Sara Dahms is a comedy superfan who even goes so far as to call herself a comedy nerd. Raised on National Lampoon, John Hughes, Gene Wilder, and Fairy Tale Theatre, her life changed after her older sister showed her Eddie Murphy’s Raw in 1988. Soon after, she found Andrew Dice Clay and became a stand-up junkie for life. Eighteen months ago, she took her first comedycation to see Jeff Ross play in Miami on her birthday. Since then, she’s been traveling all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere, a confirmed comedy addict, and now she’s agreed to share her travels with us. This is her column. In this edition, Sara heads back to New York City to see Dave Attell and Jeffrey Ross tape their new Netflix show, Bumping Mics! Read all Sara’s write ups here!
I have been a fan of Dave Attell’s since the 90’s, so when I took one of my first comedycations to New York back in 2016, I made it a point to see the king of late night on his home turf at The Comedy Cellar. Dave was the closer and he ended his set with something I had never seen Dave or any other comedian do before. He asked Jeff Ross to come on stage with him and then these two comedic giants riffed off each other, did crowd work together and completely made the stage their playground. Jeff Ross and Dave Attell must have known they were on to something tremendous because one year later they debuted their double headliner show called, “Bumping Mics” at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. From there, they took “Bumping Mics” on the road for a national tour with their final stop being back home in New York at the Comedy Cellar…. to film “Bumping Mics” as a series for Netflix where it all began!\
I flew out to New York and planned on seeing both of their tapings on Sunday night, but being the comedy junkie that I am, I had to get in as many shows as I could. I started this 24 hour adventure with brunch at The Comedy Cellar. Sunday must be the new Saturday over there because the room was packed, the crowd had great energy, the food was delicious and the lineup was completely stacked. Jared Freid was an excellent MC, all of the comedians were hilarious and I was very happy to see that one of my favorites, Ron Bennington was on the roster for the show. He was hilarious as always and I was able to get a quick chat in with him to say hello and catch up before my Uber driver arrived after the show. It sounded like he’s going to be one heck of a busy man this summer. Not only is he becoming a grandfather for the first time (Congratulations, Gail!) but he is also heading up to Montreal for the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and then traveling to Jamestown, New York for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival right afterwards to interview a panel of Saturday Night Live alumni including Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris and the original writer, Alan Zweibel. How cool is that?! My Uber arrived and we said goodbye. I’ll see you in Montreal and dream of being there for that all star panel!
Now for, “Bumping Mics”! I arrived to the Comedy Cellar at the Village Underground a few hours later and got in line. I always try to get to shows early in an attempt to get the best seat possible. The down side to this practice was that it happened to be about 100 degrees on this particular evening but never to fear because Jeff and Dave were there to save the day! The two of them personally handed out ice cream to all of their fans who were waiting in line. How nice is that?! I received my seat assignment and I was in the second row!!! WooHoo!!!! I was definitely ready to have some fun and the show was about to begin. Ryan Reiss came out and was our first comedian of the evening. He did a great job preparing the crowd for the filming and was super funny to boot. He then brought comedian, Joe Machi to the stage. I knew who Machi was but had never actually seen his comedy. He was hilarious!!! His dark humor completely took me by surprise. I never saw that type of material coming out of someone who comes off so childlike and sweet but that only made his punchlines even funnier and added a layer of humor completely unique to him! Being so likable and having such an innocent delivery makes it possible for him to get away with saying just about anything, so I hope he continues to push the envelope and be as edgy as he was on Sundaynight. Machi did a set at both the early and late “Bumping Mics” shows on Sunday night, didn’t repeat one joke and killed both times. Will someone PLEASE give him an hour special?!
“Bumping Mics” was in full swing and it was time for Jeff Ross and Dave Attell to take the stage. The crowd went wild. It was a party atmosphere in that room and everyone was there for a good time. Jeff and Dave riffed off of each other telling jokes and busting each other’s balls. It was hilarious! Then the guys brought out a special guest to join them on stage, co-head writer for “Saturday Night Live,” Michael Che. Che got right in on the fun and was there with them joke for joke. I love Che’s chill, conversational delivery. The guy exudes coolness on another level. The next segment was my favorite part of the entire production. The guys brought out a military veteran named Israel Del Toro to the stage. He had been badly burned in the line of duty and has apparently been wanting to be roasted by these two for sometime. I have seen Jeff and Dave roast many people and have even been roasted by Jeff myself and yet I have never seen anything as good as this. Israel wasn’t just up there being roasted, he had hilarious rebuttals and quite a few zingers to throw at Jeff and Dave himself. This is thee perfect example of just how interconnected comedy and tragedy truly are. This is a man whose entire face, arms and hands have been severely burned while serving our country and yet there he stood, making jokes about his tragic experience while also laughing at the jokes the guys made about him. You could feel how being up there on the stage was empowering for Del Toro. Laughter can be a shortcut to acceptance when making your way through the grieving process and that is why it is so important to keep ALL subject matters on the table. Nothing should be off limits! This man is the truest example of a hero and I am SO glad that Jeff and Dave had the guts to bring him on stage to be roasted. It was both inspiring and hilarious. Bravo!!!
Another highlight started when Jeff Ross pointed out that the actor, Paul Rudd was in the audience. I turned around and there he was, sitting at a table with his wife and friends enjoying the show right there with us. “So This is 40” and “I Love You Man” are two of my favorite movies and I LOVE him in both! At the end of the early show, I tried to get the nerve to ask him for a picture but I totally chickened out. A little over an hour later I got right back in line to ride this ride again and check out the second show and much to my surprise, Paul Rudd and his party were still there! I took my seat and tried to get the confidence to tell him what a fan I am and ask for a picture before the show started. I actually got out of my seat but chickened out at the last second and went to the bathroom instead. I knew this was my last chance, so on my way back to my seat, I finally did it! I went up to him, told him how much I love his work and asked if it would be ok to take a picture with him. He couldn’t have been nicer! He was humble and appreciative of my schmaltzy praise and graciously accepted my request for a picture. I thanked him for his time and I literally felt like I floated on a cloud back to my seat afterwards! The Paul Rudd fun did not end there because Jeff and Dave asked Paul to join them on stage and he did! Jeff pointed out that Paul had been at the first show and thanked him for staying for the second show. Rudd hilariously replied, “To tell you the truth, I had 7 tequilas and didn’t realize that leaving was an option!” HA! He quickly added that he and his wife had gotten a babysitter, were there for a date night and his wife even said she wanted to stay for the second show since she was having so much fun. While on stage he answered a few of their questions, told some funny stories and was every bit as cute and amazing as he is on TV! I loved it!
Jeff Ross and Dave Attell closed out the the filming of their Netflix series, Bumping Mics” by asking all of the comedians in the place to join them on stage, a server brought out a huge cake and Jeff and Dave blew out the candles. I hope all of their wishes come true! I was so happy to have had the chance to see this show all the way through it’s evolution and am so proud of what these men have accomplished for themselves. Watching these two masters go back and forth with one another was amazing to watch. Their chemistry was palpable and it was clear to me that I had truly witnessed comedy magic!