Lenz.
Landy used a "straightforward rock 'n roll rig to create a large and exciting event" at the 6,000-seat hockey arena. "We also used lights on the ground and horizontal rows of ParBars to open up the stage scenically," he points out.
Rainbow in Boston furnished both automated and conventional lighting packages. The automated rig included 24 Martin Mac 2K spots and 16 Martin Mac 2K washes; the conventional light package featured 12 Source 4 750-watt Lekos, 20 six-lamp Source 4 PAR Bars, and a Robert Juliat Manon truss followspot. Matthew Piercy programmed a pair of grandMA lighting consoles. Crewing was supplied by Bill Kenny Productions
"The show went really well," says Church. "It was cool to work with Chris and his crew."
About Vibrant Design
Vibrant Design LLC is an entertainment design firm providing a full range of set and lighting design services to broadcast and cable TV, live productions, corporate events and theater as well as architecture and interior design. For more information, visit