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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


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

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!

Jewish Comics of NYC

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As we all know, Jewish standup comedians are hard to come by in New York. Here at Stand Up NY, we pride ourselves in hosting Jewish comedians since we first opened in 1986. As Passover approaches, we decided to celebrate our comedians’ Jewish heritage. Here are some highlights!

Elon Gold

 Elon, a Bronx native, was raised in an entertainment industry family. His parents owned Goldstar Talent Management, and both of his brothers are involved in the music business. Elon got his break on FOX’s Stacked, and went on to appear on In-Laws on NBC, The Tonight Show, Fraiser, Chappelle’s Show, and Bones. He now performs stand up around the city and has a special out on Netflix. Here’s a clip from Chosen and Taken:


Susie Essman

Susie Essman was also born in the Bronx, to Russian and Polish parents. Her career took off in 1989 when she appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and she got a half-hour special on Comedy Central three years later. She’s best known as Susie Greene on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has appeared in several films, including Punchline and Bolt. Here she is roasting Donald Trump before his White House stint.


Judah Friedlander

 Judah Freidlander was born in Maryland and went to school at NYU, where he first tried standup at the age of 19. While stand up is his “first love,” he also has a prolific acting career, appearing as Frank on 30 Rock, guest starring in shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, and Fresh Off the Boat. He’s also been in numerous feature films, including Wet Hot American Summer, Zoolander, The Wrestler, and Rio. He lives in Queens and enjoys performing stand up and playing ping pong. Here’s a clip of him dissecting his signature look:


Rachel Feinstein

Rachel Feinstein moved to New York when she was 17 and hasn’t stopped doing comedy since. She was a finalist on Last Comic Standing, and has appeared on shows like Inside Amy Schumer,Last Week Tonight, Red Oaks, and Crashing. She now has a special called Only Whores Wear Purple on Comedy Central. Here’s a clip of her network TV debut on the James Corden Show:


Marion Grodin

Marion Grodin has comedy in her blood. Her father, Charles Grodin, is a prolific actor and comedian. Marion began her career as a screenwriter, writing for It’s a Living and Princesses. She decided to pursue standup comedy and began playing around New York City and touring the country with Lewis Black and Judy Gold. She’s made appeareances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The View, and was a producer on The Charles Grodin Show. Her memoir, Standing Up, was released in 2013. Here she is interviewing New Yorkers about their addictions:


Catch these comedians here at Stand Up NY on the regular! With shows every night of the week, you never know who will show up and step on stage! For future shows please purchase tickets here ormake 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 5PM with more info on how to sign up here.

Happy St. Paddys To Irish American Comedians

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As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, let’s take some time to appreciate the long legacy of Irish-American comedians. Irish immigrants have been settling along the East Coast since 1700s, establishing large communities in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Irish immigrants and their descendants have had a huge impact on US culture, especially comedy. Here are some of our favorite Irish comedians!

Des Bishop

Des, proclaimed “Ireland’s adopted son of comedy,” is an Irish-American comedian who was brought up in New York before moving to Ireland at 14, where he still primarily resides. A highly successful stand up comedian in Ireland, he’s had three acclaimed television series on RTE, Ireland – The Des Bishop Work Experience (2004), Joy in the Hood (2006), and the award winning six episode comedy documentary series In the Name of the Fada (2008). Des now travels the world performing stand up shows such as My Dad Was Nearly James Bond which premiered at the 2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won rave reviews. On top of that he has released four stand-up DVD since 2005, and is currently the organizer and resident MC of the International Comedy Club in Dublin. But wait… there’s more! Des Bishop will be at Stand Up NY this Wednesday, March 14th at 8:00PM for a Live Podcast taping of Lost In America!

