12/27/16 9:59am

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer tell us theirs. The comedians and real-life lovers perform at the UCB Theater and recently released the 146th episode of their podcast, Ménage à Trois Radio. In each, they chat about real and hypothetical sexcapades and sex-themed news with a special guest—download the Ilana Glazer or Amanda Duarte episodes for a raunchy intro.

Just for the record, the title of this photo is "NYE_MDMA2." Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Jut a little foreshadowing: The title of this photo is “NYE_MDMA2.” Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Brooklyn Based: What your best New Year’s Eve out in New York City, and was it together or separate?
Diana: Ours was together and it was a big night out. Probably five years ago or four.
Murph: It might have been maybe our first New Year’s together.
Diana: 2012, I think.
Murph: Some of the people from the comedy community, they throw a New Year’s Eve party every year and this one was in Midtown.
Diana: It was in Midtown at some horrible bar. I forget what it’s called. I want to say The Top Hat.
Murph: Or The Lame Horse.
Diana: It’s like The Old Beer, it’s something terrible.
Murph: It’s one of those lovely spots right by Madison Square Garden in Midtown, which is actually right where you want to be when the ball drops. [Ed. Note: No, he did not really mean this.]
Diana: My improv team at the time, Tesla, was throwing the party so we had to get there early and help out. But before we went, Murph decided to get a perm. (more…)

08/18/16 11:00am
Trish Nelson is BanterGirl. Photo: Trish Nelson

Trish Nelson is BanterGirl. Photo: Mindy Tucker

For Trish Nelson, stand-up comedian, actor, and producer, a serious career epiphany came covered in mashed potatoes.

She had been ensconced in the New York comedy scene for five years, doing stand-up, producing live shows at Joe’s Pub (including Women of Letters), 2A, and the Ace Hotel, and working in the restaurant industry to pay the bills. One sweltering summer night three years ago, the restaurant she managed was selling food at an event on the Williamsburg waterfront and Nelson found herself, she says, “serving chicken in waffle cones, covered in mashed potatoes and truth be told not pleased, looking at my life thinking, Is this it? Is this the choice that I’ve made?”

One of her customers however, turned out to be an AEG Live executive, and the chance meeting transformed a moment of despair into an opportunity, leading Nelson to an internship, a new position, a crash course in producing live events (including Amy Schumer’s and the Broad City’s national tours), and eventually, to BanterGirl. (more…)

02/04/16 10:54am
Photo: Mindy Tucker

Lane Moore can make anything, even Tinder, hilarious. Photo: Mindy Tucker

“Welcome to Tinder Live, where sadness comes to fuck.” That was my introduction to comedian, writer and musician Lane Moore and her blisteringly hilarious show, Tinder Live. It may also be the truest sentiment ever spoken about the addictive, slightly destructive and utterly inescapable dating app.

“Maybe this awful Tinder guy is just really bad online and we’ll have a great story about how I initially hated him but then it worked out!’”

Moore, who describes her comedy as, “Janeane Garofalo meets Mr. Show meets Mystery Science Theater meets a little kid who is really excited and also sad,” commanded the stage at The Bell House during January’s show as she ran through her pics of the week–profiles accompanied by the blurriest shots, the most tiger-filled compositions and photos featuring  groups of eight guys where it’s unclear who you’re swiping for, or whether it’s a profile at all, or maybe just an efficient invitation to an orgy. (more…)

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05/05/15 9:00am
Photo by Mindy Tucker

Comedian Sue Smith. Photo: Mindy Tucker

It’s hard to admit, but I first discovered Sue Smith via a listicle. Go to Smith’s Twitter page and it reads: “One of the 10 Funniest Women in New York, according to Time Out New York. My mom disagrees.” While listicles often say little and mean less (sorry, Buzzfeed, I respectfully disagree with your “Cat Vacuuming” rankings), I was glad it pointed me her way. Smith’s debut EP, Slutty Pretzel, which is out today, (sample here) is a reflective and hilarious take on some of the most pressing political issues of our time: eating at 7-Eleven, watching House Hunters, “handsome washing machines.”

It’s her Brooklyn-based material that made my Australian grandma laugh in the car (my grandma has excellent taste, so be cool, reader). And while some of Smith’s content centers around commonly disparaged “women’s issues” (you may have seen her running around McCarren park with a diva cup), she’s refreshingly unapologetic about it. Listening to the album, and watching her perform, you get the sense that she actually cares about the material she writes. It’s rarer than you think. Not too long ago, I went to a comedy show where some guy presented a 10-minute set called ‘The Encyclopedia of My Farts” (Surprise! It was not good).

You can catch Smith every Tuesday night at Amazingtown,  every month heckling House Hunters, or hosting her podcast “Tits and Giggles,” featuring exclusively female comedians. You can also order her E.P. right here, and then on Thursday, May 7, join her and fellow comedians Sara Benincasa, Eliot Glazer, and others to celebrate its release at Over the Eight at 8pm.

