All photos copyright Phil Provencio
Monday, November 1, as part of the New York Comedy Festival, we descended on the infamous Village Undergorund in New York City for our fourth completely sold out edition of Comedy 101. We’re so excited to announce that the hour show will air in its entirety TODAY on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog Channel at 1:15 during the Bennington Show.
For anyone unfamiliar, we bring open mic comedians up on stage and give them a chance to try to make the audience laugh. That alone would be hard enough, but we put a panel of experienced “mentors” on stage with them, each with a bell to ring in and to interrupt the comics with “advice” about their set, their jokes, their clothes, anything is fair game.Our mentors are the fastest, the funniest and the most brutal comedians in New York City, and they’re out for blood.
We brought together 7 aspiring open mic comics and an all-star panel of mentors on stage on November 1st, bringing back three Comedy 101 veterans- Bonnie McFarlane, Robert Kelly, and Rich Vos- all stone cold killers. Our three returning mentors were joined by Shuli Egar, who you know as @ShalomShuli on Twitter, from the Howard Stern Show, and Shuli fit in perfectly, like he’d been insulting young comics his entire life. Our judges not only skewered the comedic hopefuls, they also beat up on each other.
The show was hosted, of course, by the great Ron and Gail Bennington, of SiriusXM’s Bennington Show. There is no funnier team hosting a radio show anywhere in America, and we’re lucky to have them. We also have to say a huge thank you to Phil Provencio for coming out and shooting all these great pictures. Here’s one of our favorites, of co-host Gail Bennington.
There were some initial difficulty squeezing our mentors into the small tables we had set up for them. Robert Kelly went up first and wasn’t thrilled with the obstacle course set up for him, to get around the other judges chairs and take the far seat.
Once all the seating arrangements were taken care of, Robert Kelly grabbed a selfie of all the judges- you know for Facebook- and got reminded that he had posted a photo on his Facebook of a certain former radio broadcaster who is no longer living a public life and who chooses to remain un-shared on social media. With that out of the way….we were off and running.
First up for the slaughter (which Jeffrey Gurian pointed out is just laughter with an s), was young comedian David Spector. He lives in an art commune in Brooklyn, is allergic to chicken and all poultry, and once came in third writing the funniest tweet for Conan. He also laughs nervously on stage…a lot. The judges found him to be way too happy at what should be a much less fun moment in his career. Despite being called Katherine Hepburn by one judge and having another judge insult his haircut, David may have gotten off the funniest actual joke of any of the young open mic comics.
Bonnie summed it all up with this, “This is the greatest thing, you need a healthy positive attitude and a little bit of brain damage to do well on this show.” Follow David on Twitter @anddavidishere.
Andrea was intro’ed as saying she’s participated in a pizza eating and a bagel eating contest and lost both, and she started a fight between Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane because they disagreed on whether it was Andrea’s fur trimmed coat, or her sexuality that was making Robert Kelly hot. That coat, by the way, was the first article of clothing to ever inspire more jokes than Rich Vos’ fedora. Andrea came in hot in more ways than one. We lost track of how many times she used the words “cum” and “fuck” and she fired back at Vos so hard, she had him apologizing to her within minutes of taking the stage. She didn’t seem to have any punchlines in her act, but with lines like “I’m gonna fuck you with my huge woman cock,” who needs jokes?
Andrea will forever be known for starting the chant,”Gimme that cum!” It’s the first chant since Grant Lindahl had the audience shouting out “vagina boy” last November.
Andrea told us later that she was so nervous before, but once I was on stage it was such a fun experience. Listen to her podcast, The Hot Mess Comedy Hour and follow her on Twitter @AndreaComedy.
Jimmy Son whose favorite color is blue, was born and raised in Astoria, Queens. After the obligatory Chinese delivery boy jokes, things got rough for Jimmy who was told by one of the judges he looked like Bobby Lee if he was stung by a hornet’s nest. Jimmy talked about the night he almost killed himself, but then bonded with Robert Kelly over fast food. He said he learned a lot from the experience. Like learning that he should blink if he doesn’t want to scare the judges and the audience. “I think I’ve blinked, though…definitely,” he said, sounding less than confident. The judges were mostly afraid of him, with Ron comparing his jokes to a “resume for someone you would never hire.” Follow him on Twitter @thejimmyjuice.
Elise has been on HBO’s The Leftovers, but she’s still just getting her comedy career started. Vos hit the bell before Elise even opened her mouth, getting big groans from the audience and advice from Bobby to “read the room.” Elise’s set didn’t get a lot of laughs for her jokes about cotton, ambulettes, and pelvic exams, but she did inspire some top notch rape and slavery jokes from the panel and Bonnie pointed out that she seemed more rapeable than Andrea, who performed earlier in the evening. The mentors said her set was more of a lecture than a comedy set- “you can’t just tell us shit!” came from Bobby, and Shuli asked if she got her material from a pamphlet. Follow Elise on Twitter @.
Rob and Greg Cardazone returned to Comedy 101 for their second appearance, because getting shredded by our last panel apparently wasn’t abuse enough. Their set was rough enough to inspire Bobby to say he’s never doing this again, because they were sucking the funny right out of him. They were compared to Dracula, woodland creatures, Friar Tuck, and a roman nickel, and that was just in the first minute. But they still had the confidence to invite Rich and Bonnie on a double date. They shocked all the judges by revealing that no, they are not Jewish, and took the biggest beating of anyone on the stage all night. They also were the first performers to pick a fight with the audience. Follow Rob and Greg on Twitter @ and @RobCarr24
He’s not just an intern for satellite radio, he’s also an aspiring comedian. They say that when you learn to ski, you have to learn to fall first, and when you want to do comedy you have to learn how to bomb. It’s safe to say Marcus has figured out how to bomb and earned himself a new nickname “Snapple caps.” This line, from Robert Kelly sums up Marcus Hook’s set- “I wish this bell was a gun.”
Every show we invite someone to get up and perform comedy who isn’t an open mic’er and isn’t an aspiring comedian, just to see how they do. Our good friend Black Earl Douglas is best known as former Executive Producer of the Ron and Fez Show, but he’s also got these credits: former producer for the Opie and Anthony Show, current head of the Black Rock Coalition, writer for The Interrobang, and vibe manager at the Hard Rock Cafe. Earl took the stage with a massive explosion of applause from the audience, got a few jokes out, and learned that “comedian” isn’t going to be his next credit. Earl did some NFL jokes, some #blacklivesmatter jokes, and managed to make Vos feel too guilty to be mean. Follow Earl on Twitter @edouglas528
Bonnie McFarlane, Rich Vos, and Robert Kelly having fun tearing apart our young comics.
Our hosts, and mentors, from left to right, Robert Kelly, Ron Bennington, Gail Bennington, Bonnie McFarlane, Rich Vos, and Shuli Egar.
Want to see more? Check out the photos from our previous episode of Comedy 101 here. Thank you to all the young comics, esteemed mentors, our hosts, and our great team of producers, and especially the audience who came out to cheer on the lambs being thrown to the lions. Can’t wait till the next one.