UP NEXT… Joe Machi. Through the Lens with Comedians of New York City

Joe Machi photo shoot photo copyright Phil Provencio

In Washington Square Park With Joe Machi

In mid-March, photographer Phil Provencio captured these images of comedian Joe Machi in Washington Square Park. We have loved Joe Machi ever since we first discovered the Sam and Joe Show at Carolines on Sunday Nights with his comedy partner Sam Morril. It was the Summer of Joe, with Machi getting a huge spotlight in the finals of 2014. Since then Machi’s been in high demand all over the country. Joe is one of the funniest and most original comics in New York.

Photographer Phil Provencio spent a March afternoon in Washington Square Park with Joe. He’s such a shy guy, he wouldn’t walk too close to the musicians in the park so he just enjoyed their playing while skulking around at a distance.

Joe Machi in Washington Square Park Copyright Phil Provencio

Machi looks on from a safe distance at musicians in Washington Square Park

Joe Machi Performed in Washington Square Park Last Summer

Joe himself has performed in Washington Square Park. “Last summer I told jokes here. They do a thing called Laughter in the Park. It’s supposed to bring people together through laughter.” But, he told us, “it does not.” He said they set up a microphone with a little karaoke machine speaker, and had the area roped off. There were great comics on the bill- one of them was Hari Kondabalu- but the set up wasn’t ideal. “Because when you’re in a park, people don’t laugh, he said. “It was tough to get people to listen at first cause anytime you’re doing comedy in a club its hard enough. Like sometimes at Carolines the lights are on too bright and that makes people self conscious about laughing. Imagine doing it in a park where its daylight and no one’s drinking alcohol. And people didn’t know there was going to be a comedy show.”

He added, “The set was okay but some people tried to film it, and I’m like you can’t film me. There was a couple hundred people in a big semi circle, and there was a pigeon guy feeding the pigeons. And I’m like you don’t need to feed the pigeons, they’re doing fine.”

Joe Machi photo copyright Phil Provencio

Joe Machi’s Craziest New York Story

“I was leaving the comic strip, I did the late show and it was probably like 3 in the morning, and I was on Lexington Avenue driving in front of Grand Central Station, the light turned red and I guess a High School dance, or dances had let out, and there were all these dressed up high school kids running down Lexington Avenue punching random people and each other. And like fights were breaking out, and it was crazy and it was around my car and then the light changed and I just drove off.

It’s not even a big deal when tons of high school kids fight in the street in Manhattan. That’s just normal.”

Joe Machi washington square park copyright phil provencio

Joe Machi is Supportive of Sam Morril

Phil also asked Joe if he had any stories to share about his better (or worse?, depending on which one of the two you ask) half, Sam Morril, who just put out a new album this year. “Yeah,” he said. “I purchased Sam’s album on Amazon and then I bought a toilet. So it says people who bought Sam’s album also may be interested in this toilet.”

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeMachi.


machi montage 2

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Phil Provencio is a fast rising New York based photographer and graphic designer highlighting the comedy scene in the city and abroad. His galleries can be seen at the Comedy Cellar’s Village Underground in Greenwich Village and Carolines On Broadway in Times Square. When not out shooting headshots or shows, you can find him exploring the city for photos he contributes regularly to Urban Outfitters and their print shops.


  1. BadNewsJeff

    April 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Joe is by far the tallest baby I’ve ever seen.

  2. acidkingbussewoods

    April 14, 2016 at 10:31 am

    These pictures are so bad you’d think Earl took them.

  3. shortbusdriver

    April 14, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    He is Bobby Moynihan’s younger brother?

  4. JaneShields

    April 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I served as the Treasurer for NYLaughs for…7 years. And I
    would like to respond to the comments made in this article about the
    First off…we get it. Performing in the park isn’t a great
    fit for all comedians. We have had comics refused to even try. Some come out
    and try one of our shows and just hate it. And that’s understandable—daylight in
    a park, with a jazz trio and a bunch of kids playing hopscotch is very
    different from performing in a dark club at night.
    Some comics really love doing our shows, though. We’ve had
    comics bring their kids to see them perform. We even had a comic perform with
    his baby strapped onto him. Our audience includes a whole set of people who don’t
    go to comedy clubs. We have people in recovery who aren’t comfortable in venues
    where there is a lot of drinking. We have old people who don’t like to go out
    at night. We have people who can’t afford cover charges and drink minimums.
    And…although Joe didn’t feel great about his set…our
    audience loved him. He was a total pro. He was hilarious. We were happy with
    his performance then, and are proud to have had an opportunity to feature him
    in one of our shows. He’s enjoying success now, and he deserves it. We wish him
    nothing but the best.
    Our shows really do bring people together. Not all people.
    But we would hope that people who don’t love our shows (or comics who don’t
    love performing in them) can understand that we’re trying to do something
    positive and graciously wish us the best. It honestly really hurt to hear Joe
    mock our mission statement.
    We’re a TINY nonprofit. We have almost no budget at all. We
    scrape by on grants and donations.  All
    the administration is entirely done by volunteers. Sometimes our equipment is
    not ideal (we have upgraded from the so-called “karaoke” speaker thanks to a
    generous donation from Roland USA).
    But, the very first thing we did when we had any budget at
    all was to start paying comedians. So I would hope that in a world where the
    performers often are NOT paid for their work, comics would appreciate an
    organization that actually makes paying talent a priority.
    Paying talent is the single largest expense in our budget.
    We love comedians. We love comedy. And while we realize it isn’t realistic to
    expect that every comic will walk away from our shows having loved the
    experience, we do hope that once they become successful, they can respect what
    we’re doing enough to not to try and get a cheap laugh by mocking a powerless
    little group that is working hard to make the world a happier place.