Stand Up NY

Stand Up NY

Stand Up NY

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Author: Salma Zaky

Drugs & Comedy

ByonwithComments Off on Drugs & Comedy

When you think of hard drugs influencing any type of art form, rock ‘n’ roll comes to mind. It is a necessity for stand up comedians to be somewhat coherent (aka sober) during their set, otherwise, a live train wreck may ensue. Of course, many comedians drink a little or even smoke a little before going on stage, but psychedelics, for example, don’t usually mix well with live comedy. To back up this claim, Vice directed a 12-minute episode showing the outcome of taking acid and then going up on stage to tell jokes. The episode takes place in London, and long story short: Josh the comedian does not kill at the open mic that night. He does about thirty seconds of nervous rambling, and can’t seem to make any eye contact with the disapproving crowd. Although he didn’t get the response he was hoping for, Josh explains that he felt “invincible” and “very very happy” for having completed a challenging task while simultaneously tripping on acid.

A lot of comedians, however, talk about their psychedelic trips on stage due to the absurdity and entertaining aspect of the stories. For example, comedian and podcaster Duncan Trussell tells a 15-minute story on Comedy Central about buying a sheet of acid at a Grateful Dead concert when he was seventeen years old. Another comedian, Doug Benson, built a career out of his heavy marijuana consumption, and even stars in the documentary “Super High Me.” Additionally, in the new Showtime series, I’m Dying Up Here, heroin addiction is a common theme throughout the plot, which takes place in the 70’s. Thankfully, this trend has simmered down and hard drugs are not typically associated with stand up comedy today.

If you’re looking to see funny and coherent comedians, stop on by to Stand Up NY for a great show! Please come sober!

Comedy & The Digital World

ByonwithComments Off on Comedy & The Digital World

It’s no surprise that we are digitally connected to every facet of life; whether you’re a student, an employee, a friend, or an entertainer–the digital age is influencing us all. The digital space is a dominant platform in the entertainment industry, especially for comedic endeavors, due to the accessibility of the online world. Nowadays, it is essential to use streaming websites in order to maximize viewing count and popularize content.   

Sketches, short films, and even stand-up are utilizing streaming websites like Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu and Youtube to their advantage. Youtube, for instance, has blown up in the past five years, and many young vloggers are basking in fame and glory due to the major influence of a mere computer screen. Youtuber personalities specializing in comedy include Shane Dawson, NigaHiga, Rhett & Link, Miranda Sings, and a plethora of other internet sensations. These personalities started with just a camcorder and wifi, and have now established their brand to the point of owning millions from ad revenue dependent on the engagement of their fan base. These YouTubers were lucky though…they started early; the competition is as rigorous as ever, and now Youtube is polluted with starving artists looking to make a living without putting in a lot of effort or having a lot of talent. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find a surfeit of low-quality Youtube videos consisting of youngins sitting behind a screen, talking aimlessly about their day, hoping that it drags into the public sphere and goes viral. Unfortunately, the chances of this happening are zero to none; however, when it does happen, there is major controversy surrounding this competitive career pursuit. Apps like Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram mass-produce teenage internet celebrities who drop out of school to pursue a career in Instagram modeling or 6-second video making. The problem is that the attention span of the youth of this generation is so short that these so-called “celebrities” get forgotten in months’ time.

This is why live comedy is of paramount importance in preserving the honesty and vulnerability that goes along with being a performer. Make a reservation and come on down to Stand Up NY to witness firsthand the magic of live performance. You won’t regret it.    

         

Musical Comedy

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If you’ve heard of Weird Al or The Lonely Island or Jack Black, then you’ve heard of musical comedy. The blending of music and comedy is not a new art form; in fact, it’s been around since the late 1800’s! Musical comedy has since evolved into a medium to showcase talent as well as an outlet for social commentary. Although some musical comedians are based off of pure silliness, like SNL’s The Lonely Island, comics like Bo Burnham or Reggie Watts use a concoction of wittiness and unique sounds to make clever statements on societal issues. For example, Burnham has a song titled “From God’s Perspectives” which, although is a way to emphasize Bo’s ironic pretentiousness, has a pretty symbolic meaning if you listen carefully. One line reads:

“Atheists, and Catholics, Jews and Hindus argue day and night over what they think is true

but no one entertains the thought that maybe God does not believe in you”

Wow, I just got the shivers! This line is controversial, edgy, deep, and really makes you think. As you can see, that is quite the contrast to say, Tenacious D’s “Low Hangin’ Fruit” or The Lonely Island’s “D–k In A Box.” But that is the beauty of musical comedy; one can either learn from it or just simply have a laugh from it. On the other hand, Weird Al popularized the concept of parodying a hit song. This is where the lyrics of a popular song are changed into themed, satirical lyrics that usually mock the original singer in some way. Weird Al is most known for his Michael Jackson parody, “Eat It” along with his Chamillionaire parody, “White & Nerdy.”

