All photos copyright Phil Provencio
Tuesday night at the Village Underground, we produced our third edition of our hit show, Comedy 101 (Tell a Joke or Be a Joke), in front of a sold out crowd. To say the night was full of shocks and surprises is an understatement, and Comedy 101 proved once again to be as funny as it is brutal. We are so excited to announce that you’ll be able to hear a sneak preview of the show on SiriusXM this Friday (details below).
If you don’t already know, Comedy 101 is a live show that combines open mic night, with a good old fashioned roast and there is nothing safe for work about this show. We bring up open mic comics to take a shot at doing their act, for the first time ever, in front of a big audience. If they can’t make the audience laugh, and fast, they get interrupted by one of our three “mentors” who ring in to give “helpful advice.” Except it’s not usually very helpful, and it’s probably not really even advice.
Our three comedy mentors are always chosen from the fastest, funniest and most ruthless comics in New York City. This month we brought in Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, and Sal Vulcano to sit on our panel and they couldn’t have been funnier. Kurt Metzger is so fast, so funny, and well known for going too far when he has something to say; Big Jay is one of the best crowd work comics to ever pick up a mic, and Sal Vulcano has become a television star by knowing how to bust balls on Impractical Jokers. All of those skills came out on stage as they sat in judgment over our eight brave aspiring comics. SiriusXM’s brilliantly funny Ron Bennington and Gail Bennington served as emcees and added some of the best commentary of the night.
Six of our eight performers were open mic’ers, and it’s an easy pick who had the most memorable set of the night. Son Yeyr came out wearing a SiriusXM shirt wrapped around her as a skirt, showed off tattoos and talked about living in a homeless shelter. She either earned the respect or possibly the fear of of the panel, and later told us she had only one regret. “I wish I would have mooned the panel guys. I forgot and it was too late. I mooned the audience and the host. But I wish I had mooned the panel. That’s my one regret.” The comedy duo of Greg and Rob made such an impression on Kurt Metzger that he joined them for part of their act, and B.L., the second Hooters girl ever hired took shit to an entirely new level of weird.
Jon Brown got the ‘unruffable award’ for staying cool despite getting more bells rung during his set than any other, and even said he learned something. “It helped me to deal with pressure in a high volume crowd,” Brown said. “I really enjoyed it.” Chris San Juan said that he wasn’t worried about the mentors, that was fun. He was more nervous about the audience. “I never played a room that big. It was amazing. I usually do 20 people in a room. To see 200, it was scary and fun. It felt great.” Matt Burkett’s remark about having crippling depression became a source of callbacks throughout the night.
Comedy 101 marked the very first time on stage for Hosp who doesn’t think of himself as a comic, but wanted to have the experience. “It might not have been the best situation for an absolute noob trying stand up for the first time. It’s a world famous club, with a capacity crowd, being recorded for satellite broadcast with legitimate stars of the industry given carte blanche to dissect me,” he said, and added, “It definitely solidified my respect for anyone that actually gets up and does stand up comedy.”
On his show Race Wars, Metzger said “Comedy 101, whenever that comes out, that show…. dude that is the best thing. It was me, Jay, and Sal Vulcano. That is the funniest thing I’ve ev….I haven’t done a show that funny in a while,” adding about show host Ron Bennington, “everything he said was killer and no waste…like a Samurai dude. He’s amazing.” We got an email from Sal Vulcano with similar sentiments about the show, and Big Jay talked about what a great time he had on The Bonfire yesterday, arguing with co-host Dan Soder about who had the better Comedy 101 experience (Soder served as mentor for our first Comedy 101 show last fall).
If you are squeamish, uncomfortable with insults, or live by the phrase “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, this show may not be for you. But for everyone else, we can’t wait for you to hear it. Huge thank you to our incredible hosts, hilarious mentors, and brave mic’ers! We also need to say a huge thanks to Liz and everyone at the Village Underground for a great night, and our sold out audience who came out and stood in line on a 95 degree night as well.
The entire hour will officially premiere on Monday, September 5, but you can catch a special sneak preview this Friday on SiriusXM’s Opie Radio Channel at 8:30am Eastern time. Make sure you listen, and stay tuned for an announcement about when you can come sit in the audience for the next edition of Comedy 101.