With the NBA Finals upon us and the end of the River Bar showcase (becoming a weekly open mic starting in July) I thought it would be a good time to announce the first and only All-Always Be Funny teams from both the River Bar and Village Lantern shows (criteria was crowd reaction, my reaction, difficulty of show (tilted heavily towards River Bar participants) and Paul The Bartender’s response if at River Bar). But before getting to this I’d like to thank every comic that has appeared on my shows the last year.
Now here comes a long comedy-sports analogy because I like both and know that 80% of comedians will not understand (so hopefully someone will be able to translate it into Marvel Comics language or something else that will compute)
Yannis Pappas – The best performance at any show I ran this past year (July 2009-June 2010). Granted it was at the Village Lantern which is like a Comedy Central Presents compared to half of the River Bar shows this past year, but it was a great performance that would have worked in a broom closet. Killed it with a relentless energy and various pantomimes of sexual acts on stage. I’m not sure there’s anyone tougher to follow in the city right now, but one of my favorites to watch.
Rob O’Reilly– One of only a few comics to actually kill at River Bar when patronage was well down. Also one of only 3 comics to earn an enthusiastic rating from Paul, the bartender at River Bar.
Helen Hong– ditto Rob O’Reilly – but was Paul the Bartender’s favorite comic. One of the few comics to actually make multiple appearances at River Bar.
Rory Scovel – At a poorly attended show at River Bar, managed to save the show, by doing a 5 minute play by play of a playoff baseball game as if the pitcher’s inner monologue were a sensitive gay man.
J-L Cauvin – if only for mere cumulative laughs from having been on every show sans one. And I am Paul the bartender’s 3rd favorite comic.
Sean Donnelly – except for me, logged the most time at River Bar, which slowly became a torture chamber for comedy. And despite this, SD was able to bully crowds into paying attention and eventually laughing.
Matt Maragno– the Pau Gasol performance – great, but overshadowed historically by being on the same show as Yannnis Pappas (Kobe in this analogy with the same verbal aggression that Kobe has on the court and in Denver motels) on the same show. Every resident of Gramercy should hear “Coffee and Cream” (and my use of the word “historically” above is limited to my memory of comedy shows I run)
Dave Lester– Unlike the NBA we had to wait until here to see our first full fledged black guy (also from the show with Maragno and Pappas). Got an enthusiastic response from my friend John. To put this in perspective, John once skipped a show of mine at a bar to go to a bar next door, just to avoid comedy. So if he considered it worthy, then it was.
Jess Burkle– Saw this guy murder within his first months in comedy (which goes to show a Harvard degree and experience in acting can go a long way in making a comedian). I was not present for his ABF performance, but word of mouth was very strong and having seen him kill in Hoboken at The Goldhawk (the ABA to ABF’s NBA) I have complete faith in this decision.
Mike Lawrence– strong set on a night that was almost derailed by an awkward Ray Combs Jr. vs. Joe DeRosa quasi-showdown. It is also worth noting that Mike Lawrence just edged out Ray Combs Jr’s testicles which made a 20 second appearance on stage at the Village lantern.
Thanks again everyone – now come say goodbye to River Bar’s showcase THIS THURSDAY. It will be a great show and followed by the Lakers-Celtics Game 1. So if you like comedy, hoops and comedy-hoops themed blogs then you should be there. It is free and the lineup is excellent.