Brian Howie, host of the Great Love Debate podcast and live show, stands in a crowd of 100 men and 100 women during one of his live comedy panel shows.
Brian Howie, host of the Great Love Debate podcast and live show, stands in a crowd of 100 men and 100 women during one of his live comedy panel shows.
Courtesy of Opening Acts, LLC

Men and women are about as opposite as any two forces on Earth. Yet many people spend their whole lives trying to find just one person of the opposite sex who is willing to just put up with them.

Brian Howie, a writer, author and comedian who hosts The Great Love Debate podcast and live touring show, wants to help. So he's making people do something bold, daring and downright dangerous. He's inviting 100 men and 100 women to sit in the main room of Hyena's Comedy Nightclub in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 5, and talk openly with each other about love and relationships.

I know what you're thinking. I thought he was insane, too. My first thought was that I hope he has the good sense to confiscate all sharp and blunt objects before anyone enters the theater.

Fortunately, Howie's got that covered as well; men and women will be required to sit on opposite sides of the room, with couples sitting along his temporary Mason-Dixon Line of love.

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The event is just as much a comedy show as it is an open forum on what men and women find fascinating and infuriating about each other. Three witty personalities, such as local entrepreneur and Cornbread Hustle founder Cheri Garcia, Good Morning Texas host Amy Vanderoef, Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay and (gulp!) Dallas Observer writer Danny Gallagher, will occupy the main stage, leading a panel-style comedy show about love and dating.

"It's mostly to break down the wall and disconnect between men and women and have an open, honest, free-flowing dialogue," Howie says. "It's really about breaking down those walls. When we started, our job was to raise those questions, but 62,000 people have come to these shows, so we have a pretty good handle of what dating is like in America."

Howie says he's hosted 295 of these live panel discussion shows across the country and in parts of Asia and Europe. The only true constant, he says, is that all of the "women want men to try harder and the men want women to make it easier."

Separating the room by gender makes it much easier for the audience to be open about thoughts and opinions on dating, he says.

"Honestly, it's because the men feel a little less intimidated and talk more in a good way," Howie says. "Women really do want to hear from the men, and the men really do want to speak when they're not surrounded by 100 glaring women."

The evening will end with a post-show mixer at Trinity Hall Irish Pub and Restaurant in case some new love starts to blossom between two people at the show. Howie says 47 couples have come together in the three years he's been doing his live show and podcast.

"I really like being in the crowd the whole time like Oprah-style, and the dialogue flows from the audience to the stage," he says. "It's really, really interactive and gets very feisty and very funny."

The Great Love Debate starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Hyena's Comedy Nightclub, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. Tickets are $20 at eventbrite.com, and seats are limited to the first 100 men and 100 women.

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