Stand Up NY

Stand Up NY

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Comics’ Corner

The Hang

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The Hang

It’s hard for me to hang out. I took a class in college called “The American Hang Out” in which students were instructed to hang around the lecture hall and do nothing but shoot the shit with eachother for like an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who didn’t get an A.

The truth is that I rarely showed up. I didn’t find much of a point in gathering together in a controlled environment to gab about what Trump tweeted the day before or the latest viral video.

It takes a lot for me to be genuinely interested in what someone has to say unless I have something to gain. It’s selfish and I feel bad for thinking that—and as a wannabe comedian, I feel like it holds me back.

When it comes to comedy, the hangout is an “in” with certain clubs. If you want to get on stage, you have to know someone who can help you. Networking is part of the game any field, but the thought of schmoozing is ingenuine to me.

Last week, Stand Up NY’s podcast “Passed” with Jon B and Kevin Hurley featured veteran comedian Tom Kelly, who expresses his distaste for hanging out in comedy clubs in the season 4 episode titled “A Realist Comedic Point of View.”

Kelly reflects on the time he spent hanging around comedy clubs in his earlier years as a comedian. He struggled to find meaning in spending time and doing favors for other comedians.

“I can’t tell you how many favors I’ve wasted on people who could not return the favor,” Kelly says. “That’s the hard part about [going] tit for tat. I’ve gotten very dark when I haven’t gotten a tat for my great tits.”

Ultimately, however, Kelly says, “Just be a good human being. Make friends for the sake of being friends. Be kind to somebody who can’t do anything for you.”

Kelly has a good point. There’s a lot to be said there about the comedy hangout and hanging out in general. It’s not always about networking.

The point of that “American Hang Out” class wasn’t to find successful people to add to your LinkedIn network. The primary point was probably pretty simple: be friendly to one another. Maybe a friendly relationship can lead to something, but that should be a secondary benefit to finding a new friend.

Written by Will Flaherty

Twitter: WillFlah3rty

Instagram: WillFlah3rty

 

Mentions Tom Kelly

Twitter: @TomKellyShow

Instagram: @TomKellyShow

Website: https://thomasjkelly.com/

To Bring or Not To Bring

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To Bring or Not To Bring

Has a comedian friend of yours ever asked you to come to their show? Maybe you’d have to say their name when you bought the tickets. Once inside the club or bar, you must satisfy a drink minimum. If any of this sounds familiar, congrats, you’ve been to a “bringer” show!

A bringer show is exactly as it sounds: each performer must bring a certain amount of paying guests to the venue in order to get stage time. It makes sense — comics yearn to tell their jokes in front of an audience who actually meant to be there, and the business wants guaranteed ticket and drink sales. Sounds like a win-win, right?

There are some definite upsides about the bringer show composition and outcome. If done in at a legit comedy club, it allows the comic to do a little sidestep of the open-mic scene, if only for a night. Working out your set at a bar downtown in front of (or more accurately, among) patrons loudly ordering their nth happy hour Corona, on top of the other comics looking down at their notebook and scurrying out immediately after giving the microphone back to the host, can get pretty old. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a vital part of coming up in comedy, and you can meet some equally-frustrated yet hopeful comedians who you can keep doing shitty mics with until you find the ones worth the haul. So what makes the bringer show worth it?

I chatted with comedian Tim Sturtevant about the big question of “to bring or not to bring?” He stands by the notion that starting out doing bringer shows may not be the best option for new comics. “Would you invite people to a concert if you’d only been practicing guitar for three months? No, you wouldn’t, because if you did, everyone who came to support you would lie and tell you, ‘wow, you’re so great at guitar already!’ and then you’d confidently suck at it because of the biased feedback you were given by friends and family,” Tim proclaimed. “Seek out strangers, perform for them, make them laugh. Do that consistently until you’ve got a goal. Doing bringers without a goal in mind is pointless. If you’re only goal is to make Aunt Jeanine laugh about that one time you burnt Santa’s oatmeal cookies, don’t do a bringer. If you want to submit to a festival, or need a tape to send to other clubs, a bringer is a great option.”

I can’t argue with that. I have to say, it feels pretty swell to bring people who love and support you to see your show. It feels even better to bask in the afterglow of their compliments. It feels natural to cling to their praise when you’re just starting out. But Tim has a point. Strangers need to think you’re funny, too, not your closest friends who, and I’m quoting him “have seen our dicks during middle school gym class (but like not in a gay way).” Charming stuff, Tim.

