|Wyatt Cenac headlines the first installment of Get It Out There on April 25th.|
I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to present some of my favorite New York comedians on Wednesday on behalf of BAM and IFC. I'm especially humbled by this opportunity because... what do I know? I started circling around the scene post-Rififi, when the room that most recently served as New York comedy's epicenter for independent, and comedian-generated live shows shut down a few years back. After that, the scene scattered, and many seeds have sprouted here in Brooklyn.
People who should know say there's a comedy renaissance underway. Without decades of experience (unless you count the years I spent channel surfing as a kid, stopping at every brick wall backdrop), all I know is that there's more independent comedy happening, and with more interest and support comes more diversity and experimentation, allowing me to operate independently as a comedy producer. There are so many working comedians in Brooklyn developing their own presence outside of traditional structures that helping them advance their projects has become my day job.
Some people (I'm lookin' at you, Bill Burr, you extremely talented sourpuss) see club comedy and so-called "alternative" comedy as mutually exclusive. I'm not convinced. Marc Maron, for example, has been touring the country's comedy clubs the whole time he's been growing his ground-breaking WTF Podcast into a popular enterprise that has ushered in dozens (hundreds?! There must be at least 90 out of LA) of comedy podcasts. They may not boast as many listeners as WTF, but they're proof positive that the market is there. People are looking for new comedy in new ways. There's an audience beyond club-goers, and in this hyper-connected age, it's utterly fascinating to watch as the comedians figure out how to reach them.
Louis CK, for example, said "f**k your brick wall" by not only skipping an expensive, flashy set but also wholly circumventing the system when he self-funded, self-produced, and self-released his latest special "Live at the Beacon Theater" last year. The result was unprecedented.
The point is these are exciting times for comedy not because of one emerging trend, but because of the innovative ways that comedians are finding to connect with audiences. Conveniently, there are more and more people receptive to new comedy. It means that there are countless opportunities for comedians to work on material in front of an audience, which is how you get good. Comedy clubs are no longer the only way to do that, and these days you can find present and future famous headliners working on new jokes in neighborhood bars any night of the week.
I haven't talked about the comedians who will be performing on Wednesday at the inaugural program, I know. The truth is that they are all much better at what they do than I am at describing it. What I am good at is building a show that is meant to be experienced live, with deft and surprising performances from some of our city's own pioneers of a very funny new frontier.
So trust me, come on Wednesday, and if not one of them makes you laugh, I’ll eat my hat.