Conan O’Brien

The lanky, irreverent late-night host grew up outside of Boston, where he attended Harvard and wrote for the National Lampoon. In the 1990s, he wrote for SNL and The Simpsons. After moving to LA, his friend, actress Lisa Kudrow, encouraged him to perform more. In 1993, he was hired as David Letterman’s replacement on NBC’s Late Night, and the rest is history. Throughout his long career, O’Brien has often celebrated and joked about his Irish-Catholic heritage. In 2012, he really got in touch with his roots at the Irish American Heritage center in Chicago:


Aisling Bea 

Aisling Bea is the first female comedian on our list, and the only to actually be born in Ireland. She was raised in County Kildare and graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as Trinity College in Dublin. She regularly appears on Irish and British comedy shows such as The Big Fat Quiz of Everything and A League of Their Own, and in 2012 was the second woman ever to win the Gilded Balloon So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has also won the British Comedy Award for Best Female Television Comic and performs standup all around the UK and the US. Here she is performing at Live at the Apollo:


Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn, a Brooklyn native, is a staple of the New York stand up scene. His career began in 1984, and in 1996 he was hired at SNL. Within two years, he was hosting Weekend Update, and had his own Broadway one-man show, Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake. He then hosted his own show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, on Comedy Central. He’s appeared in various films and television shows, like Grown Ups, Girls, and Trainwreck. He talks about his Irish heritage (among others) in his new Netflix special:


John Mulaney

Born in Chicago, John Mulaney moved to New York after college, where he was hired as a writer for SNL in 2008. While he was creating memorable characters like Stefon, he was also performing stand up. He’s recorded three hour-long specials and has appeared on various late-night shows around New York. He and Nick Kroll wrote and starred in their play Oh Hello which ran for six months on Broadway. He recently passed through New York on his Kid Gorgeous tour at Radio City Music Hall. Here’s a clip from his special New In Town where he talks about the emotional complexities of being Irish:


Erin Maguire

Erin Maguire, one of Stand Up NY’s very own, is an accomplished stand up comedian who performs all around the city. Since moving to New York from Boston, she’s been in various theater and TV productions, and now tours all around the East Coast! You can get a taste of her work here or stop by and see her at Stand Up NY!


Catch the next up and coming Irish-American Comedian right here at Stand Up NY! With shows every night of the week, you never know who will show up and step on stage! 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 5PM with more info on how to sign up here.

African American Stand Up – The Founders

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Simultaneous with the 1930s and 1940s stand up comedy evolution in the “Borscht Belt”, African American comedians emerged on the “Chitlin Circuit.” This was a string of clubs and venues in the east, south, and midwest that began with some of the great founders of comedy such as Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor. Below is a short snapshot about what each one contributed to stand up comedy, although no amount of words can completely detail how much they gave to paving the way for all.

Moms Mabley, a trailblazing African American comedienne known for her warm yet raunchy stand-up routines. Born in North Carolina in the 1890’s she became a star of many films and was the first female headliner at the Apollo Theater in the 1930’s. She also recorded several hit comedy albums beginning her recording career with her debut album The Funniest Woman Alive. More than 20 years after Moms passing, fellow comedian Whoopi Goldberg honored Mabley with her directorial debut documentary Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ to Tell You. She was known offstage as a chic and glamorous (and lesbian) woman, while her stand up routines were “riotous affairs augmented by the aesthetic she presented as being an older, housedress-clad figure who provided sly commentary on racial bigotry to African-American audiences” says


Redd Foxx teamed up with a friend in 1941 to tour the vaudeville or chitlin circuit with their comedy routine, this led to Pryor’s future success as a stand-up comedian. Becoming known for his “willingness to tackle controversial topics such as race and sex” claims  By the end of his career he sold over 20 million copies of his comedy albums, was a star on the NBC sitcom Sanford and Son, and then began ABC’s Redd Foxx Comedy Hour. Foxx helped pave the way for future comedians looking to produce boundary pushing stand up comedy. 

Dick Gregory, a stand up comic and political activist. Gregory “used his comedy to convey his political ideals to white and black audiences alike. Gregory is credited with helping change the way European-Americans viewed African-Americans. He proved we weren’t less intelligent than any white person,” says He even made history by, after making it clear he wanted to be invited onto the show, being the first African American guest to appear on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show and sit on the couch to chat with the host, also becoming a recurring guest on the show over time. When he passed away this previous year, fans, celebrities, and comedians all took to social media to remember his great achievements for comedy and justice. See our post from last September in honor of his life and commitments.

