Comedy

Vodka Shoes

Vodka Shoes

By Andrew Singer

When Leslie Goshko describes the struggles of her youth in her new solo show Vodka Shoes (directed by Kyle Erickson), it helps for the sake of a compelling tale that she grew up in a wacky family where everyone battled a different set of problems.  But what sets this show apart from others is how masterfully and economically she handles every single sentence, building up entertaining subplots that flush out a grand epic filled with looming failures and quiet victories.  She milks each moment for maximum enjoyment so that the audience can laugh with her now at episodes that were certainly heartbreaking and painful when they occurred.

Notes:

•    This is not Leslie’s first foray into storytelling.  Ardent Goshkoholics will recognize her from her previous solo show S.C.A.B.s Stick Together, as well as her frequent performances in The Liar Show, Speakeasy and her own monthly gig Sideshow Goshko.

•    The characters in her story begin as broad comical tropes but grow and develop over time, with intriguing histories that inform their denouements.

•    Try to avoid reading any promotional material for the show, as it gives away some of the plot, and it’s more fun to experience it right as she tells it to you.  Just trust in Goshko and go to the show.

•   FYI these following points do not give away any actual spoilers.. They are just teasers:

•    Usually when you hear about molestation within a family, it’s cause for concern, but here, it’s described as a fun game.

•    She puts on a pair of stunning ruby red slippers that whisk her off to a place much more wonderful and frightening than any fantasy world.

•    There’s one part where you may suddenly find yourself crying when you least expect it.

•    The show clocks in at a full hour’s length, but when she took her final bow, it felt as though it had only been around 20 minutes.  I heard other audience members say this as well.  The show moves at a very fast pace and covers a lot of ground, and it definitely leaves you wanting more.

Vodka Shoes runs Thursday, February 25, 2010 through Sunday, March 07, 2010 in Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place in East Village) as part of the FRIGID New York Festival.

Purchase Tickets.

All photos by Craig Ruttle.

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  His music is available on iTunes, and you can catch him performing at a weekly stand-up comedy show with Abbi Crutchfield called Positively Awesome.


Posted on 04 Mar 2010 at 6:09am
Yisrael Campbell: Circumsize Him (Part One)

Yisrael Campbell: Circumsize Him (Part One)

By Andrew Singer

Ultra-Orthodox Jews.  You see them all around New York City.  Walking around with their black hats, black coats, beards and peyot (curly sidelocks of hair by their ears).  You may often wonder what they’re like as people.  Yisrael Campbell is not one of them, but he’s the closest most people outside the fold will get to meeting one.

“You can tell I’m not Ultra-Orthodox because I’m wearing a blue button-up shirt and not a white one.” He comes across as very warm and friendly, loving coffee as well as the chance to share his journey from being a drug-addicted Catholic to an Orthodox Jew, which he happens to do currently in his wildly successful Off Broadway one-man show Circumsize Me.  City Scoops had the chance to ask him additional questions about his life experiences and the performance world in general in a multi-part interview.

City Scoops: When looking for a deeper religious experience, why not become a more devout Catholic or switch to a different religious?  Why choose Judaism in particular?

Yisrael Campbell: Christianity didn’t speak to me.  That could’ve been because it was the religion of my childhood, and it was given to me by people who weren’t particularly happy with being Catholic either.

When I met Judaism, I met it as an adult, and I met it from a lot of people who were strong proponents of it.  Then again, I had met numerous Christians in my 20s; a mix of Catholics, Lutherans and other branches.  I was not impressed with their version of confession.  Sometimes they didn’t even speak with a priest; they simply said it in their prayers alone.

One of the things I liked so much about Judaism was the idea that G-d didn’t want to forgive my sins until I had spoken to the person I’d harmed here on Earth.  That seemed a much better way to work things out.  I may not understand all tenets of Christian theology, but after several attempts to make Christianity my spiritual practice, it just never ultimately spoke to me.  Whereas Judaism did, and my connection with it grew and grew.  It’s not a perfect system either by any stretch, but it works for me.

Another facet I enjoy is how the Talmud (the written-down oral law) contains a mix of contradictions.  It presents both sides of opinions about various matters, and it doesn’t label either the majority or the minority statements as right or wrong.  I find in general that Christianity tends to have a more strict sense of right and wrong, where you either got it, or you didn’t.  I like how in Judaism, it’s up to you personally to read both sides and decide for yourself.  I find that to be much more true to life.