Whether you like musical comedy or not, come on down to Stand Up NY and enjoy some traditional stand-up comedy! Check out our line-ups here.  

Emoji Administration

ByonwithComments Off on Emoji Administration

Looking for the perfect emoji is like backpacking through Europe in search of a newfound self–it’s more about the journey than it is the destination. I’ve spent probably a total of about twelve minutes arduously scrolling through each emoji category, struggling to find the perfect match to my current emotion. As I ponder the question of which emoji truly conveys my essence, I can’t help but wonder: are we controlling the emojis, or are they controlling us?

We live in a digital age, where the emoticon has evolved to its purest form. The emoji has swept the nation–every billboard, every commercial, every screen has displayed the cartoon expressions. After seeing the myriad of ads for The Emoji Movie for months now, I can’t help but wonder (again): is this solely a means to distract us from the government’s enigmatic actions? Is this so-called “dream cast” just a ploy to sever the public’s intellect from political activity? Just think about it…after the most recent iPhone update, over one-hundred emojis have been added to the archive. Now there are even more hand gestures, and even more fast food items; I’ve spent a good chunk of my life identifying these new emojis, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!  There are so many unanswered questions, yet the only thing I’m worried about is which emoji I should send to my best friend Shiela next. Would she rather I send the praise hands or the salsa dancer?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the government is onto something and we should always be aware of our surroundings. Maybe before sending out the heart eyes, look over your shoulder; before sending out the spooky ghost, go in a secluded area; before sending out the moon-side-eyeing, make sure it’s light outside. Maybe if we all send the microphone emoji at the same time, then we will be heard.  

Dark Humor

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Dark humor is when you tell jokes with the lights off. Just kidding. Dark humor comes in many different forms; dark topics can range from dead babies to mental illness…but mostly dead babies. A lot of people may find dark material offensive and controversial, however, it’s important to note that the comedian probably has experience with what they’re talking about. Let’s just hope it’s about dead babies, though. Dark humor is not using disrespectful slurs, but rather making light of sensitive topics, like depression and sometimes suicide. And sometimes dead babies.

In Neal Brennan’s newest Netflix special, “3 Mics,” he talks about his personal struggle with depression in one-third of his material. Although he also tells one liners and funny stories, his dark material hits home for a lot of people, and his vulnerability creates a special bond with the audience. Brennan’s eclectic stand-up sets him apart from other comics is that he delves into such honest and personal topics instead of merely scraping the surface. Dark humor is a popular tactic that comedians utilize to connect with the public, and potentially establish a fan base from these dark commonalities.    

Although dark humor can tap into a genuine space that may be difficult for the comedian to channel, this type of humor can also be built on pure silliness. Anthony Jeselnik, for example,  uses dark subject matters as a means to tap into the absurd realm of comedy. Jeselnik has created a wacky facade based off of his blend of arrogance with highly insulting and offensive comments; unfortunately, this character makes him the perfect candidate susceptible to negative feedback. Luckily, his perfectly crafted dead baby jokes make up for that. Jeselnik uses his twitter as a public vessel for his dark sarcasm and pretentious nature. I’m sure this is solely a strategic character and doesn’t actually reflect his true self. But you never know with comedians.
Whether you’re into dark or light humor–Stand Up NY’s got it! Make a reservation today and find out what you like.

Alternative Comedy

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Alternative comedy is essentially the hipster genre of comedy (in a good way). Basically, if alt comedy was a person, they’d wear skinny jeans and glasses without lenses (in a good way). Alternative comedians are not considered mainstream and stray away from the standard template of writing and performing jokes. Some well-known alt comics include Sarah Silverman, Bo Burnham, Marc Maron, Demetri Martin, Kate Berlant, Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo. These comedians don’t typically perform in the big clubs, and rather work on their craft in smaller, more intimate rooms. These quirky comedians sometimes get hate for their vision, but they seem to be doing just fine in the comedy community.

One example of an alt comic is Demetri Martin. Martin is arguably one of the most famous comedians in the alt scene. His witty one-liners and coy delivery diverge from the typical stand-up routine. Instead of seeing him at clubs like The Comedy Cellar or The Hollywood Improv, you’d probably see him at UCB or even maybe the basement of a karaoke bar. Although these places may be lesser known, it doesn’t make him any less of a comedic genius. In fact, he’s got a couple specials out, and a movie!

