Women are taking over comedy clubs and bars across New York City to bring their own stand up and storytelling shows to the stage. Here are five of our favorites that you should definitely check out this summer (and beyond). By Carly Petrone.
Blaise Allysen Kearsley started the How I Learned Series back in 2009. Every month, storytellers and comedians hit the stage to talk about a specific topic (it can range from “How I Learned Things Aren’t Always What They Seem” to “How I Learned To Make The Grade: Stories About School”). This show is always entertaining, thanks to the energy that is created between the storytellers and the audience. “I think the most memorable shows are the ones where the audience is just as on fire as the performers and there’s a real connection and we’re able to play off of the crowd. That’s when some really great spontaneous moments happen and they’re usually hilarious. There have also been really emotional moments, sometimes in the most unexpected places. The best shows are the perfect mash-up of hilarity and heartache – laughing, crying, feeling feelings,” says host Kearsley. An impressive list of people have shared some of their most vulnerable stories over the past six years. Ophira Eisenberg (NPR’s Ask Me Another), Dave Hill, and the late David Carr and Taylor Negron are just a few big names to have graced the stage. Come be a part of the experience when the next show, “How I Learned I’ll NEVER Do That Again!…Most Likely” comes to Union Hall on Wednesday, June 24th. Event begins at 8 p.m. and admission is $6 in advance/$10 at the door. Be on the lookout for a “How I Learned” book – that’s another dream of Kearsley’s – which will probably one day come true.
Online dating can be…well…awkward. Nobody knows this better than comedian Lane Moore. This funny lady is a Sex & Relationships Editor for Cosmopolitan by day and a rock star by night (she’s in a band called It Was Romance). She also hosts Tinder Live at The Knitting Factory every month – the show that gives the audience the power to find Moore her next date. Basically, her Tinder profile is put up on the big screen while the crowd gives their opinion on whether or not she should “swipe right or left.” And Moore’s commentary will make you cry laughing as she randomly sends texts messages to those that peak her interest. She’s not even afraid to give them a call right then and there. Some pretty famous names have also been a part of this hilarious show. From the women of Orange is the New Black and Broadway stars like Lauran Benanti to writers from GIRLS, Broad City, and Jimmy Fallon, they all help create that electric energy on stage. “I’m really meticulous about who I choose as guests. They have to be really funny and also really great people because the show is always hilarious and never mean. I’m very protective of that,” says Moore. What started out as an experiment has morphed into one seriously funny show that according to Moore, is “taking the sting out of how lonely and disappointing online dating actually is.” Next month’s show will celebrate Pride weekend with an all-LGBTQ line-up that includes Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately), Sara Benincasa (Playboy), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing), and Matt Bellassai (BuzzFeed). Show starts at 8 p.m. on June 26th and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Story Time with Val Roder
Val Roder is the creator, producer, and host of Story Time with Val Roder, the show that brings four improvisers, comics, and storytellers together to talk about everything from quirky hobbies to their funniest city stories. She and her co-producer, Mel Rocco, are the brains behind booking the talent, venues, as well as choosing the themes of each show. When they’re not busy promoting the show, they’ll also performing. “I started this show to both push myself to perform regularly as wells as to give an outlet to my funny friends. It’s also provided me with a platform to approach comics I look up to, many of which I’ve had on the show,” says Roder. She decided to focus on storytelling in order to broaden the pool of talent to pull from – it’s easier to ask a standup to do a storytelling format than the other way around. The best part? The environment is always relaxed thanks to the fact that the audience gets to sit up on stage with the performers while they tell their stories. The show just premiered in L.A. last week and as far as the rest of the summer goes, Val plans on traveling across the U.S. in order to inspire new shows as well as new material. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Check the Story Time with Val Roder Facebook page for upcoming performances and locations.
Robin Gelfenbien is not only one funny lady but she’s the creator of amazing ice cream cakes. Now you can hang out with Robin and try her delicious homemade treats during Yum’s the Word, the storytelling series that she hosts at Le Poisson Rouge. Every month, she throws a few lucky audience members a birthday party with Mad Libs, balloons, and a night of juicy stories as told by some of today’s funniest people. “I brought one of my homemade ice cream cakes to a party where I didn’t know a lot of people, and they went nuts for them. That’s when I decided to blend my two passions – storytelling and ice cream cakes – and Yum’s the Word was born,” says Gelfenbien. A lover of a good pun, Gelfenbien uses the names of ice cream to inspire the themes of her shows. Mister Softee (Awkward S*x Stories) and Chubby Hubby (Married Couples Stories) are just a few fun examples of what to expect. Speaking of ice cream, in honor of National Ice Cream Day, Yum’s the Word is hitting the streets for the 2nd Annual Yum’s the Word Ice Cream Tour. Meet Robin and friends at Melt on Orchard street before moving onto Brooklyn’s MilkMaid Tasting Room and Ample Hills Creamery. The fun begins at 12 p.m. And don’t miss next month’s show on July 14th at 7:30 p.m. It’s going to be all about summer fun so come hear what Johanna Gohman (Salon, xoJane) and others have to say about their favorite summer memories. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Oh, and if you’re lactose intolerant, don’t worry, Robin has Lactaid pills on hand. Seriously.
It’s been two years since comedian Robyn Schall started Ladies Night with Robyn Schall. It’s helped both amateur and professional female comedians shine on stage – giving each of them a real voice in an industry that’s normally a boys club. The hilarious show has featured some of NYC’s funniest ladies including Rachel Feinstein, Jessimae Peluso, Emma Willmann, and Yamaneika Saunders. If you’re a fan of sketch comedy, you’ll be happy to know that Robyn features some of her own sketch videos in between sets. Although it is primarily an all-female comedy production, there have been a few big name male celebrities who have stopped by Carolines to say hello. Norm McDonald recently popped up to try out his latest material. “Although he is not a female comic, we obviously made the exception. He was awesome. Besides being so hilarious, he was so nice and supportive. The best part was when I brought him up on stage he gave me a kiss on my cheek. I freaked out!” says Schall. Other than getting kisses from fellow celebrities, she hopes to go from a live show to a TV format one day. Until then, you can see her next Ladies Night on July 14th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.