On Wednesday I performed at the New York Comedy Club.
A layperson could be forgiven for thinking that a New York City comedy club called the New York Comedy Club would be a prestigious venue. One might reasonably assume that this would be the premier comedy club in Manhattan, the only one worthy of bearing the name of the greatest stand-up comedy city in the world.
But it only takes a few seconds inside to realize it should be called Uncle Dick’s Comedy Brothel. It resembles a rejected set for the next Saw movie. The brick façade behind the microphone is the fakest looking I’ve ever seen.
The comedy legends chosen to be immortalized on the walls of the New York Comedy Club are an interesting selection. The front wall features portraits of a young Andrew Dice Clay and Rodney Dangerfield, striking his familiar pose. Not that weird really, until you put them together with the paintings in back: a giant Ace Ventura (from the cover of When Nature Calls no less!) and Eddie Murphy, not in his prime Eddie Murphy Raw jumpsuit, but as Dr. Doolittle, the veterinarian who could talk to animals. Put this all together: Dr. Doolittle, Ace Ventura, the Dice Man and Dangerfield, and you get such an odd mix that I am convinced I’m missing some hilarious connection between the four.
But despite all this, I really like performing here. The ramshackle, loose atmosphere usually translates to the crowd, and the club’s many oddities provide perfect fodder for new comics.
Two of my biggest fans, Risa D and Kelsey M, met me at the show and without complaining, shelled out over 60 dollars in one night to see me perform. In my modest estimation, that translates to about 12 dollars per joke. Not a cheap night out. I’m not sure how much longer I can in good conscience keep asking my friends to drop that kind of change to see me do the same 7-minute routine. I feel myself inexorably marching towards barking for fans in Times Square...
But Risa D and Kelsey M were, as all my friends have been, real troopers. They even managed to make the woman sitting next to them stay a little longer to catch my set. The host of the show was the daughter of legendary comic Jackie Mason, who you might all know as the voice of Hyman Krustofski, Krusty the Klown’s father on several episodes of The Simpsons (Thanks, Wikipedia!) The host came up to me before my set and asked if I have any credits. This is fancy comedian lingo meaning things I would like the host to wow the crowd with before calling me on stage: “This next guy can be seen on MTV..." When I told her I didn’t have any credits, she said she would make them up. She then introduced me as the winner of a Comedy Central Stand-up Contest. Clearly not true, but it’s going on my resume from now on.
My set went pretty well. The Derek Jeter joke continues to kill, while my blood-donating joke, which was crushing when I first started to use it, has bombed on consecutive shows. Halfway through my set, I yelled at two women carrying on a full conversation. Dealing with hecklers is so easy; just calling them out usually gets a laugh. The women were embarrassed and afterward one of them came to the back to give me a hug.
The waitress gave the patrons blue tickets, signaling they’ve closed out their tab. This is a way to keep people from sneaking out without paying, and Risa D quickly pocketed the two tickets, proclaiming that next time she would not be paying. On the walk to the subway, a giant red balloon whirled across the street and right into our arms. Kelsey M played with it delightfully before smacking it high into the frigid Manhattan air and onto 23rd street, probably causing a car accident.