Tag Archives: Chris Rock

Review: “Make ‘Em Laugh: 35 Years of The Comic Strip”

PhotobucketDon’t let the names of the hilarious funnymen and women on the cover fool ya, this book is NO JOKE!

Released earlier this week from Skyhorse Publishing “MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club of All Time!” is a must-have if you are a fan of stand up comedy, the behind the scenes lives of comedians or just the history of show business in general. A New York institution, the Comic Strip Live! was born out of the imagination of Richie Tienken, Robert Wachs and John McGowan after seeing a place for more competition in the just-about-to-burst stand up comedy scene of the mid-1970’s. The oft-fabled ‘comedy boom’ hadn’t yet happened, but there were still plenty of comedians to go around, looking for anywhere to get up on stage and with limited stage time to be had, the opening of the seven-night-a-week Comic Strip was a blessing for the burgeoning community.

“Make ‘Em Laugh,” written by Tienken and comedy writer Jeffrey Gurian tells the story of the club through both the perspectives of the club and its longtime ownership, but also the talent that has come through the doors. Many of the stories shared in these 200+ pages are hilarious, insightful tales being shared now for the very first time. Contributors to the book include Billy Crystal, Paul Reiser, Ray Romano, Lewis Black, Larry Miller, Colin Quinn (who got his start as a bartender at the club), Jerry Seinfeld (who was the long-time nightly host at the Yorkville establishment) and Chris Rock, who not only generously contributed the introduction for the book, but also is one of the most interesting stories in the history of the club, as the kid from Brooklyn who would make the trek into the city every night to work as a busboy for the club with the hopes of getting thrown up on stage late in the evening for Late Night. But as history knows, that all changed when a powerful young man named Eddie Murphy stopped by the Strip one night and Chris got his chance to shine. The rest is show biz history.

The book is a powerful, wonderful account that shows where the club came from and where it is today. Divided into sections – The Older Kids, which gets insight from the first few generations of Comic Strip acts including George Wallace, Joe Bolster, Wayne Federman and the aforementioned Quinn, Seinfeld and Reiser to The Younger Kids where we hear from some of todays biggest comedy stars including Jeffrey Ross, Judah Friedlander, Lisa Lampanelli, Jim Breuer and Jim Gaffigan, Friends of the Family where we talk to Rory Rosegarten, former owner of neighbor club Catch A Rising Star Rick Newman, and longtime landlord for the Comic Strip David Eberhart. The final chapters of the book at devoted to the future of the club, both listing off some of the more promising, exciting “Next Generation” talents that the Strip is showcasing as well and drawing attention to steps the club is taking to be stay up-to-date be the most socially and technologically relevant club of the 21st Century.

Beyond simply conducting interviews, what makes “Make ‘Em Laugh” truly shine is its openness and honesty. While most would expect any book written by those associated with a club, about their club to be self-congratulatory, Gurian and Tienken allow for the entire story to be told – even the occasionally less-than-flattering stories. No marriage is perfect and sometimes the relationship being the talent and the management can be a difficult one, but Gurian and Tienken wanted to whole story to be told, and it was. Brilliantly.

At a time when anyone can send a few emails and get a few quick pull-quotes and throw together a quick “feature” for a blog or website, it is encouraging and delightful to see the effort and lengths that have gone into forming “Make ‘Em Laugh” the book that it is. This was clearly no hastily thrown together side-project. Great hours were spent cultivating this book and all of that extra work truly pays off. And as with any book, the reader is the one who ends up benefiting the most.

A four-year-plus labor or love, “Make ‘Em Laugh” is a must-have read for every comedian and a very exciting, peek-behind-the-curtain for any comedy fan.

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Chris Rock stopped by the Comic Strip on Easter!

Long time friend of the club, Chris Rock stopped by the Comic Strip Live! last night to work out some new material and delight our great Easter Sunday crowd!

Chris has been known to stop by the club at a moments notice for years! You never know when he, or any of our famous alumni are going to be stopping by!

Here are a few pictures from last night:

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Come on out to see who will pop in tonight!

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Question of the Late Night 4/4/10

…and we’re back…

or, more correctly, I’m back from LA, where we filmed some great interviews for Eat, Drink, Laugh, the documentary about the Club we told you about earlier this year.