OK, so the audience at a bringer show is guilty of consisting of the buddies, coworkers, and family of any given comedian in the line-up. They’re laughter doesn’t always translate. Unlike when you may have actual bookers or scouts in the audience, no one is going to give you a sitcom if you crush. Then again, no one was going to do that regardless.

However, at the end of the day, even if it is full of ex-jocks you traded cups with in high school or whatever, a great crowd is a great crowd. If you can catch them on tape vibing with your material, and you have somewhere you want to send that tape, you’ve gotten yourself a huge asset. That being said, I would not do a bringer show if a tape isn’t part of the deal, especially if you’re not getting any kickback on the ticket sales you generated. The pay-to-play mentality is inevitable in a comedy scene packed to the brim with so many eager jokesters, such as in NYC, but we can only give so much! Yes — most open mics in the city charge the performer five bucks to get up and entertain people.

“Keep in mind that the bringer is a means to an end,” Tim adds. “If someone is promising you paid work based off your performance on a bringer show, be weary.”

Wait, paid work? That sounds dope, though. Why be weary?

“Because producers who run bringers often use those [comedians] without goals to fulfill goals of their own: to fill a venue and collect ticket sales,” Tim explained. “Don’t help them fulfill their goals without fulfilling any of your own.”

That definitely makes sense. A bringer show, with its professional tape, and high-brow club logo in the background, and even higher-energy audience members (shout out to Auntie J!), can be a useful and rewarding outlet for comedy. The key in choosing whether or not to participate is largely around timing. Is there something coming up to which you’d like to submit a tape? Have you gotten around to enough seedy mics and made uninterested strangers do a spit-take with their well gin and tonic? Was it a 4:30pm on a Tuesday when you did that? If any of this sounds familiar, congrats! You’re ready for a bringer show.

Article written by Ellen Harrold

Twitter: @whorsdoeuvres

Instagram: @ellewoodz

 

Featuring Tim Sturtevant

Twitter: @tstrurdcomedy

Instagram: @conwayjest

5 Great Jokes About America From Our Favorite Comedians

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Stand up comedy is like pizza in America — we may not have created it, but we sure as hell made it better.

From Lenny Bruce to The Smothers Brothers, George Carlin to Jon Stewart, there’s a long history of comics who have a love-hate relationship with the ol’ Red, White, and Blue.

And with Independence Day around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some of our favorite comedians sharing their thoughts, dreams, and occasional fears about our great country. Here are our 5 favorite comedians talking about America:

Judah Friedlander — “America is the Greatest Country in the United States

Judah is a regular here at Stand Up NY and we were lucky enough to see him work out some of the material off his 2017 Netflix special “America is the Greatest Country in the United States” right here at our club.

Check out this clip where Judah shares his presidential platform for health care, climate change, and gun control:

Trevor Noah — “Sports in America

Sometimes the best observations on a subject come from the outside. Trevor Noah moved to the U.S. from his native South Africa in 2011, but it didn’t take him long to really get a pulse on the one thing Americans love the most: sports.

Watch this hilarious clip from his 2013 special, “African American” where he breaks down how American priorities may need a little adjusting:

Jerry Seinfeld — “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

If you haven’t seen Seinfeld cruising in a 1963 Chevy Corvette alongside our country’s 44th President, carve out 20 minutes from the hot dog eating and Bud Light drinking this July 4th and watch it now. Seinfeld goes for the deep cuts, like Obama’s underwear preference and his most embarrassing presidential moment.

Michelle Wolf — “White House Correspondents Dinner

It doesn’t get much better than this. We used to see Michelle Wolf grinding it out at our open mics here at the club. Now, she’s on the main stage taking down President Trump and politicians on both sides of the aisle. This may be the best piece of political humor for 2018:

Sarah Silverman — “I Love You, America

Sarah’s been an amazing comedian for years, but her new Hulu show, “I Love You, America” may be her best work yet. Check out this promo clip where Sarah gets to the core of America’s issues…magicians.

That’s it! Have a happy Independence Day, America! We love you.