That definitely ties into your own name Yisrael (”One Who Wrestles With G-d”).  Even if G-d himself states something, you still might disagree with it.  Tell us how that relates to the original title of the show, “It’s Not in Heaven”.

That’s a quote from the bible (”Lo Ba’Shamayim He”).  In the Gemara (part of the Talmud containing rabbinical commentaries and analysis), there’s this argument between one rabbi and a bunch of other rabbis.  None of the rabbis will say that this one rabbi’s right, even though he performs a series of greater and greater miracles to prove his point.

Finally, a voice comes out from heaven and says, “He’s right!” but even then, the rabbis won’t concede, stating that they are the ones on earth with the Torah, and it’s not up to those in heaven to tell them what to think.  Arguing with G-d is so not Christian but very Jewish.

I think it’s a great story, but telling it in the middle of my show would make everybody’s eyes glaze over, and then they definitely would want to literally circumsize me.  But it’s a very important theme of the show.

Why did you go through three conversions?  Why not just immediately become Orthodox (instead of becoming Reform and Conservative first)?  Or even just stick with being Reform?

When I first started, I had no idea that I was doing Reform / Conservative / Orthodox.  I met a group of people, and I thought I was converting to “Judaism”.  It was only after the first conversion that I started to flesh out that this was a reform conversion and not everyone accepted it.  And I realized that as Reform Jews, we didn’t even do all of the activities that everybody else was doing.  Some of the prayers we did weren’t the whole prayers.

A lot of it was in English, I imagine.

And then it was a natural progression.  I was in a couple of situations where Orthodox people told me that I wasn’t Jewish.  So when I wanted to put on tefillin (arm bindings worn during prayer), I realized I needed to take more steps, so I went to the Conservative synagogue.  They were welcoming, but then they did kind of guide me to do a beit din (a rabinnical court of Judaism), which I hadn’t yet done.

I’m not sure it would’ve worked out the same if I’d gone straight to the Orthodox.  The idea on a theological, philosophical level is that you pull the convert closer with their right hand, which is your stronger hand…

And then they push you away with their left hand.

Which is your weaker hand.  So the idea is that the pull is stronger toward and weaker against, but in my experience, it appears to be that more people either push you away with both hands or at least push you away with the right hand.

In retrospect, I’m kind of glad that by the time I started meeting that heavy resistance, I already considered myself a Jew on several levels.  I had already built up a level of Jewish experience.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this interview, coming soon!

Circumsize Me is performed weekly from Wednesday through Sunday at Bleeker Street Theater on 45 Bleeker St in NoHo.  The show is currently running at present through May 16.  Purchase Tickets.

All photos by Carol Rosegg.

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  His music is available on iTunes, and you can catch him performing at a weekly stand-up comedy show with Abbi Crutchfield called Positively Awesome.


Posted on 12 Feb 2010 at 7:20am
Evan Morgenstern: A Really Nice Guy

Evan Morgenstern: A Really Nice Guy

By Andrew Singer

Who’s nicer than Evan Morgenstern?  I can’t think of anybody.  He grew up in the wilds of Florida and eventually moved to NYC, where he has become a master of many artforms including, standup, improv, krav maga, and commercial modelling.  As he prepares to celebrate his first year running his comedy show SNC: Switzerland Neutral Comedy, we sat down with him to discuss how his show has roamed the city, how his love of Star Trek was useful for his career, how he ended up being the face of Blue Man Group and to find out when he first got laid.

CS: How did you and your co-host Jay Hoskins end up working together? How has your chemistry grown over time?

EM: I began stand up comedy through a work shop with Darlene Violette which is where I met Devin Sanchez and Jay Hoskins. Later I met Rachel Axelrod and the four of us started SNC to do improv and stand up shows. Jay and I have done shows hosting together and have alternated doing it solo and Devin and Rachel do some too. They are very smart and I’m lucky to have people I’ve met who are nice, talented, and fun to work with. I was nervous getting into stand up, especially in the big city but the scene has turned out to be really supportive and welcoming.


In how many different locations does your show Switzerland Neutral Comedy exist? Are you trying to build a franchise? Is it difficult to keep track of all of them, in terms of scheduling and booking talent? What are the pros of each venue?