Another example of a comedian/musician who veers from traditional stand up is Bo Burnham. Burnham puts a theatrical twist on alternative comedy; with his clever songs and absurd act-outs, Burnham’s creativity transforms into a contagious energy that impresses the audience. What’s even more remarkable is that he started his career on Youtube as a mere 16-year-old! Many of his punchlines comment on social issues and can be perceived as controversial at times. Despite his digression from standard jokes, his songs, poems, and performance, in general, give him a unique perspective on otherwise mundane subjects.
You can see all sorts of comedic genres at Stand Up NY–make a reservation today!

Writing Jokes

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Each and every comedian has their own special technique for writing jokes. Whether it be sitting down for hours a day and jotting on a notepad, or letting the jokes surface organically and working them out on stage–writing is crucial in crafting a comic’s voice.

Jerry Seinfeld thoroughly breaks down his personal joke writing process in an interview done by the New York Times. Seinfeld compares writing jokes to song writing, in that word choice and counting syllables are very essential to the timing of the bit. He first talks about how he always wants the first line to be funny, as to immediately draw the crowd in and not waste any time. In a specific example about a joke pertaining to Poptarts, Seinfeld begins by discussing the horrid breakfast foods he’s had to endure as a child and ends with the glory that Poptarts provided because they “can’t go stale because they were never fresh.” Seinfeld confessed that this Poptart joke, especially that last punchline, took him two years to finalize. Joke writing ain’t easy, folks.

 

Mike Lawrence, a writer for Inside Amy Schumer and Roast Battle champion, has a camera crew follow him at three shows, allowing people to see how one new joke evolves over the course of a few hours. Contrary to Seinfeld’s method, Lawrence explains that his joke-writing technique involves him playing around with a premise on stage, rather than writing an entire paragraph and memorizing it. It’s interesting to see him condense one bit throughout the night and use different punchlines to see what works best. The joke has the overarching premise of Bruce Willis being stuck in the Trump Tower as it’s being hijacked; however, over the course of the night, Lawrence explores punchlines about immigrants, autism, and the Die Hard franchise.   

 

In an interview conducted by Tom Green, Bill Burr admits that he doesn’t write, but instead improvises everything on stage, which is also opposite to Seinfeld’s process. He explains that if he thinks of something off stage, he’ll grab a napkin and write one word reminding him of his funny thought. In the interview, Burr seems to be mocking Seinfeld and other comics who stick to their script, and reveals that this delivery can make a comic “trapped in [their] act.” In order to avoid this monotonous acting, Burr adds tags to unfinished jokes and makes his act-outs even bigger and more animated. Burr seems to find more value in reflecting his true self on stage than in the actual writing of his jokes. Well, whatever he’s doin’–it’s workin’!  
Despite Seinfeld, Lawrence, and Burr having opposing views on the art of joke writing, I think we can all agree that they’ve made quite the mark on the comedy community. If you ever want to find out what your joke writing process is, be sure to check out the 5 pm open mic Mon-Fri at Stand Up NY!  

Bombing

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Bombing, just like death, is inevitable. It doesn’t matter who you are; if you are pursuing stand up comedy in any way shape or form: you will fail. A lot. And the worst part about bombing is that it’s immediate. It’s like you are coming face to face with the Grim Reaper and all you have are your words to prevent yourself from dying. Well, it’s not that dramatic…but bombing is arguably the worst part about stand up. Bombing, however, is also the most crucial part about stand up; without failing, you can’t learn. And without learning, you can’t get better.

Actor and director Judd Apatow interviews a plethora of comedians in his book, Sick in the Head. In a particular interview with satirical comedian Jon Stewart, they discuss their worst bombs on stage. Jon talks about his worst set, which was in front of hundreds of people. He later states that he actually loves the bomb and that it’s crucial to “embrace the bomb.” Although this thought probably didn’t occur to him during the moment, he is now able to look back and reflect on it. These are encouraging words for any aspiring comedian!

Jimmy Fallon has a segment on his late night show called: “Worst I Ever Bombed”, where comedians cringe at their most awful sets. Amy Schumer recalls a time she opened for Dave Attell in Central Park, and there was utter silence for her entire 20-minute set. Schumer says “there’s nothing louder than the sound of 5,000 people not laughing”, which might cause some comics to quit–but not Schumer! Another comedian, Patton Oswalt, talks about a packed Saturday night show in Virginia, where the stomach flu and an offensive host got the best of him. No jokes came out of his mouth that night–only vomit. He ends on a positive note by advising to “let yourself be completely defeated at least once.” That’s all it takes to be a bulletproof comedian!
The bottom line is that persistence is key; if you can’t handle failing, then comedy is not for you. But lucky for you, you can just sit and watch! Make a reservation at Stand Up NY and come watch comedians kill on stage. Or check out what it feels like to bomb at the 5 PM open mic.