If you're going to a comedy club, the club
across the street is the alternative.
Yeah I think a lot of alternative comedy is the equivalent of poetry that
doesn't rhyme - it's like jokes that aren't funny. That's what I've seen
mostly...but then sometimes alternative means those jokes that people tell you
are too esoteric and only the top 10% of the crowd would get it...those jokes
make up the bulk of some alternative comedy.
alternative comedy..See: Mime
Nowadays, if you ask a performer what they do, chances are that whether
they're in a sketch group or a monologuist, they'll tell you they're an
Seriously though, is this an actual art, or just a weird little thing that
weird little people like.
NEACOW <nea...@aol.com> wrote in article
>What exactly is alternative comedy?
In New York, there seem to be two different definitions of alternative
One is comedy performances that to take place in weird little
theaters like Surf Reality and Collective Unconscious. Some of the comics
there may use props, mug the audience or drink urine. But a lot of regular
setup-punchline comics who are hungry for stage time perform at those
A second type of "alternative comedy" is comedy done by sketch comics and
improv comics who want to get onto shows like Saturday Night Live. They
tend to be older, better-trained and backed by more trust funds than the
Surf Reality folks. They show up at fake alternative clubs like Luna
Lounge. They are about as alternative as the performers in a Carol Burnett
One thing to keep in mind: no matter what kind of comic you are, it
probably makes more sense to get some funny performers together, rent Surf
Reality for two hours and put on your own show than it does to "bring
three paying guests" (or seven paying guests, or 15 paying guests) to a
preshow at a regular comedy club in New York.
Surf Reality is about $50 for two hours. Bringing three paying guest to a
preshow will probably cost them a total of $45 to $60. So, even if you
perform by yourself and just three paying guests show up, you'll do better
financially by renting Surf. If you have good, genuinely marketable show
and you're good at marketing (huge if's), you might be able to get 20
guests at $6 apiece and make a $70 profit. If you ever get to the point
where you are attracting 20 new, satisfied audience members every week,
not just repeat visits by friends, then you will probably be close to the
point at which clubs and agents are happy to talk to you.
If you really hate alternative sperformance spaces, you can achieve
similar goals by paying a little more money and getting space at a
Al Bell's Bell Jar - http://users.vnet.net/allbell/belljar.html *
"I'm just crazy about it." - Sylvia Plath
Featuring: "Terror at 30 Rock (or: The Peacock Had Fangs)"
all...@vnet.net *NOTE CHANGE IN ADDRESS
Is it "art"? Dunno...but it seems to appeal to students here in Cambridge, or a
certain type of person. If you recycle, don't eat meat, pierce yourself in
every place you can think of, call your tattoos "body art" and know what a
"goth" is and like it...you're probably into alternative comedy.
By the way ... in case there is any confusion ... the comedy studio is NOT
alternative comedy - mr. hubby to be is there this weekend and he's not
alternative he's just...himself. But...they are alternative-friendly in the
sense that the Weekly Week kids do a PS Absurdo thing there on Friday
nights...but even at that, they are aware that the crowd at the studio is not
the crowd at the Green Street Grill. Make no mistake, alternative comics know
that there is a standup tradition and the good ones can roll with the gig and
This new trend, I hear, emerged in the coffee houses and places like that.
There's this place here called "Passim" that always gave stage time to
alternative comedy, going back many years. In the recent past, it was more like
the Whoopee Goldberg stage show she did, you know - where you shine such a
bright light on life as it really is that, when you're done, you just feel
guilty for everything. Newer trends don't seem to be guilt-laden indictments
of society, but attempts at making life seem....absurd? Yeah, I think that's
what I want to say.
Alternative comedy is definitely growing in popularity especially here in the
Cambridge area...and Eugene Mirman, who perhaps ushered it in better than
anyone else around, is getting lots of ink and attention these days, but
whether it will displace stand up as an art is anybody's guess...I don't think
so. I like punch lines, and I like to laugh. It doesn't seem to have as much of
a format. One man reads letters he exchanged with a major corporation about a
product...Eugene has a bit about reading his favorite fortunes from fortune
cookies...and Eugene has a lot of references to Japanese poetry. I never use my
degree, except when I am watching Eugene perform.
Why can't Helen Keller drive? Because....she's blind...AND DEAF!!!!! (laugh,
mug, on to next joke).
Kaufman created a monster.
>(laugh, mug, on to next joke).
The way I've seen it is:
"laugh, mug, flip through your handful of crumpled notes for 2 minutes"
>alternative comedy: an alternative to comedy
Does this mean when I make people cry, I'm an Alternative Comic?
-=- Bob (I hate it when that happens) Crawford
"He who is silent is understood to consent."
Co-me-di-an; n; 1 One who has chosen not to consent.
>>Why can't Helen Keller drive? Because....she's blind...AND DEAF!!!!! (laugh,
>>mug, on to next joke).
>There's also "bad": Because she's dead.
If she skied into a tree, would she make a sound?
>>Does this mean when I make people cry, I'm an Alternative Comic?
What about if they just fall asleep?
Stu (delete * from email address)
Happiness is not having what you want.
It is wanting what you have.
No, that's experimental theater.
> Delishhhh <deli...@aol.com> wrote:
> >>Does this mean when I make people cry, I'm an Alternative Comic?
> What about if they just fall asleep?
