The exposed brick, narrow cavern of Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City was filled to the brim on Friday night — for the club’s pre-festival event.
The festival began the following Saturday and will run until May 20. During the week-long stint, 100 comedians will compete in 22 shows for the winner-takes-all prize of $2,500. No. 1 also receives a week of work at the Laughing Skull in Atlanta and at Morty’s Comedy Joint in Indianapolis, 52 paid spots at Laughing Devil and entry into The San Francisco Comedy and Burrito Festival.
A winner will be picked by the nine judges, who are big casting directors, agents, managers, and TV executives.
A few of the competing comedians are Alycia Cooper, Thomas Chambers, Will Evans and David DeVito.
The crowd Friday night was young. When comedian Karen Begreen, who will compete on May 18, asked the audience to raise their hand if they have children, only three people out of the about 40 there responded affirmatively.
However, on the one hand perhaps many moms and dads didn’t want to be put under Begreen’s hilarious but brutal microscope. At one point she asked a young women sitting close to the tiny stage what she did for living? She responded, “Human resources.”
“Oh, you fire people,” Begreen retorted.
The Harvard graduate and self-proclaimed stressed-out mom wrote the books “Perfect is Overrated” and “Following Polly.” Her jokes Friday night continued in the vein of stressed-out mom and how her youngest son constantly asks ridiculous questions.
Jason Marcus, who has performed at tens of clubs and colleges around the States, hosted the show and probably got the worst reaction of any of the performers. Perhaps the audience hadn’t yet felt the effects of the 14 draft beer selection. Or perhaps the jokes were a little too real. He joked about an unhealthy relationship with his dad and a bad relationship with his girlfriend. Attendees probably were meant to believe the jokes were not based in fact; nevertheless, few seemed able to laugh hard at any of the comments.
Laughing Devil owner Steve Hostetter, a gangly redhead, got a hearty response with jokes about his Jewish family and the unpolitical remarks his adopted black, Jewish sister would make growing up. For example, how she wouldn’t mind having a slave so she didn’t have to do the dishes.
Hostetter retorted that historically as a Jew and African American, she would probably not be on the favorable side of that wish.
Todd Barry, who has performed on all the major late-night talk shows such as Conan O’Brien’s, and has had some bit parts on TV shows such as “Flight of the Concords,” “Lucky Louie” and “Sex in the City,” ended the night with a solid performance.
He has a soft-spoken way of delivering self-deprecating humor that had most of crowd giggling.
“I never understood the concept of summer school. The teacher’s going to go up there and go, ‘OK, class, you know that subject you couldn’t grasp in nine months? We’re going to whip it out in six weeks,” is one of the jokes from his endless repertoire.
When: May 12-20, times vary.
Where: Laughing Devil Comedy Club, LIC
Tickets: $20 at night,
$5 lunch shows