I have been till recently doing two monthly shows. One show was at Stain Bar in Williamsburg and one is with The Tank at The 45th Street Theater. Stain Bar has recently closed and we are very sad to see them go. The owners, Caroline and Craig have been amazing to us. We also have upcoming SNC shows at The Sage Theater in Times Square and Ochi’s Lounge at Comix.

It has definitely been a learning experience booking and putting together shows and I am glad to get to work with Jay, Devin, and Rachel. Stain was every second Tuesday and The Tank is when they can have us. Stain has been a terrific, comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and the owners were incredibly nice and supportive. I found it when my wife was doing write ups for her job about bars around Brooklyn. Comics always seemed to have great things to say about Stain. The Tank has been very generous with us and gives us a chance to do a show at a nice Manhattan location which is convenient and upscale. I hope to work with them more down the line. Right now SNC remains open to performing around the city and trying to showcase to different audiences.



For how long have you been performing with the improv group Start Trekkin? Were you nervous about being amongst so many trekkie nerds, or did you feel home at last? How is your group able to keep each show fresh and not simply recall the standard catch phrases and plots (ie “Beam me up, Scotty”, “I’m a doctor, Jim! Not a…” etc)

I auditioned for Start Trekkin last Summer. I remember I was in an improv group that was on the same flier as Start Trekkin and as I am a huge Star Trek fan my mom asked “is that the show you’re doing?” I said no, and then thought, wow, it should be. Being a Trek fan (I had a Star Trek themed Bar Mitzvah) I felt I’d fit in with these folks well. BTW, I realize just how nerdy it is incorporating my mom and my love of Star Trek in the same story. If I was nervous it was because I had not watched the last two shows and thought I’d be inferior as a Trekkie. It’s so much fun and everyone in the group is a blast to work with. Since we don’t do existing characters and just do shows that exist in the realm of the original Trek universe we do shows that focus on relationships and, while we get silly we feel comfortable not falling back on the cliches.

You have also done commercial modeling as well, have you not? Is that strenuous, in terms of auditioning and the actual shoots? Have you done any videos as well, or do you have interest in partaking?

I actually got my first gig through nepotism as friend was part of the company working on the Blue Man Group campaign. They wanted different types of people to see the show and comment from their perspective. As he knew I have OCD I got to sort of play myself. I was amazed at how frequent the posters were popping up around town. I still audition for commercials now, usually during my lunch hour and try to allow for personal days to do anything that comes up. I have not had a huge success but keep trying and really want to get more.


What big projects and goals do you have on the horizon?

In July, I worked with some friends on a web video sketch about people’s fanaticism for Star Wars and Star Trek that was a lot of fun. Kevin Tor and I are gradually working on more sketches and finding venues for them. SNC is ongoing and we’re excited about the popularity it’s getting. I’m working on voice over and on camera auditions and just writing and writing.

Tell us about your new spin on SNC: The Virgin Chronicles.

We were looking for a new SNC show idea and were brainstorming when Rachel came up with the idea of first times. We came up with a title and worked out the details and pitched it to Kambri Crews at Comix as an Ochi’s show. She liked it and the rest is history. I think it works because everyone has a lot of firsts and many are awkward, strange, and funny in hindsight. For example, I lost my virginity at 23.

SNC: The Virgin Chronicles / SNC 1st Year Anniversary is on Tuesday, September 1 at Comix (353 W. 14th Street, corner of 9th), in Ochi’s Lounge. Featuring: Ali Wong, Jane Aquilina, Rob O’Reilly, Margie Kment, David Cope, Mark Normand, Devin Sanchez, Jay Hoskins and special guests: Kambri Crews and Andrea Rosen. No cover, one item min. Facebook Event Invite.

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  He has a one-man show of his original music called Internet Adventure coming up at Ars Nova Theater on October 20, during their ANT Fest. His music is available on iTunes.


Posted on 27 Aug 2009 at 7:25am
Fun Shows, Volume 1

Fun Shows, Volume 1

By Andrew Singer

Here are some fun and inexpensive shows to check out in NYC.  Some of my favorites, in fact.

City Hall Comedy

This group of handsome and classy men always scores big laughs with a mellifluous blend of singing, dancing, puppetry and genuine camaraderie.  Their sketches explore the multitude of relationship types, from friendship to customer, captain, criminal and more.  Never afraid to let the antics get out of hand or improvise based on audience feedback or the particular setup of the stage that show (”Why does this restaurant have no tables??”).  Repeat viewings are encouraged as no two shows are quite the same!

