See The Comedy Stars Live
Anyone who has spent some time in New York City these past few years knows that Long Island City has garnered quite a reputation as a haven for artists. Its growing community of studios and galleries are making an impact citywide. What might come as a surprise, though, is that LIC has also become home to some of the city’s best and most diverse comedy shows. Of course, you won’t hear the names of any LIC venues from the pushy ticket vendors in Times Square, but our neighborhood is attracting the same top-caliber performers as any Manhattan comedy club. Steve Hofstetter, comedian and owner of LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club, says that the area “is becoming the new hotbed for comedy in NYC… the scene is growing amazingly fast.”
If there were a single moment when LIC came into its own as a comedy spot, it would have to be when Jerry Seinfeld made a surprise visit to The Creek & The Cave in late August. Seinfeld introduced Colin Quinn, a Saturday Night Live star who was performing as part of his residency at the popular LIC performance space and Mexican restaurant.
While Seinfeld’s appearance was certainly a landmark, it was not without precedent. Renowned comedians have found the atmosphere and variety that LIC offers refreshing; as Hofstetter says, “We have the hip alternative versions of the mainstream clubs.” And the quality performers have taken notice. Laughing Devil, which only opened last December, had Adam Ferrara from Rescue Me and The King of Queens headline a show over the summer. It was his only full set during that trip to NYC.
While LIC is attracting the big names and hosting the types of shows that are so popular at the well-known Manhattan venues, the neighborhood’s variety gives it a touch you can’t find elsewhere. According to Hofstetter, “there are so many different things to see here… fans can walk around and find any kind of show.”
For example, improv group Face Off Unlimited hosts a competition called Improvius Maximus at The Secret Theatre on Friday nights. Teams compete to get the most laughs from the audience.
Laughing Devil has also created the Development Stage at nearby BreadBox Café. The stage often hosts open mics and offers less recognized comedians the chance to perform. Pros also stop by to rehearse their acts.
The Chocolate Factory, known primarily as a dance, music and theater space, is also a great venue for sketch comedy from time to time.
With all of these exciting spots, and comics and audiences that seem intent on supporting and promoting them, it is easy to agree with Hofstetter when he says, “It can’t help but grow… the more LIC becomes a destination, the more people will talk to their friends when they see great shows here.” In fact, word of mouth was what brought Adam Ferrara to perform at Laughing Devil. His manager, who had attended a couple of shows, held the venue in high regard and recommended that Ferrara try it out for a gig.
The support for local business that we pride ourselves on in the neighborhood has played a significant role as well. “We could not have expected the community support we got,” Hofstetter says. Those who haven’t done so already should check out a local comedy show. After all, if you’re still missing out on this scene, the joke’s on you.
SHOWS TO CHECK OUT IN NOVEMBER
~The New York Comedy Festival Presents Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn. 11/7 @ 8 PM. $25~
Colin Quinn from Saturday Night Live will be hosting a roundtable discussion with four other comedians. They will talk about social, political and pop culture issues.
~Gary Gulman at the Laughing Devil. 11/17 @ 8 PM & 10:30 PM. $20~
A well-known comedian who has been on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and HBO’s “Tourgasm with Dane Cook” is performing for a full hour, which he rarely does in NYC.
Laughing Devil Comedy Club
47-38 Vernon Blvd, LIC
The Creek & The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave, LIC
Development Stage at BreadBox Café
47-11 11th St, LIC
The Secret Theatre
44-02 23rd St, LIC
The Chocolate Factory
5-49 49th Ave, LIC