Richard Pryor crossed over from the previous age of the chitlin circuit to start the new age of modern comedy. Pryor began working as a stand up comic in the Midwest portion of the old belt in the early 1960’s before moving to New York City in 1963 to make his television debut on the show On Broadway Tonight. As puts it, the young Richard Pryor “shamelessly adopted the style and rhythms (and, at times, material) of his new comedy idol, Bill Cosby.” Eventually achieving his early dream of landing a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show. By the late 1960’s he released his own self-titled comedy album, then made his way to the screen as a comedy writer in the early 1970s eventually earning his first Emmy Award for the comedy special Lily. He also wrote for shows such as the Flip Wilson Show and Sanford and Son, which starred Redd Foxx. He is credited by many comedians as having created the beginning of modern comedy with his motion picture release of Richard Pryor: Live In Concert. As Chris Rock told EW: “Every comedian will tell you that it is, by far, the greatest piece of stand-up ever done.”

We thank and appreciate all the African American comedians that have gone unmentioned over the years but who nonetheless greatly contributed to creating the future of stand up comedy and opening it to all. From these greats to today’s: Kevin Hart, Mo’Nique, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Wanda Sykes, Godfrey, Kenan Thompson, Martin Lawrence, Yamaneika… continue this list at home, it will and should go on forever!

Come see the next line-up of sensational, boundary breaking, and future seeking comedians every night of the week here at Stand Up NY. You really never know who is going to pop in for a special appearance! 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 5PM with more info on how to sign up here.

The Comedy Boom

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All for Comedy, Comedy for All: Is the current stand-up comedy boom going to last?

It’s the beginning of the new year but there is that recurring question floating around the comedy world, is this comedy boom about to go bust? There was already a comedy revolution in the 70’s and 80’s, but by the early 1990’s the comedy bubble quickly burst. It’s now 2018 and many claim the second comedy boom began in 2009; today, many fear that this comedy bubble is soon going to burst again. One thing is for sure, live stand-up comedy has survived the waves. We can always count on NYC and LA to provide us with comedy time and time again.

The First Comedy Boom

First, as a quick recap of the first NYC comedy boom. In the 1970’s stand up comedy became a legitimate art form, following that a handful of comedy clubs opened in the ‘70s, then between 1978 and 1988 over 300 comedy clubs opened up across the U.S.; allowing a large number of comedians to become popular in the ‘80s. As summarized in Patrick Bromley’s comprehensive review of Stand-up comedy in the 1980s, this expansion brought in new forms of stand up comedy including the explosion of sitcoms, late night talk shows, and variety shows all featuring comedians. As Bromley puts it, “The unbelievable success of stand-up comedy in the 1980s meant only one thing: sooner or later, the bubble had to burst. Though comedy went out on top at the end of the decade, it was only a matter of time before overexposure led to a collapse…”

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Here’s a synopsis of what occurred back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s provided by Stephen Holden’s 1992 NY Times article covering the business of comedy clubs. Stephen Holden made it clear that in 1992, “although the comedy boom hasn’t exactly gone bust, the bubble has burst…” and comedy club attendance plummeted with it. Holden pointed out this was in part due to the rapid increase of comedy available on cable television. Comedy Central had just been formed a year earlier in 1991 by the merger of Comedy Channel and the Ha! Network, MTV started “Half-Hour Comedy Hour” for stand up comedians in 1988, and HomeBox Office had just created the late-night show “Def Comedy Jam” in 1992. (Don’t forget all the sitcoms, late night, and variety shows already on air from the 1980’s). All of this was now easily available in the living room or common area of any place with a television.

On top of that, a recession had grown during the late 1980’s which began to effect comedy clubs profits as the seat count declined. Many clubs, stand up talent agencies, and magazines simply went out of business or filed for bankruptcy across the nation as well as in Manhattan. Although some clubs stayed aloft and were able to continue supporting all levels of stand up comedians, as Holden mentioned “if the fees being paid to comics have declined somewhat, they are still hefty. Included in this article was Stand Up NY! Ok, yes, that was a self-call, we’ve been here through it all (30 years) and we are gratefully still here thanks to our comedians and customers; we hope to continue supporting you all in the future!

Unfortunately, some other clubs didn’t survive the wave and have since closed. Overall this decline in the economy and club attendance combined with cable television’s increased demand for comedy eventually caused the boom to simmer down.

What about 2018, where is comedy now, and what’s going to happen?