City Hall Website

The Raspberry Brothers

Have you ever been interested in watching certain popular movies but been afraid that they might let you down?  Well fear no longer, because The Raspberry Brothers are here to elevate each of those films into a legendary experience.  These talented comedians have studied classics such as Top Gun, Garden State and The Terminator with impeccable preparation in order to rip apart every ridiculous moment with live commentary, jokes and sound effects.  They notice the tiniest details and running themes that wouldn’t emerge unless you had seen the film multiple times through.

On paper, it sounds like just another regular, good NYC comedy show.  But trust me, you need to go and see this for yourself.  This is THE funniest show I have seen in a very long time.  Every time I go (and I have attended all of their NYC shows except when I was on vaction), I laugh solidly for the full 2 hours the movie plays.  The show is extremely satisfying and even theraputic for any problems or difficult situations you may be facing at the time.

Raspberry Brothers Website

HERE Arts Center

There have been many times when I’m out with friends downtown, and we’re looking for something fun to do, and we end up strolling over to HERE and discover there’s an amazing show going up, and they happen to have a few open seats left.  It also wouldn’t hurt to check out their website and purchase tickets in advance.  HERE always puts on wonderfully creative shows in a warm, intimate space.  Tickets are quite inexpensive compared to most theater shows in the city.  I would hands-down recommend any show that went up there.

HERE’s Website

Simon Lovell’s Strange and Unusually Hobbies

Simon Lovell is an experienced magician who has perform magic and comedy all over the world.  He now does a regular show at SoHo Playhouse.  Not only is it magic, but it includes life stories, tales of rebellion, secrets of the trade.  Almost more of a one-man show that happens to include a few surprising tricks as well.  One of my favorite parts was when he described how to steal a divider from your local grocery store.  You get all the glories of the criminal world with none of the disastrous consequences.  Plus there is a bar, so drink away.

SoHo Playhouse’s Website

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  He runs a twitter feed that’s specifically focused on the creation and solving of math problems.


Posted on 02 Jul 2009 at 4:28am
Downloaded: YouTube Celebrity Showcase

Downloaded: YouTube Celebrity Showcase

By Pearl Chen

I heart YouTube. Hours and hours of my life have been spent blissfully and unconsciously clicking away on this website, the destination for many unexpected video discoveries, karaoke sing-alongs, and trips down memory lane. When I don’t know where to start though, that’s when I turn to my trusty YouTube celebrities — larger-than-life personalities on the web whose videos have garnered hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of page views. Go to their channel, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a lighter mood.


My favorite people online include HappySlip — a funny, Filipino-American gal named Christine Gambito who has made a chameleonic art of imitating her heavily accented family members – and Kevjumba, a cute Chinese-American dude called Kevin Wu who makes hilarity out of seemingly mundane high school (and now college) life. Don’t believe me? Watch this bizarrely endearing video about his elbow zit (yes, elbow zit), a clip that has garnered 617,000 page views and counting.

When I heard that both HappySlip and Kevjumba, along with a host of other Youtube celebrities with cult followings (such as the Obama impersonator and “Chocolate Rain” singer), were coming to New York and staging a live musical/comedy showcase on June 3, 2009, I was there faster than you could say “buffering.” Presented by Digital Content Partners, “Downloaded” was a chance to see these people, who have a combined 400 million page views on YouTube, outside of a little box on my laptop. Would they be as charming live as they are online?

The minute I stepped onto the floor of the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea, I knew I was in for a very, very young, tech-savvy night. The standing-room only concert floor was scattered with kids in high school or college, each sporting digital cameras or camera phones that lit up the dark like fireflies. Onstage, a DJ kept the atmosphere pumped up with all the latest hip-hop, techno, pop tracks — with an occasional throwback to some old-school hits. A giant screen on the wall played the live streaming video of this event being broadcasted to the world — but ironically froze up repeatedly when it tried to play some YouTube videos. So much for being tech-savvy.

Host Kevjumba burst onto the stage to wild cheers and asked everyone, “How many of you spend more time on the Internet than you do on TV?” Every single hand shot up. Yup, we were so past Generation Y. At a self-proclaimed “6 feet,” Kevjumba did appear taller than most everyone that night — something we could’ve never learned in a video. His signature mannerisms/tones of voice were all instantly recognizable and likable, and the crowds adored him. He didn’t come prepared with any kind of monologue or set though, as some hosts do, and that was disappointing. But he stayed onstage longer than any of the performers.

