Tickling the Ivories is a free comedy show run by Nataly Aukar and Thiago Macklin every Monday night at Pianos in LES. After the show, Nataly mentioned that the crowd varies depending on the week, given its centralized location in a bar-driven neighborhood. This past Monday, the crowd was particularly rowdy, but the comics had no problem playing up the hype and absurdity, throwing away much of their material to instead focus on crowd-work and conversational bits. The show was well-organized, a good time, and held a unique atmosphere. One comic (Kerry Coddett) cleverly called it a “basement upstairs.” Honestly, a perfect vibe for NYC comedy.
The lineup on this particular night included Kerry Coddett, David Spector, Thiago Macklin, Lev Fer, Victoria Hoffman, James Pontillo, Nataly Aukar and host, Sally Ann Hall. I’ve seen most of these comedians before, and was pleasantly surprised by the updated/refined, as well as completely new material. Sally Ann Hall was an energized host, keeping the show moving at a good pace.
Kerry Coddett opened up the show and immediately won over the crowd. She was lovable and hilariously paranoid thanks to her apparent weed addiction. She got everyone’s attention right off the bat, bringing her entire bag up to the stage because this venue was “seedy as fuck.” She shined in her commentary about her surroundings and conspiracy theories about race.
Next up was David Spector who is particularly talented at pointing out his own awkwardness, making the crowd cringe at how hyper aware he is of how others perceive him. David’s sets always feel painfully (and hysterically) true to character. His delivery is natural and effortlessly funny.
Thaigo Macklin did an entire set of crowd work, calling out audience members who were disruptive, craftily getting their, as well as everyone else’s attention and laughs. I give him props for responding to difficult audience members and fully ditching his own material to point out how off the rails everything had gone. Also for being one of the only comics who didn’t call me out for my resting bitch face. Thanks, Thiago<3
Lev Fer was confident with his material as always, throwing in some newer jokes about dating and breakups that I’m excited to see developed. He handled the disorderly crowd with ease, calling out a heckler for her tendency to heckle then hide behind the bar. The jokes he managed to get out between the crowd interactions were probably the tightest of the show.
Victoria Hoffman also decided to focus her time on riling up the crowd. Notable was her joke about losing her virginity in NYC which brought the crowd back (it even made the girls taking selfies laugh!) and, I thought it was really funny. I wanted to hear more!
James Pontillo kept to his set the most of all the comics. He impressively managed to get out a few bits and interact with the crowd. His set was edgier and unapologetic.
Nataly Aukar closed out the show. Her material on breakups was super relatable, and the crowd responded well to it (think: lots of “YAAS GIRL"s). I enjoyed her self deprecating and conversational style.
Lastly, if you’re gonna come to a comedy show to take shots and selfies and talk the whole time, don’t come to a comedy show :) Nevertheless, check out Tickling the Ivories next, or every Monday!