 

Advice From a NY Comedian: Never Phone It In

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Ian Hunt is a NY-based stand up comedian by way of Michigan. He is the winner of the 2017 New York Comedy Festival, a contributing writer for Mad Magazine, and co-creator of the hit webseries, Insta Boyz. Ian produces a popular monthly show in Brooklyn called “Good For You.”  



I generally hate comedy advice.

Most of it seems arbitrary to me. My knee-jerk reaction when someone tries telling me I “have to” do something is to snap back with “who are you and why should I listen?”

Maybe that’s part of a comedian’s brain — an impulse that says, “don’t tell me what to do.”  

Or maybe I’m just an asshole.

But, so much advice comes from people I don’t know without any context.

And so, I’m going to tell a story about me here. I’m going to give some context to an important lesson I learned about comedy because I think it’s good advice and maybe if I can express how I learned it (and from whom) assholes like me will be more apt to take it.

Here it goes:

I was two years into comedy in New York City and fortunate to get booked on a bar show in the West Village.  

Now, bar shows in New York can be notoriously tough. Even a great producer who does all the right stuff — reaches out to press outlets, posts on social media, even barks audience members in — can end up with a rough show.

But, this one was especially brutal.

When I showed up, the “audience” consisted of four people sitting as far away from the stage as possible. Two of them were tourists from Sweden who didn’t seem to speak much English. On top of that, nothing seemed organized. The host greeted me, hopped on stage, shifted through some notes, and then looked at me and from the stage asked “Do you want to go first?”

No, I don’t, I thought. I want to wait. Maybe more people will show up. Put one of the other comics up first. Also why are we figuring this out now in front of the “crowd”?

I said “sure.”

Then, I sped through my set to the sounds of empty silence. No real effort on my part. When I got the light, I didn’t even bother to use my final minute. I got off stage and walked straight to the bar to grab a drink and stew in my own misery.

What a waste, I thought to myself. I knew I was a nobody, but I was better than this show. Hitting an open mic would have been a more productive use of my time. I watched the comic after me go down the same path of frustration and resignation as he too sped through his set and got off stage as quickly as possible.

Then Myq Kaplan showed up.

He took the stage and immediately engaged the audience. Both me and the second comic had done a little crowd work (with no success), but Myq’s approach was totally different. He didn’t have the defeatist attitude we had on stage.

He was excited to be on the show and the crowd knew it.

To my surprise (and the host’s too, frankly), the audience came alive. Turns out the two Swedes spoke English just fine and all four attendees were ready and willing to chat and laugh. Myq was by far the most accomplished comic on the show — at this time, he already had late night sets on Conan and Letterman under his belt in addition to a Comedy Central Presents — but he was not above this 7PM on a Wednesday bar show for four people.

He was tap dancing. He was on. I had gone on stage and punished the people who had showed up. I was like the teacher who yells at their class for skipping: “Why are we in trouble?! We’re the ones here!”

Mark Normand says “you’re not above anything.” And I know he means it because I heard him say it on an open micer’s podcast that sounded like it was recorded on a broken iPhone. It probably was, and Mark Normand has played Madison Square Garden.

The lesson here is simple: never phone it in.

Comedy doesn’t owe you anything. There are so many comics in New York alone who want that spot so bad. Who want to “make it.” You can’t afford to not give it your everything. Rolling with the punches makes you better. Saving a tough show feels amazing. You’re in control: every show is fun if you let it be. Doesn’t matter if you’re performing for four people or four-thousand.

Never phone it in. Take every spot. You’re not above anything.

 

Comedy Can Happen Anywhere…

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Comedy is popping up all over! Hotels, bars, schools, podcasts, charities, and obviously the world wide web.  Especially with the rise of social media, comedy can be shared in real time and in person. We have moved past the days of traveling through a comedy circuit/trail/belt to see a handful of great stand up comedians in person… Today, stand up artists have the access to be right in your face, hometown, even your favorite watering hole any given moment of every day or night. You can catch them almost anywhere, sharing their humor and experiences in person. Right here in NYC, some of our Stand Up NY regulars are taking their personal shows “on the road” (really like a couple blocks down or just around the corner into another borough) to bring stand up comedy to a range of new venues and crowds.

Shout outs to a few SUNY regulars who are making this happen, and still have time to drop in on our stage:

  • Alzo Slade is putting on the Grits and Biscuits Block Party a “Dirty South Set” this May 26th at Coney Island Boardwalk – talk about a fun time! (& Alzo is at Stand Up NY Next Saturday at 10:30PM!)  