By far the most entertaining of these performers was Iman “Alphacat” Crosson, the man behind Barack Obama parodies “Single Ladies” and “Whatever You Like.” This guy was the real deal. He exploded onto the stage first with the hysterically choreographed “Single Ladies” and ended the night with “Blame It,” a defense of Obama’s three months in office, fused with his outrageously funny hip-hop/pop style and unmistakably commander-in-chief voice. The man was pure energy. I wished he had time to do some extended talking impersonations too.

Later, Tay Zonday sang a funky remix that started off with his viral-video song “Chocolate Rain,” which then morphed into a few other numbers — all done in that freakishly rich bass of a voice. He talks like that too.

Acoustic singers Kina Grannis (the Michelle Branch of YouTube) and David Choi (a Jason Mraz/John Mayer-channeler backed by Wong Fu productions) each brought us sweet, mellow ballads before teaming up later in the show for an aww-shucks duet.

And Christine Gambito, aka HappySlip, turned in one of the most gracious appearances of the night. She did a short comedy routine that was mostly a rehash of things we’ve seen on her channel — like the origins of her HappySlip name — before doing what she does best: classic impersonations of her aunt, mother, father, and cousin with that golden accent. Those grade-grubbing, child-comparing relatives she portrayed were such a dead-ringer for the stereotypical Asian parent, something that the heavily Asian audience could undoubtedly relate to. At the end of her set, at the request of audience members, Christine threw both of her slippers into the crowd.

The most boring parts of the show included the Olde English “sketch comedy” trio — I say “comedy” with hesitation because nothing about their randomly hatched-together set was particularly funny. You know a group’s in trouble when the live chat feeds streaming in over on the giant screen (”Get them off the stage!”) are more amusing than the jokes under the spotlight.

Then there was a makeup demonstration by YouTube’s queen of beauty Michelle Phan, an ill-conceived segment that was impossible to really see or hear clearly and had poor Kevjumba awkwardly making up things (including some semi-mean jokes) to fill the time. I’m a huge fan of this kid, but I have to say improv isn’t his strong suit. I think I like him a little more online.

The last performer of the night turned out to be a real tease. We waited 40 minutes for Esmee Denters in the dark, with only the heroic DJ keeping the show on its last string, before she finally made her way onstage (no apology or explanation given). Denters, a YouTube mega popstar who has appeared on Oprah and recently signed with a label to produce her first album, was talented without question. But no amount of Mariah Carey-like vocal runs was really worth waiting nearly three hours on our feet to see.

Overall, Downloaded was a mish-mash of talent and expectations. Just about everyone onstage had some kind of talent that is worthy of being celebrated/followed. But for some of them, their act is probably best kept primarily online, where they can truly work their magic. There is something about the quirkiness and intimacy of a cleverly edited YouTube video that doesn’t quite get translated live. And that’s perfectly fine… because as Christine says, “There is a whole other audience on the web.” In the age of YouTube, you don’t have to be a mainstream actor or musician to be a star.


Posted on 09 Jun 2009 at 4:24pm
Andy Kleiman: Comedic Boy Wonder

Andy Kleiman: Comedic Boy Wonder

By Andrew Singer

Despite his youthful charm, Andy Kleiman has been working the NYC comedy scene for many years now, not only doing solo stand-up but also with his sketch troupe Bacivo Nuggets and his podcast The Revolving Door.  He creates numerous whimsically off-beat characters and personas for his videos, which include his love for an internet sensation and his political campaign to find a girlfriend.

CS: You are a particularly cute young man.  Has that been helpful or detrimental for your career, and how?

AK: It’s actually been a total non-factor, both in comedy and in more romantic ventures.  Only gay guys and women my mom’s age tell me I’m cute.  How come it’s only gays and my mom who think I’m cute? Why can’t a 25-year-old straight girl find me cute? If they’re my age, then they’re gay and if they’re a woman, they’re 50 years old. I can’t seem to get that nailed down.

Please tell us all about your sketch comedy troupe, Bacivo Nuggets.  Definitely let us in on the meaning behind the name.