Many agree that the current comedy boom began in 2009. Three instrumental occurrences highlight the factors at play in this new comedy world: Marc Maron started his podcast in his garage, Rob Delaney made an entirely new stand up career via 140-character twitter jokes, and other industry influencers put out, what are now well-known specials. Comedy in the 2000’s is a strange mixture of old and new world, with stand up comedy sometimes fluctuating between the two with ease or butting heads over what’s best for the future. What does this mean? Back in 2012, Andrew Clark wrote an interesting piece of the New York Times titled, “How the Comedy Nerds Took Over.” Basically, there’s the regular stand up comedy and the new “alt-comedy,” a “comedy subculture typified by ‘comedy nerds’ playing to hipster crowds, milking awkwardness and dropping quirky pop-culture references.” These commonly took place in newly reformed alternative rooms and shows, produced by the comedians themselves, and “prided itself on being autobiographical, quirky and tied much more closely to sketch comedy and character work. It didn’t pay well, but that was the point. Comics sacrificed money for freedom.” This new alt-comedy scene fed off itself and grew to bring in a what some called a stand-up comedy “renaissance”.

This stand up comedy renaissance evolved alongside the streaming movement, which seems to be the biggest upset and concern in today’s comedy boom discussions. The creation of comedy podcasts, websites completely devoted to comedy news or satire, and the instantaneous streaming services across television, web, and mobile platforms; this is the streaming movement and it has and continues to have a major impact on the new world of stand up comedy.

As Jesse David Fox wrote for Vulture back in early 2015, “Practically every comedian has a podcast or web series, or both…Thanks to the internet, comedians now have infinite means by which to reach their fans; and those fans are more fanatical than ever. Welcome to the Second Comedy Boom.” Jesse recognized that 30 years ago, “comedians had to fight for a few large slices of a small pie. In the ’90s, a few performers made millions as stars of network sitcoms, but most were left in the cold when comedy clubs started shutting down. Now the pie is bigger and slices more plentiful, which benefits everyone.” This is a good thing, technology has enabled the second comedy boom to progress past the physical venue and television limitations that the 90’s held. Back then you either had to make it big or go home, and those years were overwhelmed by a rapid influx of new comedians. Today, you can make it by starting with a youtube video series, creating a weekly podcast, or heavily engaging on social media. Adam Sachs, the CEO of Midroll – a company that sells ads for popular podcasts – says that many comedians can survive off their podcast revenues alone, stating “a podcast with 40,000 downloads per episode can gross well over $75,000 a year, and shows in the 100,000-download range can gross somewhere between $250,000 and $400,000.”  There are various ways to produce and access stand up comedy every second of the day, allowing amateur and new comedians to gain recognition easily and still keep some coins in their pockets.

Today’s views and opinions in 2018 vary based on many current and past comedy industry factors. I’d like to start on the optimistic side, with Elahe Izadi’s article in the Washington Post, “The New Rock Stars: Inside Today’s Golden Age of Comedy.” Izadi highlights the tech benefits of today’s comedy world claiming “We’re smack dab in the middle of a stand-up comedy boom. Never before has so much original material been this easy to access and been consumed by this many people. Never before has the talent pool of comedians been this deep, and in format, voice and material, this diverse.” She goes on to quote Brian Volk-Weiss, the founder of Comedy Dynamics, as dubbing this comedy’s “diamond era.” They both recognize alongside many comedians the biggest difference between the 90’s comedy bust and today’s comedy boom success, “Stand-up comics once vied for limited TV airtime. Now they vie to be noticed on the limitless Internet, where they can tell jokes and upload videos instantly…” she goes on to point out that social media “‘cut out the middleman’ and let comedians reach audiences directly” a huge benefit for all comedians trying to make a name for themselves.

The opposing view…

Are these technological advancements and openings always positive? How long can the ‘diamond era’ of comedy last given the rapidly continuing saturation of the stand-up comedy world and market? Our first conversation is for the online streaming giant, Netflix, who seems to have invested the most in some of the biggest names in comedy over recent years. Offering stand up comedy specials on its platform from comedians like Louis CK, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman, and other huge stars. Stuart Heritage of the Guardian, author of “From Louis CK to Jerry Seinfeld: Netflix’s comedy boom is about to go bust,”  acknowledges that “this time around is different [from the 90’s], because this time the end result is a standup special rather than a sitcom” but just like the sitcom specials of the 90’s, by only investing in “a handful of big-name comedians – many of whom are a decade or more past their best – will bloat and choke the stand up scene.” I believe Heritage means that we need investments in the more well-received new generation of comedy or alt-comedy, in order to keep this ‘diamond era’ progressing forward instead of becoming saturated and completely invested in the older comedy formats.