  • If you haven’t yet, you may want to check out Yannis Pappas Instagram… like, WOW, you could scroll through the humor for a lifetime! In particular, I want to make note of “Bay Ridge Boys 5”, a perfect example of bringing comedy straight into your face/palm, or perhaps it should be the video of Chris Distefano absolutely nailing karaoke. I really can’t decide what’s better, but I am definitely going to be here when he does Stand Up NY Next Saturday at 10:30PM!

With their down time stand up comedians all over this great city and beyond are ramping up their own produced shows to bring stand up comedy to you anywhere and everywhere…. Did I mention that Stand up NY will be joining the ranks with our FIRST EVER POP UP SHOW! Information coming soon so be sure to follow us on social media for the secret details!

For future shows please purchase tickets here or make a reservation today. If you want your own opportunity to make your way into the stand up comedy world, join us for our Open Mics every weekday, Monday – Friday at 5PM. Think you’ve already got a great set going? Then check out our Bring It show every Saturday at 6PM with more info on how to sign up here. By the way, we have a *New* College Summer Internship Program running June through August. Join us on Twitter or Instagram to DM us for more details!  

A Night Behind The Scenes at Stand Up NY

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Want to know what goes on before, during, and after our shows? Well here’s your inside reporter coming to you from the desk of the Night Host. Yes, I am here to give you the real scoop on how and what all goes down from Opening to Close at our Comedy Club.

First show kicks off in two hours, already one of our attentive bartenders is here checking the liquor levels, beer supply, and mixers… just itching for the first order to come in, because frankly, we are a pretty fun bunch and we always like to get the party started early! Now onto our fabulous servers who are calmly preparing the seating and setting up menus for all you nice folk to order from. Honestly, everything is done in good cheer while we banter, talk life, and prepare for the comedy ahead; and when it comes to our comedy shows we do not joke around! ….OK, we do, but only in the most professional sense. By this point, it’s just a matter of time before all sorts of people begin to trickle in.

Here at Stand Up NY, there is really no “backstage,” but there is a bar (and it’s not especially high, I mean it is a tall bar, but we don’t have any high standards). Pre-show guests arrive to check into their reservations and are directed to cozy up to this bar before we begin seating. There you can expect to find a range of experiences like ordering your first Marxorita (beware they are deliciously potent), watching our producer watch soap opera style wrestling matches or something else just as captivating, and potentially chat with some amazing comedians who decided to show up early just to hang out!

That brings us to showtime! Here’s where it gets fun… our guests are seated, drink and food orders are taken, and we are ready to begin the main event. Our hosting comedian is supplied with the most up to date line-up for the evening shows, we make our airplane style “Cell Phones Off, Seat Belts Fastened, and No Smoking Allowed Indoors” spiel, and as our host(ess) takes the stage the real work begins! They kick off the evening for our guests, while comedians of the night stroll in and plop themselves down at the bar like any regular attendee. They come as early as two hours in advance and as punctual as literally running in the front door, walking through the bar to catch their breath, and smoothly into the showroom onto the stage… we’re not looking at you AJ Foster (who nails it every time regardless)! Most comedians will come in early and have a drink with their friends to discuss upcoming events like festivals, podcasts, and personal achievements. Once their name is called though every comedian gives their very best every night, but that’s not to imply our guests are the only ones laughing and enjoying the evening.

This is when I experienced what I didn’t expect… I loved what I am going to term as “community time.” In the bar area, we are all real people; shooting the shoot, hanging out, and catching the great lines and jokes that our guests are experiencing at the same time. Anyone present gets to find out almost everything about each other. Just last week our bartender was sharing parenthood stories with Erin Maguire, joking about kids famous meals like grilled cheese night; Yamaneika and Monroe Martin were jesting with other; Jonathan Randall literally just came to have a drink and catch up with friends (he wasn’t even on the show that night!), Sherrod Small walked down after taping his Race Wars Podcast to listen into the comedy and share a drink with his podcast guests (including a congressman). Altogether our “backstage” is just a big happy hour mingling session getting to know each other.

