Melissa Hahn

Matt Peiken | BPR News

It’s a Saturday night at the Asheville Beauty Academy—that’s a nightclub, not a salon—and host Marlene Thompson has warmed up a full house as a standup comedy duo from Chattanooga called Good Cop, Rad Cop takes the stage.

Normally, a DJ would spin records here and, indeed, there will be once the evening’s comedy is over. But the reason there’s comedy here at all is a woman toward the back of the room made it happen.

Melissa Hahn isn’t a comedian but, without a dedicated comedy club in Western North Carolina, nobody is more responsible than Hahn for the current landscape for local standup.