Another writer, Jason Zinoman of the New York Times, takes an open view of the comedy boom issues in their article “Comedy Is Booming. I Can’t Wait for the Bust.” that maybe a bust is exactly what the comedy industry needs right now stating “Much of comedy right now feels stagnant, dominated by the same handful of stars with a flood of talented young performers struggling to break out.” These stars are still competing with themselves just in a new comedy culture and these comedy podcasts and web interactions “increasingly feel like dutiful necessities for the young and careerist.”

Here is Zinoman’s argument that maybe a comedy bust is for the best… After the first comedy bust of the 90’s, there was a revival of more adventurous work that gave birth to a new alternative scene such as reinvented sketch comedy, new political humor, and improvisation skills that skyrocketed different comedians careers and contemporary stand up comedy which reinvented the industry. “The bust hurt the business, but it may have been better for the art of comedy than the boom.” For this era’s comedy bust, the first sightings of damage and repair have been in the female stand up comics world. One of our own Stand Up NY comedian’s, Laurie Kilmartin wrote The Times article on the “myriad obstacles that slow down the careers of female comics, then offered a prescription: ‘Putting more women on stage, on writing staffs and on camera is a great way to change comedy.’” Zinoman agrees that women need more spotlight time because it is “not only a smart long-term strategy for building a broader fan base but also good for the art form…” and predicts that “If there is the next boom, women will almost certainly play a larger role in it.”

At the end of the day, with a fairly optimistic viewpoint on the second comedy boom and bust… “if comedy is to grow, it needs to be inclusive and open to change.” If there is a boom and a bust occurring,  it’s a groundbreaking shift to push those who want to stay in the spotlight of the stand-up comedy realm to become influencers of the cultural and technological progress this shift has created.

What do you think?

Be part of this movement in stand up comedy and come support comedians at Stand Up NY any day of the week with shows every night! We are here for you and the greater stand up comedy world as it continues to grow into a new, more diverse industry. Join us for comedy classes and workshops, or try your own set at our Open Mic every weekday Monday – Friday at 5PM. Think you’ve already got a good set going? Sign-up for our Bring It New Talent Showcase every Saturday at 5PM. We hope to see you soon and for your continued support of stand up comedy!

2017 Highlights!

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With the close of the old year comes the beginning of the 2017 recaps, rankings, ratings, and awards. We’ve compiled a few outstanding mentions of great NYC comedians who hit the scene hard this past year and received due recognition for their dedication to comedy; oh, and they also frequent Stand Up NY regularly!




  • Mike Vecchione is also mentioned for making his Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon stand up comedy debut on May 24th.



  • Matteo Lane makes his Late Show with Stephen Colbert Debut on CBS on July 19th and hits our stage many times in 2017 to the pleasure of all. Matteo will also be starting the 2018 year here at Stand Up NY on Tuesday 1/16 and Sunday 1/28.





Congrats to all our amazing comedians for their hilarious work over the past year. We look forward to seeing what you bring to the stage in 2018! Here at Stand Up NY we know every comedian is their best every night, that’s why we offer shows each night of the week to let all these great comedians take the stage and show you how it’s done. Be sure to 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. Want to compete? Check out our Bring It show every Saturday at 5PM with more info on how to sign up here.

2017 Recap

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Stand Up NY had a stand-out year with special guest drop-ins, our regular comedian’s special TV appearances, and a lot of comedy greats hitting our stage to relive their past glories or test new material. So here’s the scoop from the past year, this is the very best of the best of 2017 at Stand Up NY:

  1. One special evening, Amy Schumer made a guest appearance and did a surprise 15 minute set for our audience on Sunday, December 10th during Sam Morril’s 1-hour comedy special at Stand Up NY.

  2. Kevin Hart dropping in to give our crowds a hearty laugh… all throughout the year!

One night, Comedian Aaron Berg even got Kevin Hart to shake on sharing a mill…

  1. Yamaneika’s Comedy Classes at Stand Up NY took off this November. Plus, she rips off her wig during an Avis story on stage! Our most memorable clip from 2017, take a look:

  1. Jerry Seinfeld stopped in earlier this year a couple times too, working on material for his Netflix special.

  2. Not to mention Tracy Morgan who has dropped in to surprise our early crowds twice this past week alone!

  1. On December 4th, 2017 we had a special evening partnering with the Arthritis Foundation for a show featuring Judy Gold!