Then your called a political writer. =)
CrazyComic (éżč) ™ <----- (Not my photo)
Eugene cracks me up...I think he has a huge future..but you're right...I can't
see that displacing stand-up.
The Lounge Soot: A night of alternative comedy
Every Thursday at 10:30 at the Green Street Grill in Central Square
280 Green Street Cambridge, MA $3
"One of the smartest comedy nights in town." - The Boston Phoenix
My humor homepage: http://hamp.hampshire.edu/~ebmF92/index.html
New! Weekly Week Homepage: http://www.weeklyweek.com
(Boston's only redundant
news source for news)
Is this another one of those "bigger is better" threads?
Stu (delete * from email address)
"When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane,
most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear
that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition
continuously until death do them part."
-George Bernard Shaw
Some of it is wonderful and I am a big supporter of Eugene's club, and of the
Weekly Week (perhaps the only alternative comedy paper in print). It's just
that, like Standup, there is also crap.
I think a lot of this thread is tongue-in-cheek jokes about it not being funny
cause it isn't packed with punchlines.... I know some standups who have
experimented with alternative comedy to stretch a bit and have enjoyed it.
Now...back to my nipple piercing class...
NEACOW <nea...@aol.com> wrote in article
In Boston I was part of a twenty year old artists group, Mobius, which
also runs a gallery and performance space (non-profit). I developed and
presented two evening length shows over the past five years there, did a
little touring, and then the funding dried up for tours. The second
show, titled "Subject To Stress" (co-written and performed with Mary
Keefe O'Brien) got great reviews in the Boston Globe and the Boston
Phoenix and caught the eye of a production company in LA. 7 months ago
Mary and I moved from Boston to LA.
There wasn't alot of opportunity for stage time in Boston to work stuff
out and there were few medium sized venues to put up 90 minute shows. In
LA I can get stage time (open mics) almost every night of the week. I am
also a regular in "Alexandra Karovas Alternative Comedy Show" at the
Industry (TV/MP) is interested in "alternative comedy" that's smart,
funny and has a point. There are a lot of comics who ride the line
between club friendly stand up and alternative. If you do road work you
gotta have some dick jokes or at least subject matter that the consumer
can connect with. I don't think that alternative comedy necessarily
means that the form presented on stage is not akin to the art of stand
up. I think much of it is different in presentation style, subject
matter, and sometimes timing, but under the hood it's still comedy. I
have seen comics doing club material in alternative venues who were
baffled by the lack of audience response. The subject matter (dating,
being cheap, watching television, airline jokes, hotels....) turned the
audience off and the jokes did not cull anything that hadn't been heard
before or showed a new viewpoint.
Plug: I'll be back in Boston (OK, Cambridge) as part of the line up at
the Comedy Studio at the Hong Kong, this Friday the 23rd at 8PM, for one
night. I'll be at the Comedy Store in the Belly Room on 2/8, 2/15, and
2/22 at 8PM.
Eugene, are you hosting Friday?
Yeah. I'm hosting Friday.
look, I gotta cop to it...I get called "alternative" alot cos I do story
based humor instead of punch-punch stuff. I think it's cos my influences
were Phyllis Diller, Moms Mabely, Bill Cosby, and George Carlin......I
got hooked on Lenny Bruce in high school. He would have been considered
alternative, I'm sure. I also do alot of "taboo" that's not funny
subjects...and leave people laughing. And...my greatest hero and
influence is Ernie Kovacs. SO, I guess if he was considered alternative,
then it's not so bad.
Cathe(Short person does not equal half wit)B
Hey there Miss Neocow!
I agree with you over 100% on this one. Back in high school, they told me I
shouldn't experiment with drugs because it would hurt my mind. I guess they
forgot to tell this to Ms. Rhett Butler and now she's had to go through a lot
of hard times because of experimenting.
All I'm saying is that experimenting with comedy is good, but don't let it
lead to comedy abuse or you'll be sorry when your locked in a detox unit in
Miss Neocow's 2nd biggest supporter
(No relation to Randy or Terri)
C. Oppenhiem <coppe...@aol.com> wrote in article
> In article <19980120100...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,
nea...@aol.com (NEACOW) wrote:
> >I think a lot of this thread is tongue-in-cheek jokes about it not being
> >cause it isn't packed with punchlines.... I know some standups who have
> >experimented with alternative comedy to stretch a bit and have enjoyed
> Hey there Miss Neocow!
> I agree with you over 100% on this one. Back in high school, they told
> shouldn't experiment with drugs because it would hurt my mind. I guess
> forgot to tell this to Ms. Rhett Butler
Rhett Butler is the male lead in "Gone whit the Wind". Brett is the
comedian from "Grace".
(Just trying to help)
>Cathe(Short person does not equal half wit)B
Some people have a vast repertoire. Mine is half vast.
Stu (delete * from email address)
"Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdome meaningless by
not committing them?"
Then who's the former Dodgers center fielder?
Right...think about it...If Steve Martin started out today...he'd be considered
alternative...especially in Boston.
that's what's so great about alternative - now I admit I like traditional
standup a little better but there are lousy comics in every style - but at
least alternative comedy doesn't tie one down to a formula,and the freedom can
be disastrous for some comics, freeing for others...it is amazing to see
someone like Eugene hit it and when he does - look out, that very loud female
laugh hiding in the back corner is me...