BWW Feature: Stephen Mosher's Pandemic Playlist Number Fourteen - The April Fool's Edition
It's April Fool's Day, and while none of the artists on today's Pandemic Playlist are fools in life when it comes to their work, they certainly know how to play the clown. These are just a handful of some of the entertainers who make their living on the cabaret stage by talking, rather than singing. There are a lot of spoken-word cabaret shows, most of them comedy based, but the art form could use more, which is why this list includes 10 comics, one monologist and one poet. One day, it will be a lot more of all genres of spoken word artists, and that's a promise.
1. Julie Halston is New York's Queen of Comedy. Whether Julie is working on Broadway, off-Broadway, in nightclubs or in the myriad of films and TV shows shot in NYC, she is always a stand-out who finds something in each character she plays that makes what was once on paper a three-dimensional character. Famous for her one-woman shows, her DEAR ANN LANDERS bit is as famous as her husband, Ralph, said it would be. Julie Halston is on Twitter @JulieHalston
2. Gianmarco Soresi is a true renaissance man. A comic, a storyteller, a writer, an actor, a sketch performer, a podcaster, Gianmarco has appeared on TV on Netflix and PBS, and on stage in New York at The Moth and more comedy clubs than can be named here. His star is on the rise and he's poised for his next big move. As STAND UP goes, Gianmarco is definitely one to watch. Find Mr. Soresi online HERE
3. David Mills works both sides of the Atlantic, doing his own particular brand of comedy in London and New York. The character he creates onstage is blissfully bitter and biting, filled with observation and opinion, pleasant of singing voice and stinging of speaking voice. His acts are always as ORIGINAL as he is, and always worth a look. David's website is HERE
4. Taffy Jaffe is a late-in-life comedienne, one who might prefer the word comic, given the frank way she talks about subjects that one might be shocked to hear a lady of advanced glamour discussing in her comedy set. Nevertheless, Taffy turns up in many clubs to perform one HILARIOUS act after another, building a fan base of people who laugh through shocked expressions at this very funny broad. Find Taffy on Facebook
5. Leola is one for the record books because you've never seen one like her. A true invention, Leola is a septuagenarian redneck lesbian living in her double wide with her best friend ex-husband and working at the Piggly Wiggly. The creation of writer-performer Will Nolan, Leola has built up such a following that The Green Room 42 wisely offered her a residency for 2019... and 2020. Check out her UNIQUE style and then her WEBSITE
6. James Tison is an NYU trained actor who decided to try their hand at stand up and has been thriving ever since. The queer, gender non-binary performer has worked many rooms in NYC but has found an artistic home at Alan Cumming's watering hole, Club Cumming, where James can be found doing their set and hosting a comedy open mic on a regular basis. Their COMEDY is always on-topic and edgy and never not funny. Find James Tison at their WEBSITE
7. Shalewa Sharpe has been on HBO, Comedy Central, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. A Brooklynite, Sharpe has numerous appearances in clubs around New York City under her belt, as well as a couple of comedy albums to her name. With a wickedly laid-back sense of HUMOR and a completely individual sense of timing, Ms. Sharpe lays them in the aisles every time her foot hits a stage. Shalewa's Twitter handle is @silkyjumbo
8. Claywoman is a Tweed Theater Works production and a New York City cult figure. The 500 Million-year-old person from another planet pays regular visits to PANGEA, where she monologues to sold-out houses before being interviewed by celebrated artists like Cynthia Nixon. Conversations With Claywoman is a huge hit and audiences cackle with laughter at her every word. HERE is one of the interview segments from her show, a series praised by Time Out New York
9. Jackie Hoffman is an iconic and beloved member of the Manhattan theater community. Her performances on and off-Broadway have earned her legions of fans, and her performance in FEUD on TV earned her an Emmy nomination. When Jackie Hoffman appears in clubs like Joe's Pub, her SIDE-SPLITTING acts leave audiences screaming for more... which she always delivers. @JackieHoffman16 is Jackie's Twitter
10. Tulis McCall has a series at PANGEA called Monologues and Madness, and though it isn't a night of stand-up comedy, many of the monologues performed are very humorous. The evening is an open mic night where writers bring their new pieces and perform them for one another. It is an essential part of the cabaret scene and you can always get a great MONOLOGUE out of it, like this one by Tulis herself.
11. Julia Sweeney is a treasure to everyone and audiences are so lucky that she brings her comedy to Joe's Pub with such regularity. An author and raconteur who ends of on TV in filmed versions of her stories, is always funny, no matter where or when she tells one of her AMAZING stories. Find Julia Sweeney online HERE
Special Mention: Thomas March is not a stand-up comic, he is a poet. Mr. March has created an evening called POETRY/CABARET that is shown once a season, where he curates two singers, two comics, two poets, and himself. It is one of the few spoken word cabarets and the industry needs more of it. One hopes that other poets and storytellers will be led by his example and create their own spoken word shows for the clubs of Manhattan. Though it is not a show clip, Mr. March can be heard reading poetry HERE and his website can be seen HERE