Oh man, what an awesome long weekend in New York! So much to tell you guys about the venues and the scene in general, but I'll start with the easy one - the awesome comedians I saw. A handful of these guys, I've seen in LA or at Moontower last spring, but mostly I had the treat of watching a bunch of shows filled with exceptionally good comedians that I was seeing for the first time. Christmas in October!
So, here's a short rundown of the folks I got to enjoy.
Ted Alexandro - Holy shit! Ted is one of those guys that is so good at this, he makes it look effortless and simultaneously, if you're a nerd looking for the moving parts, it looks like some kind of amazing complicated and perfect Swiss watch. Easily the most mind-blowing set I saw this week.
Big Jay Oakerson - "Catch Jay's set" was basically numbers 1-10 on my NYC To Do list. And I did manage to do so three times between The Stand and The Comedy Cellar. Jay's one of those guys who absolutely has jokes, but they live in a crowdwork-based set that feels entirely on-the-fly to the audience. Plus, his banter with emcee Ardie Fuqua at The Cellar reminded me of the back of the room late night at The Store and made me feel at home.
Ardie Fuqua - One big difference I noticed between the NYC and LA scenes is the role of host of emcee. They take that shit seriously. It's not just the place you stick the youngest guy on the lineup to help break him in, you put someone there who knows what they're doing. And watching Ardie was really the embodiment of that.
Mike Lawrence A favorite of mine since Moontower, Mike's a big beardy nerd. Looking around some of the mics and younger shows, he also seems to be exactly what every young comic in New York is aiming for. We tend to dismiss people who make too many pop culture or comic book references as kind of cheating, using cultural touchstones the crowd recognizes instead of writing better jokes, but that is definitely not Mike. Not only is he a great writer, but he references those things because they have deep meaning in his life, so he's actually exposing more of his true self than trying to hide it.
Dan St Germain He's got a great beard and a (former) substance abuse problem. Sold! I've also loved Dan since Moontower and only got to catch one set this trip, which was unfortunately marred by a bachelorette party and a separate drunk chick who got up to puke in the middle, but even though I'm sure it wasn't enjoyable for Dan, it still was for me.
Sam Morril - You may recognize Sam's name from the whole rape joke shitstorm a few months back, and that's unfortunate. He's funny as hell, writes great, tight setup-punch jokes that tend toward the dark and dirty (but not excessively so or for empty shock value).
Dave Hill - So weird and awesome. If comedy were a record store, he'd be in the same bin as Brody Stevens and TJ Miller. Really enjoyed it.
Chuck Nice - Um, he mentions how time doesn't exist on a quantum level in his act and he hangs out with Neil Degrasse Tyson. You think I'm NOT gonna be into that?
I also went to their Schtick or Treat, where comedians dress up and do impersonations of other comedians, so I saw another whole handful of people who seemed pretty awesome, but I have no idea who they are. But whoever did Garfunkel and Oats I want to be my two new BFFs.