Once again it’s time for the news from around the globe of just what we’ve gotten ourselves into this year. Thanks first to Mary and Ellen from the office who made the majority of phone calls to all of you, leaving me with little to do other than decipher their cryptic notes and make it all coherent. Please blame all misspellings on my need for a new prescription. For lenses, that is.
Starting off with our man at the helm, Stephen Rosenfield, himself – he and Kate have added another budding comedian to our ranks with the August birth of their son, Nathaniel. Steve and his work were featured recently by WCBS-TV who named the Stand-Up Comedy Experience, “New York’s Comedy School”. Two film clips of classwork and participant performances were aired on the nightly news. Adding to that, the New York Times listed a gift certificate for the workshop as their first choice under the “Best this city has to offer.” On other fronts, Steve found time to write twenty, yes, twenty episodes of “New York Go”, a humorously presented survival guide for Japanese residents staying in the Big Apple – the show is currently airing on FCI, Japan’s largest TV network. Somehow, amidst all this, Steve still has time to teach the workshop, his first love, and turn out some top caliber new comic stars.
It seems that some of our workshop members are on their way to stardom.
Tom Schillue recently finished a T.V. pilot for a sketch comedy series called What’s Up? The series is now syndicated. It was directed by Art Wolff, and starred Tom, Tracey Ullman and Penn & Teller. Tom also appeared on Law & Order, Downtown at Comic Strip for HBO, and is performing on Standup Standup on Comedy Central, and just finished a year-long run of Gas, Food, Talent at the West Bank, which will go back into production elsewhere next year.
Mary Dimino appeared on Comedy Central’s Short Attention Span Theater, The Jon Stewart Show, VH1, and America’s Talking’s Bugged. Over on ABC, Mary filled in as the studio audience warm-up act for the Les Brown Show. She will be appearing this coming March on HBO’s Real Sex. This summer she completed a successful road tour in El Paso, Texas and New Mexico, playing such clubs as the Comic Strip. Mary is also a regular on the New York circuit and has been seen at such colleges as Princeton University. And Mary still has time to perform with the troupe Prescription of Laughter Players who perform for AIDS benefits and VA hospitals throughout the tri-state area.
Sam Brown is appearing on Standup Standup on Comedy Central. He recently signed with DCA, and by the time this newsletter reaches you, will probably have also signed with Paradigm.
Out in T.V. land, Annie McNellis is appearing in HBO’s Real Sex this December and January and has been performing at clubs around town. Also appearing on Real Sex will be Ellen Loyd. Ellen is maintaining a regular performance schedule at the major NYC clubs and actively participating in benefits with Gilda’s Club, founded in memory of comedian Gilda Radner to bring the gift of laughter into the lives of people with cancer.
Matt Graff after developing an act through The Stand-Up Comedy Experience, applied the material to a sitcom script that landed him a screenplay assignment with a top producer in Hollywood.
Wendy Stuart has been co-hosting a home-shopping show and has been seen on America’s Talking shows Bugged and Am I Nuts. Casey Fraiser can be seen on Delta Force and is working with Bill Perski on her own sitcom. She also recently appeared in the film Tilt-a-Whirl. Marla Schultz was a top five contender for the host position on Talk Soup and is now performing everywhere, especially on Long Island at the Brokerage, Chuckles and McGuire’s, and at 55 Grove.
T.V. seemed to have been popular this year with our gang. Cathy Hogue appeared on the Montell Williams Show. D.D. Henderson was featured on Show Time At The Apollo and Girls Night Out. She is appearing at Kimono Bay in Philadelphia and Bedrocks on Long Island. D.D. also recently appeared in Faith Journey at the Lambs Theater.
Jim Gaffigan was featured on A&E’s Caroline’s Comedy Hour. Sunda Croonquist has been a guest on America’s Talking and on the Montell Williams Show. She is running the Friday night downstairs room at Break for the Border, where Femmes Fatales, one of New York’s best female comedy shows, is featured. Jerry Schulman was in a commercial for the World Wrestling Federation’s Summer Scam on the Fox network. Chris Cato was a regular last season on Black Entertainment Television’s Comic View and more recently has been appearing throughout Georgia at clubs like The Comeday Act Theater and Uptown Comedy Corner in Atlanta, A Comic Cafe in Marietta, and then popped up to Dayton, Ohio for a run at Joker’s.
