Not The Best Open Mic Nights In NYC

Time Out New York magazine came out with this list of all “the best open mic nights in New York City,” and, as many open mic comedians such as myself have noted, the list is not accurate. At all. Maybe it’s a marketing thing, but it’s mostly just a list of the biggest clubs in the city. Which, very obviously to comedians, are often some of the worst open mics in the city. The very first one listed, the Comedy Cellar, doesn’t even have open mics!

If you’re looking for good open mics check out badslava.com or freemicsnyc.com. There are tons of great open mics where a bunch of better comics come to try out their stuff…and it’s usually the basement of some bar in Brooklyn, not all the best clubs in Manhattan. Maybe I’ll make a list of my favorite mics one day!

A couple of comics who host great mics made this video calling out Time Out NY for what they’ve done. Funny stuff.

Nick Vatterott’s Letter to UCB

Nick Vatterott is a big name in comedy. He’s a working comic who has been around New York City for a while now, working some of its best clubs. I think the consensus is that he hasn’t had his “breakout” moment yet on TV, but he has a huge cult following because he’s awesome. (see more of him on his website)

Yesterday, in frustration with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, he typed out this long Facebook post, which has accumulated upwards of 800 likes and 80 shares in 17 hours. His frustrations with the theater have garnered a lot of support from the stand up community. Everybody seems to be sharing or posting about it today!

If you want the tl;dr on this, Vatterott is upset with how UCB treats stand up comics compared to improvisers. On top of that, he implies that UCB doesn’t even treat improvisers very well – they’re being taken advantage of too. UCB doesn’t pay performers for paid shows and they seem to have done some mean things to Vatterott and other stand ups. To add some context, UCB is essentially THE place for improv and sketch in New York and they’ve expanded to four locations: two in NYC and two in LA. Essentially, if you want to do improv, you kind of have to go through them. But they have comedy shows with all different acts, including stand up. And Vatterott feels like they treat stand ups as outsiders because of that.

I can’t speak to any of this from experience (not being a paid comic) but Vatterott’s words seem to be resonating with other comedians. I was just at UCB in Chelsea earlier this week to see Whiplash, which is one of the best free shows in the city. UCB makes that sort of thing possible, which is great. But, at least from Vatterott’s frustrated comments, it seems like they might not always go about things the right way.

Continue reading “Nick Vatterott’s Letter to UCB”

Brooklyn’s Newest Open Mike

This is a humor piece written by NYC Comedian Lucas Gardner and published in the New York Times. It’s a funny thing I like that pokes fun at the hoops you have to jump through to get stage time as an open mic comic in New York. Garner has written a lot of funny stuff. If you like this, check out his personal site.

How To Look Like A Serial Killer

My room used to be all white with totally white walls, all white furniture, and white bed sheets. And I just recently realized that that is not normal.

So I called up my friend on the phone who is a photographer and I said, “Hey, why don’t you send me a picture so that I can put it up on my wall.”

So he sends me the picture, and I open it up and see that what he sent me is this giant print of…what looks like an empty, white room.

The only thing creepier than having a totally white room with all white walls and white furniture is having a totally white room with all white walls and white furniture, where the only thing on the wall is a picture of an empty white room.

Trying to seem less serial-killer-y, I decided to pin up my comedy notecards on the wall, too. Not that weird, right? After organizing them, I realized that all of the notecards are white as well. And they have the names of all my jokes on them. And the more you look, the weirder they sound, especially because you’d have no way of knowing why I wrote the phrases on these notecards without asking me.

“Make someone care about you?”

“Shower Ritual”

“Bill Cosby Cover”

“I think State Farm is there”

Normal people do not write these things on their wall.

I also acquired a new mattress. Not knowing what to do with my old one, I shoved it against the inner wall of my closet, thinking “Oh wow, I bet this would totally sound-proof the closet.”

Stop! Stop being a serial killer! How does being boring make me so creepy?! An all white room, one artsy photo, joke notecards, and a mattress are just boring things!

Maybe I should just embrace my inner serial killer and buy some tarps and an axe in preparation for my American Psycho-esque meltdown. The only problem is that I have no idea where they would sell axes in New York City.

You know, it really doesn’t make sense how having a really white room makes you seem crazy. It would just be way harder to clean when you do axe-murder someone. Just saying.

 

Sometimes when I don’t want to use a silly photo I found on the interwebs, I use my own pictures of NYC venues as a feature image. Greenwich Village Comedy club is in the heart of the West Village on Macdougal Street, just down the street from the Comedy Cellar. It’s where I’ve had my worst set: a grueling five minutes of complete silence. So it holds a special place in my heart. 

A Conversation Between Two Clean Comics

Brian Regan recently performed the first ever live Comedy Central special at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. It was a huge deal in the comedy community and most of my friends were either watching together online or actually there in person.

One of the reasons Regan was one of the only people who could be considered to do such an unprecedented show was because he is known so well as a clean comic.

Jim Gaffigan is one of the best known clean comics who actually resents being labeled as one. That’s just one of the things these two comics talk about in this Comics Talk to Comics piece in Vulture. It actually came out just before Regan’s special, so you’ll benefit from the extra excitement.