This post may make me look like a moron, but hey, … so be it! (LOL)
A couple of weeks back at the request of Nick Kroll I went out to LA to shoot some “Oh, Hello” sketches with Nick and his partner John Mulaney from SNL for Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central, tentatively titled “The Nick Show Kroll.” The reason I say tentatively is cause that could change, according to Nick!
On the set, in my trailer was a copy of the script and where it listed the writers it said “Jessi Klein.” I had not seen Jessi Klein for probably several years since I was pitching a comedy news project up at Comedy Central,which was before I launched GNN (Gurian News Network), your source for “All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!” GNN was based on stories I used to write for the legendary Weekly World News.
I had my own column called ” Gurian’s World of the Bizarre” which featured hard to find stories missed by mainstream media, like “Rare Virus Sweeps Japan-Victims Too Weak To Bow”, and “Man Impaled On Spike Still Shows Up For Work On Time!” I also remember Jessi from the old Chicago City Limits theatre on 61st Street and 1st avenue, where I debuted my award-winning short film “I Am Woody” about a violent mob boss, ( is there any other kind?) who was obsessed with Woody Allen. I recall her being there when I did the Q&A.
But I hadn’t seen her for quite a while which I guess is because maybe she moved to LA and when you live in New York, and someone else lives across the country, you tend not to run into them. Except for Helen Hong. She moved to LA and I run into her wherever I go. As a matter of fact, I ran into her in my living room this morning! (LOL)
Jessi wasn’t on the Nick Kroll set. The only writer there was Joe Mande who’s also a stand-up, and who was actually voted “Best Comedian” by Time Out New York.
So anyway, when I got a FB invite to “The Yacht Party” from The Party Machine, out in Brooklyn at Union Hall, I saw three names inviting me, Jessi Klein, Arden Myrin, and Lisa Delarios.
Now I go to tons of events and parties, so I thought this was going to be a comedy party of some kind, which I admit did hit me as being a little bit strange, since most young comics I know are too busy performing to have parties,and they certainly don’t have yachts!
But I had heard from a comic named Tyler Fischer, who performs on my latenight show at The Comic Strip, that Union Hall was a good scene in Brooklyn for comedy, so I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to check it out! Here comes the part where I think I’m about to embarrass myself! (LOL)
I called my assistant Corinne Fisher, who is also a comic and sketch performer with her partner Krystina Hutchinson, (her COMEDY partner! LOL), and asked her if she wanted to come check out this comedy party with me in Brooklyn. I NEVER go to Brooklyn, and I don’t say that as a badge of honor or anything, it’s just the truth. It’s a long drive when there are so many comedy shows right here in Manhattan, but I figured, “What the heck, I’ll give it a shot!”
Corinne mentioned to her boyfriend Frank Hejl from the award-winning sketch group Onassis that we were going to this “Yacht Party” out in Brooklyn, but by the time he checked it out and told her it was a show and not a party, we were already there!
On the way, we hit a ton of traffic, but because I still thought it was a party, and that the party started at 7:30, I wasn’t stressing. Who wants to be the first one at a party? I figured we’d make an “entrance” about 8:15 and we’d still be cool. What kind of party is over in 45 minutes, right? It should just be getting good by that time.
When we walked in to Union Hall around 8:10, I saw lots of people playing what looked to be bocce, I think, but no party. I was so glad to finally get there that I didn’t even really hit me that people were playing bocce. I asked some guy who worked there if there was a comedy party going on, and I don’t think he really heard me over all the noise, but he directed me to the back and downstairs.
I had just seen Arden Myrin last week, performing in a Comedy Juice show at Gotham, but didn’t have a chance to say “Hi” cause I had to run and host a show at The Comic Strip. So I thought I’d look for her at the party, and tell her I liked the show.
And Lisa Delarios is one of my FB friends, so I thought I should show up and support! I thought maybe it was a comedy fundraiser or something.
I love her last name cause it’s like a combination of “hilarious” and “delirious” both of which are good states to attain! (LOL) But when I saw her, I didn’t recognize her the way she was dressed and told her that Lisa Delarios invited me, to which she said, “That’s ME!” Moron feeling #1.
So anyway, as you may have guessed by now,the party turned out to be a show, and by coming late, we missed at least the first half, if not more. The room was packed, and Corinne and I squeezed into a space along the wall in time to see Arden Myrin and Lisa Delarios dressed in “yachting attire” and looking very retro, introduce a comic named Ben Krongold to perform.
That’s when I realized I was not only NOT at a party, but I was at a very different kind of show. Kind of a “hipster” comedy show if there is such a thing, and I’m sure there is! Ben came out looking like a cross between maybe like a young Marc Maron, and a man who lives alone in the woods, and could possibly be a serial killer! As a matter of fact there is a You Tube video I came across starring Ben and Jena Friedman, in which Ben is actually playing a killer!
He was sporting a thick beard, (not as thick as Jason Mantzoukas who I also ran into on the Nick Kroll set, and tried to get him interested in my new invention, the battery-operated beard), and not as big as the one worn by Zach Galifianakis, (who I think is friends with all these people), but Ben still had a hearty growth of foliage, enough for a small bird to build a nest in.
Ben’s delivery was very unusual, and he thumbed through a small notebook to present the audience with facts, mostly involving “poop”, and then asked the audience questions, which ended in ” Why is that?’ a bit which which the audience loved. I particularly liked when he said, “I don’t like to call my step-dad my step-dad. I like to call him my “faux-pa”, which I thought was so clever cause I like that kind of silliness. Ben’s act made me think that traditional stand-up comedy, like we do at The Comic Strip, might not work in this part of Brooklyn.
It might seem too contrived to come out on stage as if you knew what you were going to say, and had your material at your fingertips. That didn’t allow for as much awkwardness as this audience seemed to demand. It was really very interesting. And I’m so glad I got to go.
I also really loved Sasheer Zamata, who I had never seen before but who had great stage presence, great characters, and something very special. Plus Adira Amram and The Experience, which were her back-up dancers Jessi and Maresa. Adira has a great voice and the music was bangin’ as were her two back-up hip-hop dancers, in their fun costumes. If you have some free time later, try saying Arden Myrin and Adira Amram ten times fast!
I heard I missed Bobby Tisdale, and some other funny comics, but I did get to meet producer Emily Kindler, who is related to my old pal Andy Kindler. I’m anxious to see more of her work!
One of the most unusual aspects of the evening was the large amount of infants that attended the show. They all sat together which was fascinating to me. And when I went over at the end to ask one of them how they liked the show, it made a face at me. At first I thought the infant looked familiar to me, but then I realized you never see an infant that looks familiar to you!
I would definitely come out to Brooklyn to see them all again, but next time I’ll get there on time as one should do for a show, and not a party! (LOL)
P.S. Jessi Klein by the way, was not there! (LOL)