The Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant is back and is Beyond Beautiful!!!
The Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant is known for having killer line-ups, amazing food and a staff that is cool AF. This magical combination of elements helps to create the intoxicatingly cool atmosphere that brings the best comedians in the world to their stage and keeps happy customers coming back for more. Last summer, after six years of killing it in their 3rd Avenue location, owners, Paul Italia, Cris Italia and Patrick Milligan announced that they were closing their doors and had plans to re-launch their awesome club in a location that is over three times the size of the 3rd Ave. space. The Stand is my favorite place to see comedy and hangout whenever I go to New York so I will admit that when I first heard the news that the space was closing it hit me kind of hard. It was pretty similar to the way I felt when I was a kid growing up in Chicago and first learned that Michael Jordan was retiring at the peak of his career back in 1993… only this time I had the benefit of an upfront promise that they’d be back and I, like so many others, have been anxiously awaiting their return. On July 15, 2019 The Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant officially re-opened their doors and OMG it was totally worth the wait!!!
Over 500 guests were invited to the grand opening party at the new Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant in Union Square and I was super excited to see some comedy and help celebrate the occasion. The new venue is an absolutely beautiful, prewar building with an open-air, gourmet restaurant, bar and show room on the first floor and huge comedy club in the basement. The building itself has some really cool concrete ornamentation on the outside of it, including my personal favorite symbol, the fleur-de-lis. The fleur de-lis is often used as a symbol of royalty, which is perfect because this place is a total palace! On the inside, music played as party goers sipped on glasses of wine and designer cocktails at the open bar, while also getting to sample some of the ridiculously delicious menu items created by executive chef, Harold Villarosa. Villarosa has trained and worked in some of the finest and best restaurants in the world, most notably the two-Michelin star restaurant, Noma in Denmark and his experience was definitely evident in the amazing food we were lucky enough to enjoy. There, amongst the crowd I had the pleasure of running into my buddy and co-owner of The Stand, Patrick Milligan and his beautiful fiancé, Waldina. I was happy to be there to congratulate them on their engagement and on this amazing opening. Patrick took me downstairs to see the comedy club and led me onstage to take a selfie in front of their legendary signature blue sign. I love this place!
After the incredibly satisfying two and a half hour cocktail reception, we made our way downstairs for some comedy. Frantic is a free show that goes down every Monday night at The Stand and is hosted by Kerryn Feehan and Aaron Berg but tonight was a little different in that Kerryn was the sole host and Aaron came up and did time along with the other comedians who were on the roster. I’ve been a fan of Aaron’s since the first time I ever went to The Stand many years ago and he was hosting the show. I’d love to swing by Compound Media and watch him and Geno Bisconte’s podcast, “In Hot Water” the next time I’m in town. As for Kerryn, I knew she was a crazy, real-ass bitch when I watched her throw chicken salad at Luis J. Gomez’s face on an episode of “Legion of Skanks” and I’ve loved her ever since. Feehan did a fantastic job and had me laughing throughout the entire night.
The first comedian she brought up to the stage was Mark Normand. I’ve seen Mark many times and he is always funny, but I have to say that this was my favorite set I’ve ever seen him do. He waked on stage and immediately hit us with a killer call back to a joke Kerryn Feehan made earlier about hooking up with a guy on vacation, then did some pretty clean material for Mark’s standards that slayed and ended his set with the darker side of his sense of humor. From soup to nuts, it was an awesome set. We were off to a great start and next up was Dan Soder. He had me dying with his crowd work, images of him as a young smoker, his material on just how deep his love for Hulk Hogan actually went when he was a kid and his ability to save a joke after an audience member almost ruined his punchline.
After Dan, Kerryn brought out the one and only, Ron Bennington. From “The Bennington Show,” to “Unmasked,” to his stand-up comedy, everything the man does is quality and I was especially happy to run into him outside on the patio before the show started. I told him how much I’m looking forward to the shows in the “Kreeps with Kids” tour that I’m going to at Just for Laughs in Montreal and Chicago. Ron Bennington is so cool, he even took a picture with me in front of this awesome new club. His set was as hilarious as ever and these are the kinds of memories that will stay with me forever. The next comedian up was Sam Jay who made me laugh with jokes about the frustrations she faced while flying with her girlfriend and space travel in 2019. Joe DeRosa came out after Sam Jay and killed with some pretty solid reasons why we should all miss the days when Yellow Cab still ruled the streets of New York, revelations about plastic plants and then really impressed me with his humorous take on being adopted. Good stuff!
After Joe, Kerryn brought out our next comedian, Ari Shaffir and no one was prepared for what we were about to see… Ari had completely transformed himself into what I can only describe as a creepy, used car salesman from the 1970’s and was rocking a new haircut, mustache and custom vintage suit!!! He then went on to do his regular act and never really acknowledged his new look at all. He is so damn funny! Ari discussed the hilarious ways people who have it, should be taking advantage of their “white privilege” and told some really funny stories about his travels to Berlin and Egypt. I could totally see Ari’s Comedy Store upbringing shining throughout his performance and I absolutely loved it! Next up was Todd Barry. He made us laugh with jokes about his celebrity and the joys of being the owner of his adorable cat, Michaeleen. Judah Friedlander, fresh off his tour to almost every amazing city in Europe was next to the stage. Judah is highly skilled at improv so his crowd work is always impressive to watch. He also killed with the hilarious list of things he has taken issue with and his many campaign promises for when he becomes our next president in 2020. Next up was Derek Gaines. He slayed this crowd with hilarious ways we could be using the summer heat to improve our dating lives and creative ways to protect your intellectual property.
Aaron Berg was the next comedian to come up and had hilarious material on being a husband and a father and gave us some really funny reasons to date a Jewish guy. Aaron Berg is another comedian who can absolutely kill with his crowd work in addition to his written material and I can never get enough of that. Shane Gillis came out next and had great material on being new to New York, some recent revelations he’s had about his looks and the impact he has on women. After Shane was newly appointed Comedy Store paid regular, Tim Dillon. Tim is absolutely killing it on the west coast and we were lucky to have him back for the moment because this show was no different. Tim killed with his jokes about social media and had the funniest interaction of the night with the table up front that seemed to be talking throughout the entire show. Great job, Tim! It was my first time seeing the next two comedians in the line-up but if they’re passed at The Stand, you can trust that they’re funny and I look forward to seeing more from them both. I particularly liked Lev’s stuff on comparing the dating lives of gay people vs straight people and Ian’s material on his connection to rap music and the impact that made on his mom’s Mother’s Day card. After them, Kerryn Feehan brought out our last comedian of the night and Sean Patton closed the show with hilarious material about finding his girlfriend’s vibrator, living in Brooklyn in 2019 and the super funny effect equality would have on catcalling.
After the show we all headed upstairs to hangout in the restaurant before heading out to Paddy Maguire’s Ale House to keep the party going. It was really great seeing just how many people came through to support The Stand for this next chapter in their history. All of their friends and fans have stuck with them while they were away this past year because of how the owners Paul Italia, Cris Italia and Patrick Milligan always put the experience of their customers in the forefront of their minds and have successfully created an entertaining experience that is unlike any other in the world. I was so glad to be back in the company of all of these amazing people. Good luck and congratulations to the owners of The Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant and their entire team. All of your hard work has really paid off and I can’t wait to be back for more!