Bacivo Nuggets is myself and my two friends from college, Jake Serlen and Marcus Terry.  We all meet at Ithaca College, at the college’s comedy troupe aptly called the IC Comedy Club.  Marcus and I were both presidents of the club for three years (two of those years together as co-presidents) and Jake was an officer. The three of us all wanted to go into comedy after college whereas some were just doing it for fun. So we gravitated toward each other. After college, we still talked and even though we lived in different states (I was in Baltimore, Jake was in Philadelphia and Marcus was in Ithaca), we’d still get together to film sketches. I moved to New York a year after graduating and Marcus and Jake followed me a year after that, and that’s when we officially formed the Bacivo Nuggets.

Now, the origin of the name is quiet another story. I’ll tell you the long version and you can use as much of it as you want. The name was very important. We wanted it to be catchy, but nothing that people could visualize because then you might get preconceived notions of what the troupe is about. So one day Marcus and Jake were visiting me in Baltimore to work on some sketches, and later that night we went to my friend’s house for some drinking. After a bunch of beers, Jake and Marcus got high–I don’t smoke–and we’re talking about my dog’s name. My parents just got a dog and his full name was Murray Wiggles Nugget Kleiman (Wiggles and Nugget were the runners-up for his first name). Everyone thought Murray Wiggles Nugget was hilarious, and like drunks and stoners do, we repeated it a bunch of times until it formed into Murray’s Wiggle Nugget. Jake, Marcus and I looked at each other and decided if that name was still funny when we were sober, that would be the name of our troupe. Sadly, it lost some pop the following morning.
So, after some time went by we and some former members of the IC Comedy Club went back up to Ithaca to put on a show. During one of the meetings we discussed the name. Murray’s Wiggle was out, but we like the Nugget part. We toyed around with a bunch of variations and Matt Chura (former member) suggested we try for an anagram and suggested OBGYN. After some more toying we decided that would stand for Oh Boy Glistening Young Nuggets. We didn’t like that you could visualize what that was, since being able to do that was one of the things we wanted to avoid. Someone noted that that name sounded like “balls are covered in baby oil”. Then collectively, we wrote down what the anagram for that would be.  BACIBO. We agreed that that sounded too strange, I think it was me that suggested we change it to vegetable oil and the BACIVO Nuggets were born. From Murray’s Wiggle Nugget to Balls Are Cover In Vegetable Oil. I’m exhausted.

How did your interview talk show The Revolving Door Podcast first get created, and how has it evolved over time?

The Revolving Door Podcast got created with Jay Abbondanza and I living together for almost a year and cracking each other up and realizing this was too good to keep to ourselves. We always talked about doing a podcast, but never had the time or technological know how. Then, the economy took a dive, and Jay and I found ourselves without jobs but with plenty of free time, so we started it up. The great thing about us is that we agree on almost nothing, but no one finds him funnier than I do and visa versa.   We started out in comedy together and have known each other since 2003, so we have a lot of history. We have a very good chemistry together. Jay is a very outspoken person with strong opinions and I’m a tad more grounded, though he’s been bringing out the beast in me slowly but surely.

Like many ventures, it was a little rough in the beginning.  At the outset, we had no knowledge of how to do a podcast. It actually began as the JABcast, it was going to be Jay, Andy and Bob Bazer, our other comedian friend. Bob dropped out after the first one and so replaced him with a new guest each week. A revolving door of guests, if you will. After we had a few episodes under our belt, I learned the technical side of the podcast, but still ran into a lot of problems along the way, I finally got it figured out, and in the middle of January went on an uploading spree. That’s why if you look at our first ten or so episodes there’s a new one every month or so, then in the middle of January seven episodes got put in the span of a week. Now, we’re running smoothly. We have a new episode each Tuesday and have really found our stride. We mainly have comedians on the show and talk about anything and everything. The life of a comic, TV, sports, women, living in New York and lists. For some reason, we love lists. Lists are a big thing on the show. Things you would do with an unlimited amount of money, women that just don’t do it for ya,  which songs should you be embarrassed to like, but aren’t. I love the podcast, it’s my favorite thing I’m doing right now. I get to talk and make jokes (one of my favorite activities) with Jay (one of my favorite people) and my comic friends, what’s not to like? If I could do this for a living, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Oh and by the way, Jay and I agree the episode you were on was our best one.

Thanks, you’re too kind.  So, is there a big market for improvised historical re-enactments?