Then comes the shows end, and this is where it gets exciting for our guests. As you stream out of the showroom and back into the bar area, I watch as comedians and attendees greet one another, exchange formalities, take pictures together, and sometimes share ideas or jokes. This all seems like celebrity treatment, but something I have noticed is that a comedian isn’t a regular type of celebrity. They touch on and sometimes attack our most personal thoughts and beliefs but in a way that brings a crowd closer together with humor stemming from mutual acceptance. Everyone walks out the same doors as a genuine human; there is no facade making out anyone to be more important, famous, or greater than any other person in the room. By the end of the night, comedians and guests alike are chilling at the bar connecting on a personal level. No where else have I experienced such a close entertainer-attendee-employee relationship and connection platform.

Overall, to me, it is mind blowing and thrilling to work day or night at Stand Up NY. The people you meet, the things you learn, and what everyone contributes to make this place run smoothly year round is astounding! Stop in to make your own memories and a handful of new friends any night of the week (including me)! 

For future shows please purchase tickets here or make a reservation today. If you want your own opportunity to make your way into the stand up comedy world, join us for our Open Mics every weekday, Monday – Friday at 5PM. Think you’ve already got a great set going? Then check out our Bring It show every Saturday at 6PM with more info on how to sign up here. By the way, we have a *New* College Summer Internship Program running June through August. Join us on Twitter or Instagram to DM us for more details!

Stand Up NY Summer 2017 Interns

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Welcome to Stand Up NY! We are glad to have you here. In this quick video we, the interns, will introduce ourselves and show you the beautiful club.

The club has such a rich history. The stage of Stand Up NY has graced the presence of big names in the industry such as Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Judah Friedlander, etc..

We highly encourage that you come check out a show. Hope you enjoy the video!

Stand Up NY PSA

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A stand-up comedy club is a place to have fun, let loose and enjoy yourself. However, there are rules. Sometimes, people decide not to follow these rules, and that puts us in a real pickle. Here at Stand Up NY, we want you to have a good time. That’s why we created an informational and educational public service announcement to teach the conduct expected while at Stand Up NY, rather than berate you with the things you need to know.

In this video, we profile two people. A man by the name of Jack has proper comedy club etiquette and showcases how to act in a comedy club. Another man by the name of Jerk is disheveled and rude and showcases how not to act in a comedy club. We will contrast every individual action between the two people. For instance:

Jack waltzes in, Chivalrous as always, with a girl holding on to his arm. He is delighted to see a reserved table for 2, opts to pull out one of the chairs to seat his lovely woman, and then proceeds to sit down and fold his leg properly.

Jerk meanders into the frame, already half drunk, and proceeds to steal the seat from the woman accompanying him. He flips the chair and leans his arm on the backrest, and then inappropriately checks out the waitress passing by him.

The trend of contrasting these two characters continues until the last scene where Jerk breaks the #1 rule: NO HECKLING. Jerk is an example of how NOT to act at a comedy club. As long as you aren’t a jerk, you are cool with us. Stay tuned for any new rules we feel the need to include portrayed by yours truly – JERK.

Is Laughter Really Contagious?

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It has long been said that laughter is contagious. All it takes is for one person to laugh or crack a smile and it allegedly spreads like wildfire. Or herpes. But is it actually contagious or have we just read the same fortune cookie one too many times?

Seriously. Why should we trust that fortune cookie? It came with Lo Mien and low sodium soy sauce. What kind of wild asshole even consumes low sodium soy sauce. That’s like eating one potato chip- get out of here.

You are probably sitting there right now saying to yourself, “It’s just a saying, who cares?” Well, we all care. This clearly makes you the odd one out. Also, why are you trying to ruin our fun?

Alright, alright, alright so just for kicks let’s say that laughter is contagious. You are laughing uncontrollably when all of a sudden a person nearby starts laughing with you. Now you both look unstable laughing alone on a subway platform, so maybe just keep that in mind.

Do you think they are laughing because the content that made you laugh is funny or are they laughing in some mindless zombie-like way?

You know what, we could really be on to something here.

What if comedians aren’t even really all that funny and the audience only laughs because one person started it. Holy crap. The comedy industry only exists as part of a scheme. Look at all of those liars on stage. Their livelihoods are supplemented by zombie magic.

This may also suggest that comedy is like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Is Trump even the President or do we just think he is because Saturday Night Live created a few sketches based on him?

No. That’s absurd.

Just like your low sodium soy sauce.