In movieland, Jackie Garry is working on a documentary about stand-up comedians and a feature length independent movie to be shot this coming spring. Jordan Levinson is shooting a movie called Walking and Talking. He MC’s at the Laughing Bean and the Treehouse. He has appeared on America’s Talking and performs in clubs throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia. He can also be seen on HBO’s Real Sex. Jon Barrow is being managed by Peter Muller and just finished a film out in California called In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with the One Eye is King, which was written, produced and directed by Nick Valleogna. Jon also just appeared on the Andy Engle Show. John Bair appeared in sketches on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live and the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. He’s performing regularly at the Treehouse.
Frank Giresi has averaged around 200 sets a year (a lot of weekends, he says) on the tri-state road, emceeing and middling at such clubs as McGuire’s and Borderline Cafe on Long Island, Caroline’s, Comedy Cellar, New York Comedy Club (where he hosts Cigar Night), the Brokerage, Governor’s, and Dangerfield’s locally, Funny Pages and Smugglers Inn in Connecticut and various Holiday Inns…. He was featured in the Toyota Comedy Festival this year and in early November did a benefit for the Christina Lazar Foundation. Alison Larkin is performing regularly all around town and says, quote, “I”m continuing through life in a very English sort of way.”
Paul Reggio has been booking his own show into Comic Strip, Boston Comedy Club and Stand-Up New York, and is now being handled on the club and college circuit by New York Entertainment. He has also filmed commercials for McDonald’s, Cheerios and Coast soap. Alladin Ullah produced and appeared, with Santos, in Not in My Club Production’s Color Blind at Don’t Tell Mama. He was recently featured in an article in the New York Times and appeared on BET’s Comedy View. He also has performed at Hamilton College, Syracuse University, Johns Hopkins, and SUNY Purchase. In the “performing around town” clique is Jamie Hill, who has also just had his book Glossolalia published. Mike Mendola has been miking it up in front of the crowds at Don’t Tell Mama, West End Gate, Stand-Up New York and Caroline’s. A regular at Stand-Up New York, Caroline’s 55 Grove Street and New York Comedy Club, John McMenamin has also fit in performances at Denver Comedy Works, Nick’s Comedy Shop and the Comedy Cafe in Boston. He will be the headliner at the annual meeting of the Safety Clean Corporation in Marco Island, Florida, the M.C. of IRSA’s annual convention in San Francicsco, and will be the opener for comedians Jake Johansen and Brian Reagen. Our own John Roach recently won Stand-Up New York’s Ed Sullivan Impression Contest. John as also been out on the open mike circuit, and is developing a side career in voiceover work.
Mark Miton just did a promo for Fruitopia, completed a recent 15 week improvisation and prop comedy tour and has done several college tours. Way out-of-town was Patricia Carolan who spent the summer performing in Rome! Robert Grayson is performing stand-up in Australia and has appeared in Sydney at The Comedy Store. Brad Trachtman has been seen at Garvin’s in Washington, D.C. and as a regular at the New York Comedy Club.
Neil Warner has been seen at Don’t Tell Mama, Stand-Up New York and the Duplex. Prescott Tolk has been up front of the house at Comedy Cellar and PIp’s. Millie Michaels is a big hit out on Long Island at clubs such as Chuckles, McGuire’s, East Side Comedy, Konkoma Comedy Club and New York Comedy Club. Rick Diaz has been a regular at the Duplex and New York Comedy Club.
Andy Ostroy was one of this year’s winners in the Duplex’s Stars of Tomorrow competitions, and got to perform a follow-up 20 minute set in a later show. In the new rounds of competition, Marcie Lopez is in the finals. Josie Leavitt won the Funniest Westsider contest at Stand-Up New York this summer, is now performing regularly there, and just had her first out of town booking Northampton, Masschusetts. Her plants are doing nicely, thank you.
