Grammy Award-winning comedy producer Dan Schlissel runs Stand Up! Records based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With a growing catalog and more than 180 releases, they have a 17-year history as an incubator for the comedy stars of tomorrow. Combining comedy and great art, curating a Roku Stand Up! Channel, discovering new talent, and producing comedy festivals, Stand Up Records is a true force in the comedy business. Learn more at standuprecords.com. This week on The 5, Dan shares is favorite top 5 places to eat after seeing a comedy show in the United States, with recommendations in Austin, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minnesota!
When you are in comedy and you don’t work a straight job, you keep fucked up hours. This keeps you in synch with your artists, and also gives you some of the only quiet time you will ever get. Since I edit audio for my record label, this quiet is crucial. These hours give you a unique problem though. Where to eat? This is an article about some of my favorite late night haunts around the US that you can go with your comic co-workers before heading home to work on unreleased records.
A good while ago (September 2006), before Rick Shapiro relocated to LA, and then back to New York, I was in NYC going to as many comedy shows as I could pack in. I was hanging out with running buddy and eventual label act, Danny Lobell, and we got a call at about 1AM to have dinner with Rick, so we hopped in a cab and made our way to Chinatown institution Wo Hop. It is the basement at 17 Mott Street. Do not confuse it with the rest of the confusingly named Wo Hops at street level, they are not what you are looking for. It is tight, the tables are uncomfortable, and the waiters have put up with an eternity of drunken assholes, and do not have time for your shit, but it is open until 4:30AM nightly, and open again at 10:30 for you monsters that can get up before noon. They will feed you excellent and delicious Chinese food. Be warned, they are cash only.
On a normal day, The Wiener’s Circle is a great place to get a Chicago style hot dog, which is basically a salad bar on a hot dog (all beef Vienna dog topped with mustard, neon green relish, chopped onion, tomato slice, pickle slice, sport peppers and celery salt on a poppy seed bun), or the venerable Italian beef, which no short description would ever do justice to, but should be tried by anyone who likes delicious things. At night, it becomes a hell-scape of drunkards and staff who take no shit from said customers. Insults go blasting back and forth loudly and with words that would make your mom blush. In other words, a great place to take a comic after a show or drinks. Do it on a clear night, as there is absolutely no indoor seating, and the standing counter space is taken up by said drunkards. They are angrily open until 4AM almost every night.
Over the years, Austin has become a home away from home for me. It has also grown like a weed that was caught in the same gamma ray blast that created the Incredible Hulk. The effects of the ray have been an aggressive growth that actually threatens all the cool things that exist in the city. Of course, this has been said by everyone who has gone to Austin since the mid-sixties. The Magnolia has been around since the late seventies, so it has seen plenty of changes as well, but it has weathered them by being frighteningly consistent with a super solid menu, which includes great breakfasts and baked goods as well as a solid Tex/Mex menu. My Austin buddies make fun of me for being a tourist for going there, but they have been solid to me for the fifteen years I have been going to Austin, nearly always in the company of at least one great comic who hasn’t broken through to the mainstream (yet). Open 24 hours.
Suburban Minneapolis is a long way from Acme Comedy Company, the main room in town, but it is relatively close to The Joke Joint as well as Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy, which are both solid, solid rooms as well, and often book acts on my label. Andale Taqueria has the added benefit of being open until 3AM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is on top of being absolutely authentic Mexican, and delicious as all get out. Everything is cooked to order, so there can be a little wait, and it certainly gets packed to the gills at times, but this gives you time to talk work to your friends before being drowned in waves of awesome. I usually go for a burrito, but the tortas and tacos are great, too. They also often times have my favorite Mexican soup, caldo de res. I always feel happy that I went there, and that I dragged other folks as well.
I know it has become somewhat of an LA comedy cliché to go to Canter’s Deli, but I prefer Pink’s by a long shot. Pink’s has a many-storied history dating back to 1939. I first heard about it from David Lee Roth’s autobiography, Crazy From the Heat. That was all the guidance I needed. You get to stand in line at Pink’s, and that is A-OK by me because this gives you the time to read all the computer printouts taped to the front of the place to know what mishegas they are going to serve you – their menu changes a fair amount with all the names and trends in pop culture and the items named thereafter. I do not know if they originated the “California dog” epidemic, but they mastered it. Want two dogs in a flour tortilla? Want it as a reuben sandwich? Want it with relish, onions, tomato, sour cream and bacon? I mean *I* don’t, but you might. Open until 2AM every night, 3AM on the weekends, which is good, because I can stop there after drinking at Tiki-Ti, but that, dear readers, is a whole other list…