Hy on the Fringe: Your Personal Guide to the
2011 New York International Fringe Festival
This Page Was Most Recently Updated: Monday August 29th 2011
Notable Comedy Shows
If you visit this site during the rest of the year, you're probably a comedy fan. You should therefore be aware that there are a number of funny shows at the Fringe. They include the following by stellar comics from NYC, and one from Chicago who's especially notable for providing a rare, deep look at comedy history:
Tricia Rose Burt (I
Will Be Good), Jeffrey Sweet (You
Only Shoot the Ones You Love),
and Andrea Alton (The F*cking World According To Molly)
• You Only Shoot the Ones You Love: Playwright, author, and improvisor Jeffrey Sweet tells tales of legendary figures in comedy such as Del Close, who virtually created improvisation as we know it today. This goes beyond laughs; Sweet is offering a precious history of some of the greatest talents in comedy who've helped shape how we think, imagine, and experience. There's no show I was more eager to catch at this year's festival than Sweet's. Especially if you're one of my year-round comedy readers, don't miss it. For video excerpts, please click here and here. For my review, please click here.
• I Will Be Good: Ace storyteller Tricia Rose Burt details how she transformed from a proper Southern girl who did all the right things into an improper New York artist. For my review, please click here.
• The F*cking World According To Molly: One of the highlights of FringeNYC 2008 was Allen Warnock and Andrea Alton (members of sketch troupe Freedumb) teaming up to create hilarious characters in the very silly and fun show Carl & Shelly: Best Friends Forever. This year Andrea is flying solo to portray Molly “Equality” Dykeman , "a security guard at PS 339 who is having her first poetry show." The Village Voice's Michael Musto says "She's a scream!" If you check out her photo (above right), your first reaction will probably be to scream too. For video sneak peaks, please click here and here.
Some Comedy Advice for FringeNYC Performers
While I'm talking about comedy, here's some advice for FringeNYC performers who've never experienced an NYC stage before.
Even if you're the top comic in your area, please be aware that humor often doesn't translate smoothly across long distances.
For example, John Oliver is now one of the greatest stand-ups in comedy history. (That's not hype, by the way; am simply stating a fact.) But when John first moved to NYC, his timing was too slow—he was used to UK audiences, who are more laid-back than Americans in general and New Yorkers in particular.
John was a quick learner. But even so, he had the luxury of retooling his craft by playing small Manhattan & Brooklyn venues night after night.
You, on the other hand, will mostly be judged by your very first FringeNYC performance.
The single biggest mistake Fringe productions make is treating the first performance as a kind of rehearsal. It's actually the "make or break" show for the whole run, because the majority of both reviews and word-of-mouth buzz will come from that initial audience.
And New York audiences are different from any others—including those in LA. We're quicker to recognize the joke, and less patient with the obvious, the unoriginal, and the cheap laugh. (I've seen way too many LA comics who were shocked that they fatally bombed within 60 seconds of doing an anemic, plastic routine before a sharp NYC crowd...) We especially value bravery, honesty, and reacting organically in the moment (e.g., being quick-witted).
If you'll be in town on Monday August 8th, come watch Whiplash at 11:00 pm at UCBT. (You can make reservations by clicking here.) It's often the best stand-up show in NYC, and will provide a feel for pacing. And it's free.
You can also find free comedy open mics for testing out bits of material virtually every night via my daily-updated comedy site HyReviews.com.
New Yorkers are among the toughest comedy audiences in the world. But if you can make us laugh, we'll love you for it...because you'll have really earned it.
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Introduction to FringeNYC 2011
FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series
Beyond the Encore Series
Show Ratings & Rankings
News & Buzz
Best Video Promos & Sneak Peeks
What's In A Name?
Notable Comedy Shows
Notable Gay-Themed Shows
Shows With Stars
Rising Stars to Look For
Shows That Sold Out Performances
Shows That Received Added Performances
Key FringeNYC 2011 Info
Fast Food Recommendations
FringeNYC 2011 Awards
Hy's Previous FringeNYC Coverage:
Other Notable Pages on This Site:
Best NYC Live Comedy (Updated Daily)
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HyReviews.com Insider Freebies & Discounts
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Copyright © 2011 Hy Bender