It’s been a great night here at the World Famous Comic Strip Live:

Chris Rock stopped by to work out his material for Letterman tomorrow night.

AND, the Late Night Crew set up camp and talked with us for this week’s Question of the Night.

Q: What’s the best part about hanging out in the lobby while you wait to go on stage?

A:

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Adam Cozens: “Even when there’s only a couple people left in the crowd, a good Lobby Life makes it worth our time to be here at the Comic Strip.”

Sam Morril: “It’s great to have people to run joke with and help get mentally prepared for the stage.”

Joe Machi: “It’s the fellowship and penis jokes.”

Matt Jenkins: “Networking with other comics.”

DF Sweedler: “I love when Chris Rock stops by right before my spot.”

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See the Stars of Tomorrow…TONIGHT!

No comedy club has jump-started the careers of more all-star talent then the Comic Strip Live! Known as the best place in Manhattan to catch a legend in the making, if you want to get in the club, you have to do Late Night. On any given weeknight, you might be watching the next headlining comedy superstar work out material in the wee hours of the morning. Some of our proud Late Night alumni:

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From the Archives…

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Comic Strip Live Alumni on the Big Screen!

This Friday, former stand-up comedian, now film producer Judd Apatow will release the third film that he has both written and directed, FUNNY PEOPLE.  The comedy follows two stand-up comedians, one in the waning days of a once-vibrant career, and another whose star is just beginning to shine. Starring an eclectic cast featuring the talents of Seth Rogan, Eric Bana, Leslie Mann, Jason Schwartzman, the RZA and Jonah Hill, FUNNY PEOPLE’s starring role belongs to a long-time friend of the Comic Strip Live, Mr. Adam Sandler.

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A Brooklyn native, Sandler started at the Comic Strip in the late 80’s performing alongside the likes of Chris Rock, Kevin Nealon and other future industry stars as part of the clubs now legendary “Late Night” roster, where hungry young comics sign up early in the evening in the hope of getting on stage at the end of the night. Sandler has since gone on to become one of the biggest drawing comedic talents and most in-demand actors in the world. But it all started at the Strip.

The film also features many more hilarious Comic Strip alumni including Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Wayne Federman, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, Orny Adams, Al Lubel, George Wallace, Mark Schiff, Carol Leifer, and Aziz Ansari, who’s character “Raaaaaaaandy” is becoming a fast-rising internet sensation.

This is not the Comic Strip’s first association with a major motion picture centered around the topic of stand-up comedy. In 1988, Tom Hanks would frequently stop by the club to practice his stand-up chops as he worked out material for the hit film PUNCHLINE, in which he played a young struggling stand-up comedian.

With so many stars born at the club, you can’t afford to miss a single night at the Comic Strip Live. Visit our website to make a reservation.

FUNNY PEOPLE opens this Friday, July 31st. Knock ‘em dead, Adam!

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Special Wednesday night guest: JEFFREY ROSS

About last night…

AMAZING show! Over 170 comedy fans turned out for what was much more than any seemingly ordinary mid-week comedy show! In addition to hilarious sets by Brian Scott McFadden, Ted Alexandro, Colin Kane, Joe Bolster, Al Ducharme and more, one of the evening many highlights was a special appearance by long-time friend of the Comic Strip Live!, the Roast Master General: Jeffrey Ross!

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Jeffrey Ross, live on stage at the Comic Strip Live!, July 22nd, 2009

The now L.A.-based comic and Dancing with the Stars veteran was at the club to practice some of his witty zingers for the upcoming Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers. And oh man…he sure had some gems. Looking forward to watching!

The Comic Strip Live! has long been a second home for it’s alumni and has gained recognition for being a great place to catch an unexpected performer, like Jeff, live and in person. In the last year, the club has had unannounced performances by: Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, George Wallace, Caroline Rhea, Bill Burr, Jim Norton, Tony Rock, Greg Giraldo, Artie Lange, Mike Birbiglia & more. No night of the week gets you better odds of seeing your favorite comedian up close.

To try and guess when your comedy idol will pop in, check out the clubs calendar!

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