Hahaha, you know, this one took me a second to figure out what you were talking about. I can’t believe you remember that. That was soooo stupid. The first time I did it, I made one great joke and then for the duration of the show, that was my thing. Funny thing is, out of stand-up, sketch and improv, improv is by far my weakest, but that’s what Ted Greenberg thought I did well, so that is what I did. That was such a great show, I’m so sad it’s gone, I really think that show had legs. Le sigh. How like life.

You have a show called The Bacivo Nuggets Totally Flirt With You.  How long have you been doing this show? What’s the most / least awkward things have gotten between you and your lucky lady?

Our first show was on April 30th. They gave us a three month run, the last Thursday of each month. I guess you’ll just have to come to the show at The Creek in Long Island City on May 28th or June 25th to see what happens. We’re very excited for this show, we actually came up with that idea because Jake literally hits on everyone and thinks that every girl who makes eye contact is “totally flirting with him.”So when we were coming up with an idea for the show, we wanted to have audience interaction and I told Jake he couldn’t hit on the audience member we brought up, then we thought, why not? And the rest, as they say, is history.

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  His CDs are available in store and online at Other Music.


Posted on 25 May 2009 at 4:06am
Brent Sullivan: Pretty Chill Comedian

Brent Sullivan: Pretty Chill Comedian

By Andrew Singer

Brent Sullivan’s laid-back stories have resonated strongly with numerous fans, as you will find him hosting and performing at a wide variety of popular shows throughout the city.  He’s a very likable character, so whether he’s looking for a new job or simply trying not to cry, audiences will find themselves quickly warming up to him.

CS: A fan once described you as follows: “Brent Sullivan is my favorite gay comedian because you can’t even tell that he’s gay.” How do you feel about this? Is it an apt description?

BS: As a gay dude, I’ve never really fit the stereotypes of our community. Although most gay men don’t actually fit the stereotypes of being gay, so I guess it doesn’t really say that much. But in entertainment, it seems like a lot of gay people feel an obligation to fit the mold of ‘gay man.’

I make a point of not ‘coming out’ on stage. It’s implied in the jokes and stories that I tell, there’s no reason to take that extra step and explain that I’m gay. I’m very proud and open about my sexuality without being overbearing, so I think that is an appropriate description.

Please tell us about your monthly show “No Homo”.

“No Homo” is a show I produce with Gabe Liedman and Eliot Glazer. It’s a show with straight and gay comedians that’s an alternative to the Kathy Griffin’s of the world. Gay humor is monopolized by a few people, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffin most notably. For such a large population as the gay community, we think there should be more diverse entertainment options.

You’re also creating a one-man show called “A Conversation With Fred Phelps.”  How is that progressing?

“A Conversation with Fred Phelps” is almost done. It’s my one-man show about my experiences and opinions about the gay community, framed with quotes from Fred Phelps. Most people think of Phelps as the most freakish homophobe in America, which is true. But to me, his sermons (I’ve listened to dozens thus far) are so cartoonishly angry that I can’t help but laugh.

Also, I think extreme individuals like Phelps help galvanize a movement. When he comes around with his signs that say, “God Hates Fags,” even conservative evangelicals are turned off – it makes us all realize we have more in common than we once thought.

In which part of the comedy world do you feel most at home, and why?

I’ve been doing stand up the longest, so that’s where I feel most comfortable. I guess I’m a little self-centered, but I happen to like the attention it brings. Unless I bomb.

What are your thoughts on the current US political landscape? Which members of the cabinet do you think will become emerging superstars?

You really opened up a can of worms, soce. The cabinet that Obama assembled was really impressive, I thought.  I’m most excited to see what happens with Napolitano (Secretary of Homeland Security) and Sebelius (Secretary of Health and Human Services). Not only are both capable former governors, but they also previously had lots of presidential rumors, especially Sebelius. So, I’m intrigued to see where their career trajectory leads if they really thrive in their Cabinet roles.

I also can’t wait to see what happens with the open Supreme Court seat. Unfortunately, as we all know, Souter was very liberal, so Obama won’t be able to make a dent in this freakishly conservative court. But it’s exciting to think about Obama making a few Supreme Court picks that help create the foundation for a new, more progressive and compelling liberal wing of the court. We’ll see.
Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  His next full-length show will be on Thursday, May 21 at 9pm at Desmond’s Tavern.

Posted on 12 May 2009 at 1:56am