  1. Even during his busy and hard work on his new Netflix special this year, that didn’t stop Judah Friedlander from dropping in on us a handful of times, even as recently as December 13th!

  2. Pamela Anderson stopped by to shoot a quick PSA at Stand Up NY on November 28th!

  3. Evander Holyfield stopped in for a podcast on November 16th, 2017 and shook hands with our co-owner Dani Zoldan!  

  4. The legendary George Wallace visited on April 28th and September 19th, 2017; and Ardie Fuqua, a SUNY regular comedian, grabbed a quick shot with him to commemorate the moment.

  5. Modi and Jackie Mason make an appearance on October 9th to the joy of the whole crowd.

Even more comedians…

  1. Jenny Zigrino from Comedy Central, MTV, Conan, and Bad Santa 2, dropped in on August 15th.

  2. Mark Normand has a very special Comedy Central Stand-Up Hour and regularly did podcasts and stand up comedy shows at SUNY this past year.

  3. Dave Attell, of the movie Trainwreck and the show Crashing, dropped in this year as well.

  4. Dan Soder, who is Mafee on the show Billions (Showtime) and has been on Inside Amy Schumer, takes to our stage many times in the past year to lighten up the crowds.

  5. Wyatt Cenac, a regular on People of Earth TV series and a voice actor for Archer and BoJack Horseman, stopped by to say hello earlier in the year.

  6. Pete Davidson, from NBC’s Saturday Night Live, popped in for a quick set this year too.

  7. Ronnie Cheng, a Daily Show Correspondent, also said hello to our crowd.

  8. Melissa Villasenor of NBC’s Saturday Night Live stopped by in September and December 2017!

  9. Ari Shaffir with a new Netflix comedy special “Double Negative” has popped through for many shows at SUNY this year!

  10. Dean Edwards of NBC’s Saturday Night Live stopped in more than a few times to placate our rowdy audiences.

  11. Alex Moffat from NBC’s Saturday Night Live stopped by on the night of July 20th, 2017 as well as a handful of additional times to the surprise of all our crowds.

  12. Ophira E from Comedy Central popped in on June 21st, 2017 to talk about Motherhood Stories.

  13. Jay Pharoah, of the show “White Famous” on Showtime, stopped through on September 12th, 2017 to say hi!

  14. Godfrey, an NYC comedian legend, stopped in a bunch this year, even as recently as last week!

  15. A lot of our comedians made also made special appearances on TV as well. Congrats to all! Here are a few:

    1. Matteo Lane – Late show with Stephen Colbert

    2. Paul Mercurio – Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    3. Yamaneika – Jimmy Fallon Tonight

    4. Dan Soder – Comedy Central

    5. Pat Brown – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    6. Liz Miele – Red Eye w. Tom Shillue

    7. Emma Willmann – Midnight with Chris Hardwick & The Guest List

    8. Calise Hawkins – Hood Adjacent with James Davis & The Guest List

    9. Mark Normand – Late Night with Conan

    10. Nathan Macintosh – Late Night with Conan

    11. Kerry Coddett – Comedy Knockout & MTV’s 2 Joking Off

    12. Greg Stone – America’s Got Talent

    13. Laurie Kilmartin – Late Night with Conan & Comedy Central

    14. Mike Drucker – The Tonight Show

    15. Ayanna Dookie – 50 Central & Laughs

    16. Roy Wood Jr. – Daily Show Correspondent

    17. Geno Bisconte – NFL Picks

    18. Sherrod Small – Fox 5, Page Six TV; Late Night with Conan

    19. Ashley Austin Morris – Time After Time pilot

    20. Goumba Johnny – Late Night with Johnny P.

    21. Michael Kosta – The Daily Show

    22. Joe List – Late Night with Conan

    23. Sarah Tollemache – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

As you can see, Stand Up NY is the place to be any and every night of the year! With shows daily and special guests dropping by frequently, make your reservation soon so you don’t miss anything!

Tickets and lineups here! Be sure to call us at (212) 595-0850 with any inquiries.

Here’s to another happy, safe, healthy, AND funny New Year! Cheers to 2018!