I DON’T KNOW whether it’s my imagination or what, but this feels like a kind of golden age for stand-up comedy — it seems as if Netflix releases a new special every other day. I’ve also attended shows at Comedy Underground, here and there, during my six years living in the city, and consider myself a fan of the genre.

Cover story: Seattle’s comedy scene might not have the prestige (or the paying power) of New York or L.A., but it’s got heart

So this story started out of genuine curiosity: Where does Seattle fit into the overall hierarchy of the comedy industry?

Many of the shows on streaming networks revolve around comics trying to qualify for some festival or another, and trying to get discovered. I know that Just for Laughs in Montreal is a big one, and that Chicago and Los Angeles have traditionally produced the most stars. Is it possible to make that leap here locally, and to turn what is often a glorified hobby into an actual profession? That answer is nuanced, and provided some surprises.

I had other questions, too. Is there a particularly Seattle sense of humor? And how does its comedy scene reflect the city as a whole?

Thankfully, more than a few local comics were game to pull back the curtain, and open up. I learned a lot, and will be hitting up the Underground once it’s safe. I hope you do, too.