Marth Barbanell was just in the pre-show finals at Stand-Up New York and early this year won the Z-100 Amateur Night contest – a trip to Club Med in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Shelly Latham just did a commercial for the Super Cuts hair salons, is seen at open mikes all around town, and is producing and hosting Kitty’s Variety at the West End Club. She’s also doing a one person show as Marie Antoinette doing cabaret – a “historical comedy drag kind of thing”. John Dunn was host of the Cosmo/Smirnoff Dating Game. Dave Eisenstadt was booked at New York Comedy Club through the Roger Paul Agency. He also appeared at Toppers in Brooklyn.
Joan Keiter won a Boston Comedy Club contest and received a regular booking at the club. She appeared in September at the Red Door and is working on a screenplay and a video project. She’s also performing regularly at Anarchy, Comic Strip, 55 Grove Street and Don’t Tell Mama. Sue Yellin created an event called What’s So Funny About Business? which she performed for the Financial Woman’s Association. She performed stand-up and facilitated a workshop on humor in business. Mary Beth Mooney is in Wingnuts Improv at the Michael Carson Theater and has appeared in Collette Black’s shows at 55 Gove Street. She’s also a regular at Glady’s, Stand-Up New York, and the Duplex and did a recent benefit for the B’nai Brith (doing Irish Catholic comedy) and City of Hope. She likes to work private parties…. Danielle Politi took time out from local clubbing to do a road tour of the dairy state, Wisconsin. Carey Engalnder just got back from a year in Denver where she was a regular at The Comedy Works – they loved her New York City material. Robbie Robins is out in Cleveland emceeing shows at Sixth Street Down Under, as well as for the Rudy Ray Moore Show at The College.
Debbie Lauffer is appearing off-Broadway in Life Anonymous, a play be N. Richard Nash at the William Redfield Theater. She is also regularly doing late nights at the Kraine Theater in The Continuing Adventures of Dick Danger. Elsewhere in the theater world, Victor Verheghe just completed a run in Beirut at the John Houseman Studio. Starring in Death of an Angelfish at the Aaron Davis Theater is Marilyn Torres. Out at Vancortland Manor, Walter McWalter has been performing in The Miser, and at Irvington Town Hall he can be seen in You Can’t Take It With You.
Appearing in plays at the Gateway and New York Cafe is Guy Ellis. A Catered Affair, a “hilarious new comedy” directed by Jay L. Tanzi at the Madison Avenue Theater, featured Arje Shaw along with George W. George. Ken Savoy was in Atlantic City this year performing at Bally’s Grand Casino, where he won a trophy for his talent. He’s in the midst of writing the Cousin Kenny Show, which he says is for kids, parents and come to think of it, everybody, and will be touring schools, theaters, hospitals and other picture postcards. If you know Ken, you’ll understand all that.
I’m always a big fan of those taking time out to do benefits, and Sally Franz is one of our major time-takers. She wrote and performed sketch comedy for homeless veterans in the Stand-Down Project for the Vets Bedside Network, and develops and conducts workshops for the U.S. Committee for UNICEF. Around all that she manages a regular performance schedule and a recnet guest shot on CNBC’s Bugged on America’s Talking, where she let the world know just exactly what bugs her about New York City.
Ellen Orchid appeared in an August 16 article in The National Enquirer about her appearance on The Jane Whitney Show (and, obviously, appeared on the show). She had a baby girl, Deborah Joy, on July 31st, 7lb 4oz. She performed at the Treehouse in Danbury in October an dis working for Hospital Audience, Inc. doing benefits for Hearts & Voices.
Sallie O’Elkordy has turned her comic talents to the philanthropic fundraising world, bringing the show Laugh for a Cure to patients at Sloan Kettering and New York University Hospitals. She also has her own show, Comedy’s Sallie Hour, which has run at 55 Grove Street, New York Comedy Club and the Comic Strip. Sallie has joined forces with comedian Hawk Davis in an act called, for no apparent reason, Hawk and Sallie, where, Sallie assures us, she’s having a hell of a good time.
Thanks to all who responded to our phone calls, sorry we didn’t get to everybody, but with almost 1,000 members of the wrokshop, there just wasn’t time. Please keep us informed of your comedy gigs! Call the office and let us know… so we can share the good news!
In the late 80s/early 90s I got involved with The Stand-Up Comedy Experience (now, American Comedy Institute) and had fun performing stand-up in clubs, and honing my comedy writing skills… the latter, at least, seems to have stuck with me.