November 17, 2016
At E&S Ring Management, we put a lot of emphasis on creating a sense of place at our apartment communities. You know — places where residents feel connected to the outdoors, their neighbors and the surrounding neighborhood through well thought-out amenities. Our idea of “Living Well” is really quite simple: good places will attract good people.
Charles Kellam is one of these people. At Urban Village in Long Beach, he is the resident funnyman and life of the community — the guy who can make just about anyone smile, bad day or not. He knows many residents by name, and if he doesn't, he’ll strike up a conversations at the mailboxes with you anyway. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, he’ll practice a new joke on you.
“I’m from Philly — that’s how we are,” says the professional writer-comedian who has authored a book, “The Book of G.A.M.E.,” and has performed at The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory and The Ice House in Pasadena, among others.
His talent for bringing people together through laughter recently took center stage at Urban Village quite literally: in the club room.
“After a few months of living here, I started to notice that our club room — which is very modern and nice — wasn’t being utilized very often,” he says. “It’s the perfect venue to host events. It’s called ‘Urban Village’ for a reason. I thought, ‘Let’s live up to our name and put something together for all of the residents, their family and friends to enjoy.’”
Charles quickly got to work. He rounded up three of his comedian-friends — Tony Baker (who has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”), Julia Austin (star of “Porn Soup” web series) and London Brown (who is in HBO’s “Ballers”) — plus musical guests DJ Count and William Hawkins — for the first-ever “Urban Village Comedy Experience” this past June.
“Comedy is an escape,” he says. “Everyone here works so hard — and they don't always have the time to enjoy the amenities here. I wanted everyone to forget about the outside world and their bills and just have a vacation night.”
The “vacation night” turned out to be a major success. He found easy support among the Urban Village leasing and management team members. They agreed to promote the event on social media and contributed wine and cheese plates for guests. In the end, about 70 people packed into the club room to watch the summer show.
“Everyone really enjoyed it,” notes Lovey Thomas, business manager for Urban Village. The buzz has already been mounting for the next Urban Village Comedy Experience. His neighbors — who know him by name, by now — will holler at him at the gym: “When is the next one?” The next show, he says, is set for October.
“Because the amenities at Urban Village are designed to attract young entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers and creative types, there are a lot of introverts here,” he says. “That’s why I am so delighted to see everyone come out of their shell.”
Lovey agrees: “From my perspective as a business manager, it’s been cool to watch our residents transition from strangers to friends and come together to enjoy our great facilities. That’s what living at Urban Village is all about.”
Making life transitions is a recurring theme in Charles’ own stand-up routine. He often likes to compare the cultural differences between the East Coast and West Coast, right down to the way people give compliments. (The difference, he says, is that compliments in L.A. somehow manage to be disrespectful.)
“An older woman came up to me the other day at the gas station,” he begins. “And she said, ‘Wow, you could be a model…for Kohls.’ I said ‘Kohls?! I’ve never even shopped at Kohls!’”
In all serious though, Charles has brought a welcoming energy to Urban Village— just the kind energy we like to see growing at all of our E&S Ring communities. Go Charles!