I recently spoke with the performer and comedian about the world of HGTV. (more…)

02/19/15 9:55am

FunnyStoryLive

Welcome back to Funny Story Live, our sort-of-monthly podcast produced from our monthly storytelling series at Brooklyn Brewery with Tom Shillue. The stories on this podcast were all taken from the first performance of 2015, back in January, and I have tell you, it was such a good show that there are a couple we couldn’t fit into this episode. They’ll pop up on another episode sometime. This one features a story by Tom about the great Blizzard of ’78, which seemed too appropriate for our current weather situation to not include (you can also read a version of it here, on HuffPo). Cartoonist and performer Charlie Hankin gives us a cheat sheet for what it’s like to be on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And writer Peter Pavia spells out all the ways in which used car salesmen make terrible role models.

Funny Story is on for tonight, Brooklyn Brewery, 8:30pm, and it’s well worth braving the chill. Eliza Hecht, whose Modern Love column you may have seen in The New York Times recently;  Stewie Stone, Catskills comedy legend; and Mark Giordano of The PIT Theater and solo show Mad Man will all be sharing tales. Tickets are $10, including a beer. 

02/05/15 11:20am

podcastsNow that the first season of Serial is over and done with (though who knows if another shoe is going to drop with that story), you may be casting about for something new to listen to on the train, while you’re cleaning or on a car trip. We of course love our Funny Story podcast (which we’ve taken to calling The Sloppy Moth with so much gusto that we may change the name), but sadly, we only produce it on a monthly basis. Here are five other shows that come out a lot more often and have extensive archives, for your listening pleasure.

The talk of shameThe Talk of Shame
For someone who spends most of their time alone, I still end up embarrassing myself with shocking frequency. So listening to others recount their own mishaps, missteps and blush-inducing misdemeanors is a welcome break from reliving my own. Comedian and writer Streeter Seidell’s podcast The Talk of Shame sits Seidell down with one of his friends so they can tell him (and us) an embarrassing story about themselves for our entertainment. Past guest stories have involved expensive hook-ups, falling through chairs, fainting in front of Hilary Clinton and refusing to acknowledge who actually set off the really loud alarm in the building. Seidell starts the podcast off with a story about himself, and ends it with a British person reading a listener’s embarrassing story. So that’s three people acknowledging their failures in less than 30 minutes. If that doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will. Listeners be warned: if you’re the type of person who hates hearing stories get interrupted by talkative comedians, then this isn’t for you. –Sonia Weiser (more…)

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02/03/15 9:58am
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The Annoyance Theatre teaches classes and hosts weekend shows. Photo: The Annoyance Theatre

When you think about improv classes the first thing that comes to mind might be nothing at all because the prospect of taking one fills you with such deep and abiding terror that your brain goes completely blank. Or, you might dismiss them out of hand as professional development for your pals who fancy themselves the next Tina and Amy or Abbi and Ilana, but off limits for the rest of us.

Not so.

“Improv is a tool,” says Philip Markle, New York executive director of The Annoyance Theatre in Williamsburg. “It’s not an end game. It’s not a wrong or a right. Our goal at The Annoyance is to make you the most powerful fearless version of yourself onstage.”  That power doesn’t exist for just comedians or actors. It’s for everyone in every business, in every industry, with every type of personality. Whether it’s a way to beat shyness, an alternative to another night at the bar, or even as a form of therapy, these classes evoke more than just laughs.

(more…)

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01/15/15 1:31pm

Every month we co-produce a storytelling show at Brooklyn Brewery with comic and storyteller, Tom Shillue. If you’re into the storytelling scene, then you know that most shows have some sort of rules–no notes, strict time limits and themes. Our only rule is that the stories have to be funny in some way. As Tom said at last month’s show, “We’re like the sloppy Moth.” (more…)

12/17/14 2:22pm

Here’s your best holiday gift so far–Funny Story is Thursday night at Brooklyn Brewery. This month we have a writer for Letterman, a badly behaved girl and an editor of Out Magazine telling hilarious true stories, and as always, our beloved host, Tom Shillue. We never set a theme, but a holiday menagerie of stories may well occur this time around. If you want more Shillue steeze, check him out in Jimmy Fallon’s barbershop quartet in the video above (Tom’s the one to the left of Steve Carell, no, not Jimmy Fallon, your other left). While we can’t promise he’ll break into song on Thursday, he did perform a barbershop snippet back in October, which you can listen to on Funny Story Live, episode two. Tickets are $10, and that includes a beer. Good times guaranteed.

11/13/14 12:06pm

Last month we introduced our first-ever podcast, a live version of Funny Story, the storytelling show we co-produce with comedian Tom Shillue and Brooklyn Brewery each month. We’re back with a new one, and while we never set a theme for Funny Story–all our guests are free to tell any story they like–sometimes one organically emerges. This time around most of our storytellers looked back a few decades and told stories starring their younger, more naive selves, with a particular focus on the horrifying experience of middle school. (more…)

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