You've heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well here's another take on that saying: "When life gives you stage-four lung cancer, open an improv comedy club that's also a brewery."
Tori Tomalia and her husband, Jason, are preparing to do just that: the Pointless Brewery & Theatre is about to open in Ann Arbor nearly two years after she was blindsided by the cancer diagnosis.
Tomalia tells us she and her husband have been kicking around the idea of opening an improv/comedy club for quite some time.
“We actually talked about it on our very first date, which sounds absolutely ridiculous. But yeah, so for 10 years we’ve been talking about this,” she says.
But, she tells us, life got in the way. Among other things, the two figured it wouldn’t be sensible to start this kind of venture while raising their three children. The tipping point came with Tomalia’s cancer diagnosis.
“Jason and I talked a lot about, you know, we might not have a lot of time left, and what did we want to do with the time we had?” she says. “One of the things that we’d always said is we were going to open this business, and we realized if we were ever going to do it, it had to be now.”
She says that while it’s been “a ton of work” to put together, because it’s something they’ve wanted to do for so long it’s “this really positive thing that I can always look forward to.”
Tomalia tells us the name came to them when she was going through “this mental existential crisis,” suffering through side effects from the cancer treatments.
“And I said to Jason, ‘Why am I doing all this? It feels so pointless,’” Tomalia says. “And being the brilliant person he is, he just looked at me and said, ‘You know, maybe everything we do in life is pointless. So why don’t we open our pointless brewery and make all our pointless dreams come true?’”
Tomalia says their liquor license is still pending, so in the meantime they’ll be focusing on the theater side of things. Friday and Saturday nights will feature performances from local improvisers, including resident company The League of Pointless Improvisers.
Saturday mornings will be dedicated to family-friendly programming, with performances, drama activities and crafts recommended for children from pre-K through fifth grade.
On Sunday evenings the company is opening the stage to anyone who wants to show off their talents.
The Pointless Brewery & Theatre will be opening its doors on Friday, Dec. 11, and kick things off with a performance by The League of Pointless Improvisers.
More information can be found on their website.
– Ryan Grimes, Stateside