Quips And Chords Are Tools Of The Trade For Hosts At Don't Tell Mama
At comedy clubs all over NYC, when the host is about to bring on the next act, they'll usually ask the performer "What should I say?", at the landmark cabaret venue Don't Tell Mama, hosts instead ask "What should I play?"
This is because Don't Tell Mama's Friday night comedy hour is hosted by the best piano driven comedy talent the city has to offer. Hosting a comedy show can be tough. The host needs to warm the audience up to take pressure off the first performer in the lineup, should one of the performers on the lineup do badly the host needs to bring the energy back up before the next performer takes the stage. Hosts also serve as an ambassador to comedy for people in the audience who've never seen a comedy show or never seen a show at that venue.
But the piano players booked by Don't Tell Mama Comedy's producer, Alex Simmons, have plenty of jokes and jigs under their belt to handle New York City's toughest crowds. Some like John McMahon have years of experience playing at piano bars like Don't Tell Mama to draw on, others like Eileen Hanley are musical comedians, and are frequent accompanists for musical improv troupes at venues like The Upright Citizens Brigade and The People's Improv Theater. Some hosts are simply multi talented comics the likes of Rick Crom, who also frequently hosts at The Comedy Cellar.
"The best part of having a host at the piano is the moments that happen between them and the other performers," says Alex. "It certainly comes in handy to have a piano player on hand when I have someone like Christina Bianco on a lineup, but when a comic has a song in their back pocket things get really fun."
Comics who have had some improvised moments with the piano player include Rick Younger, who belted out the Billy Joel staple "New York State of Mind" with Paul Rigano of the Rigano Songbook, and Chrissie Mayr, who improvised her own rendition of RENT's Seasons of Love with Paul as well. "How do you measure what you've spent on improv?" she asked the audience.
Whether you're a comedy club regular, or visiting NYC for a weekend, Don't Tell Mama's Friday night comedy hour is a one-of-a-kind show that offers an exciting peek into NYC's diverse comedy and cabaret world. It's not one to miss.
Doors open at 9 PM, $20 cash cover at the door with a 2 beverage minimum. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made online at donttellmamanyc.com or by calling 212-757-0788 after 4 PM.
Don't Tell Mama Comedy features established and up-and-coming stand-up talent as well as cabaret and music acts since 2018, performers seen at Don't Tell Mama Comedy have appeared on The Late Show, Netflix, Comedy Central, and countless comedy stages across the world.
Since 1982, Don't Tell Mama has presented artists of all kinds who have gone on to the world stage and won multiple Emmys, Tony's, Grammys, Oscars, and even a Pulitzer Prize! Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar, Leah Delaria, Seth Rudetsky and Alec Mapa are all celebrated comics who have appeared regularly at Don't Tell Mama through the years.
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