Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storyteller Show: An Oral History Page Twelve

Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storyteller Show: An Oral History

(Lessons in how to take a bar gig into one of the best nationally touring shows in comedy.)

Part Twelve: The All-Stars Reunion

9 years to the day after launching what would become both This is Not Happening and Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storyteller Show, The Comedy Store played host to a reunion of both the All-Star Storytellers and the creators. Brought out an excited host Ari Shaffir were all-stars Ms. Pat, Steve Rannazzisi, Ali Siddiq, Bert Kreischer and original storyteller…all telling their best stories of Fear and Hope. By all accounts it was a killer show and a really fun night, and the crowd in attendance raised almost 12 grand for Aidan’s medical expenses- a huge success by all measures.  You can still donate to help, too.

www.gofundme.com/team-aidan-help-him-fight-leukemia

Titled This is Not Happening Presents Ari Shaffir’s Renamed Storyteller Show, Ari, Eric, and Sam are once again the team behind the show.

Eric Abrams: There was a period when Ari and I were kind of on the rocks. I was doing the TV show and Ari started doing the Renamed Storyteller Shows. Ari has pretty much been producing all those live shows alone. And then that show got into Montreal and I wanted to help book it, so we reconnected to do that show together.

Sam Saifer: This is Not Happening may be legally owned by Comedy Central but that doesn’t mean Ari can’t go out and do storytelling shows. And he loves doing them, Eric and I love them, and the three of us really love each other. We’re like a little family and this was our baby.

Eric Abrams: I have a friend whose son was diagnosed with leukemia and he’s struggling financially to pay his bills. And I have this resource in comedy to try to help him. And I looked at my calendar and saw that Ari would be in town in February. So, I called Emilie to get his dates and she could give me the 18th. And then I looked at the poster and realized it was the ninth anniversary. The dates just happened to coincide. So, I pitched him doing a storytelling show, then mentioned doing it for charity, then told him it would be on our anniversary and he was all in. It was like the stars were aligned to reunite the family, and it went right back to business as usual. We’re even going to sell like 5 copies of posters to raise even more money for the family.

I break in at this point because after a lot of people shared their stories with me about this special show (more than we could ever fully include), because I felt it only fair to share my own (not as interesting) story about why the show really is something special. A while ago I went through a depression, and clearly recall a moment saying I felt like I’d lost the ability to laugh. After some treatment (not the time for details), getting some feeling back, I went to one of the Renamed Storyteller Shows in New York. I had no idea who’d be on the bill, just the structure, and saw that a lot of people there came because they just love THIS SHOW. And sitting through it for the first time, I completely understand why. Listening to this collection of stories from great comics (and master storytellers) talking about things they would have never had the time or opportunity to talk about in the usual stand-up setting, and hosted by someone who clearly loved the show more than anyone else there, was one of the most cathartics moments I’ve ever experienced. I found myself laughing hard than I can remember, but also feeling more for these comics than any show I could remember. And with everyone else sharing in the experience, you realize how important it is to share in the mistakes, flaws, and embarrassment of humanity, especially when you can laugh. There are lots of comedy shows out there, there are lots of storyteller shows you can go to, but there is something rare and special about the experience of seeing these shows.


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Lesley Coffin is a feature editor for FF2media and has also written the books Lew Ayres: Hollywood Conscientious Objector (2012) and Hitchcock's Stars (2014), and currently writing a third book. Follow on twitter @filmbiographer for thoughts on movies and cat pictures.
Lesley Coffin
Lesley Coffin
Lesley Coffin is a feature editor for FF2media and has also written the books Lew Ayres: Hollywood Conscientious Objector (2012) and Hitchcock's Stars (2014), and currently writing a third book. Follow on twitter @filmbiographer for thoughts on movies and cat pictures.