Last week SiriusXM’s Bennington Show held their annual Thanksgiving Dinner Comedy Show at the Hard Rock Cafe and unveiled a brand new live comedy show, Comedy 101: Tell a Joke or Be a Joke which was co-produced by us!
The new hour show killed in front of packed out, standing room only crowd at The Hard Rock in Times Square. Comedy 101 puts open mic comedy acts together with four mentors, all New York crowd work giants. It was Open Mic meets the Roast and nobody was safe.
For the series debut, six brand new hopeful open mic comics took to the stage for the first time ever in front of a huge audience while New York club heavyweights Luis J. Gomez, Dan Soder, Joe “the sniper” List and the legendary Rich Vos sat in judgement, with a bell, ready to interrupt the newcomers and give “advice.” It was a no holds barred night with some brutal advice and everyone had a blast.
Jerry Lalee was the first to brave the panel attempting to tell a story about shitting himself at the beach, and was interrupted right out of the gate by the Puerto Rican rattlesnake Luis J. Gomez with some advice on how to start a set. Rich Vos jumped in seconds later with some even better advice, “never take advice from a Puerto Rican.” Soder suggested Lalee lose his school shooter laugh, Joe List rang in with “keep the school shooter look though,” and everyone learned that Rich Vos doesn’t know how to pronounce the word “bidet.”
Open mic comic and improv artist Grant Lindahl went up second and was immediately told he looked like a Victorian couch, but managed to get a few jokes out in between some brilliant shots from the panel. Long Island mic’er Rachel Joan disappointed everyone by being actually funny, she was the first to get a shot in back at the judges, and she got offered a ride home by Rich Vos. South Korean born comedian Brian Kim learned he had a super power, the panel shredded Freddie G before he even got his first sentence out, but got his revenge right before heading off stage……and then there was Phil. Words can’t describe the magic that took place when odd open mic’er Phil took the stage. You’ll have to listen to the show to soak it all in for yourself.
We talked to the open mic comics after the show who all said the experience was nothing short of amazing. Brian Kim told us that going head to head with some of the best comics in the scene right now was exciting. “They’re expert roasters,” he said, “So to be able to go up on stage, not only in front of two hundred audience members but to be in front of the comics and Ron Bennington- it was a great opportunity.” Kim performs at bar shows and open mics around New York as well as the Creek and the Cave and the Prickly Pear said he would absolutely recommend the experience to any young comic. “I’ve seen established comics roasting each other but this gave new guys an opportunity. That hasn’t been done before.”
Jerry Lalee said he was “super nervous” but loved the experience. “It was surreal” he said, to be roasted by the guys he listens to on podcasts and on the radio, and said had so many people approach him from the audience after the show. “It was crazy! Crazy!”
The comics were all nervous ahead of time but excited, and not worried about being the butt of jokes. Rachel Joan runs an open mic and works at The Metropolitan Room which hosts a lot of comedy shows. She said “they told me I was gonna get shit on, and I said thats fantastic!” She wasn’t familiar with most of the panel, and called herself “a weirdo who doesn’t know anyone,” but was “thrilled” with the way the night went and is planning to put it on her resume.
We talked with Grant Lindahl whose story about being called “Vagina Boy” as a kid will not soon be forgotten by anyone in the room. He said it was so cool performing for the pros. “They were so fast!” he said, “I can’t wait to hear the recording.” After the show, it got even better. “We had so many audience members come up to us and shake our hands and stuff after the show,” he said. “I was blown away. It was such a great response from the audience.” He also loved hearing the judges comments. “The back and forth was great. It was like when you’re hanging out with your comedian friends. I think the audience got to see what it was like when you go up on stage and after you just kind of mess with each other, that’s what you do.” And all of the open mic guys loved seeing their friends perform in front of what they called a ‘real’ audience. There was one more special guest performer, Bennington show producer Joe Engelbrekt who crashed and burned on stage in the best way possible.
Special thanks to all the comics who came out. The performers were amazing fun, not to mention great sports, and the panel was better than we had even hoped. Soder absolutely killed. Joe List had the sniper lines of the night that left the crowd chanting Joe! Joe! Joe! all night long, Gomez proved that he is going to be a giant in comedy, and Rich Vos showed everyone why he is the godfather of New York crowd work.
Comedy 101: Tell a Joke or Be a Joke followed an hour of The Bennington Show Family Thanksgiving featuring the brilliant Ron Bennington, with everyone’s favorite co-host Gail Bennington and EP Chris Stanley who treated their fans to an amazing show along with a full Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of The Hard Rock Cafe.
The show will air as the second hour of the Bennington Family Thanksgiving Special on Thanksgiving day at noon on SiriusXM channel 99, and will re-air on Friday November 27th at noon.