“Hey, do you guys like comedy?”
If you’ve ever walked through (or near) Times Square in the evening, you’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase. Every night, countless young adults aspiring to be the next big thing in comedy come out in droves trying to sucker tourists into coming to a comedy club. Every time I see a group wandering from shop to shop get suckered into talking to one of these poor souls, my heart aches for them. I want to walk up and shake them free of the poor comedian who will get an extra thirty seconds of stage time if he manages to sell them tickets. But my personal experience has always been limited; I have never in fact been to one of the comedy tourist traps that grace our fair city.
Last night changed this; last night, the shape of the NYC comedy scene finally became perfectly clear in my eyes. Take the post that follows as a warning, as a guide, and maybe even as light entertainment. And please, do not take it as an indictment against particular clubs, or acts, or even the poor folks who hawk tickets on Times Square; this is more a rant against what mainstream comedy apparently entails these days.