Laughing in the storm: Comics don't shy from Sandy - New York News

Laughing in the storm: Comics don't shy from Sandy

Posted: Updated:
Aerial picture of Staten Island where New York Governor Cuomo helped distribute food on November 6, 2012 (governor.ny.gov/ flickr) Aerial picture of Staten Island where New York Governor Cuomo helped distribute food on November 6, 2012 (governor.ny.gov/ flickr)
NEW YORK -

Comedian Dave Attell told a packed house at the Comedy Cellar that New York after Superstorm Sandy had a familiar feel. "It was dark. Toilets were backing up. ... It was pretty much like it always was."

Another comic, Paul Mecurio, told the same crowd that he got so many calls from worried family members that he started making things up about how bad it was.

"I'm drinking my own urine to survive," he joked.

New York's comedy clubs, some of which had to shut down or go on generator power in the aftermath of the storm, dealt with a bad situation like they always have -- by turning Sandy into a running punchline.

"If they're going to do jokes on Sept. 12 about Sept. 11, then this thing isn't going to slow us down," said Vic Henley, the emcee of a show Oct. 28 at Gotham Comedy Club.

Sean Flynn, Gotham's operating manager, said comics were including the storm in their acts but had to be careful nonetheless not to make people feel worse than they already did.

"There's the old adage that tragedy plus time equals comedy. The variable is the time," he said. Still, he added: "You can't ignore the subject. That's what comedy's all about."

The Comedy Cellar, a regular stop for decades for the country's most notable comedians, was closed from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, but reopened on Nov. 2 after a generator was brought in at a cost of several thousand dollars. Power didn't return until the next day, and the crowds came with it.

"Everyone has a bad case of cabin fever," said Valerie Scott, the club's manager.

Mecurio said he thought the joke was on him when he got a call from the Comedy Cellar saying the club was going ahead with its show even though there was no light in the West Village. He headed downtown from the Upper East Side, hitting dark streets after midtown.

"It's pitch dark," he said. "And there's a room packed with people laughing. It was so surreal. ... I'm calling it the generator show. It was a really cool thing."

"You could feel there was something special about the show," he said. "The audiences were tempered in their mood. You could tell something was up, something was in the air. I knew it was cathartic for people."

He said a woman approached him after the show to thank him, saying: "You kind of brightened my day."

Sometimes, comics used the storm to get a laugh at the expense of the crowd, like when Mark Normand looked down from the Comedy Cellar stage at a man with a thin beard.

"I like the beard," he told him. "Is that because of Sandy? You couldn't get your razor working?"

And Attell used Sandy to mock a heckler, telling him: "You must have been a load of laughs without power."

At another point, Attell looked for positives in the storm.

"There's nothing better than Doomsday sex," he said.

Mecurio said he has made a point of including the storm and the havoc it caused whenever he takes the stage.

"I feel like as a comedian in the spirit of social satire, it's what we're supposed to do," he said. "It's the elephant in the room. How do you not do it?"

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suffolk County jail warden is highest-paid muni worker in NY

    Suffolk County jail warden is highest-paid muni worker in NY

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:48:14 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    The Empire Center for Public Policy reports 1,803 local government employees outside of New York City have been paid more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $179,000 salary in the past year. The report from the fiscally conservative group for the year ending March 31 shows 47 of the 50 highest-paid municipal employees working for police departments or sheriff's offices and each taking home more than $250,000.
    The Empire Center for Public Policy reports 1,803 local government employees outside of New York City have been paid more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $179,000 salary in the past year. The report from the fiscally conservative group for the year ending March 31 shows 47 of the 50 highest-paid municipal employees working for police departments or sheriff's offices and each taking home more than $250,000.
  • Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:47:17 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:54:18 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices