You've probably heard about this by now, and if you haven't then I'm delighted to deliver the scoop on one of West Side Comedy Club's latest additions: F Comedy Club by Felicia Madison. Happening monthly on Tuesday nights, F Comedy Club showcases some of the most talented up and coming comedians sprinkled with a few comedy veterans as well as surprise drop-ins from the likes of comics you've regularly watched on television. Last week, I attended the show and I was not disappointed.
Very well orchestrated and smoothly run, Felicia Madison kicked off the show on time as the host of the evening captivating the audience with her amicable energy. She used seamless crowd work to loosen up the room, dousing them with cheerful and relatable topics. At one point duped by audience members giving a faux relationship status, Madison used that to her advantage to build rapport with the pair while simultaneously reeling in the rest of the audience creating an air and feeling of everyone sharing an inside joke.
Shortly after her playful banter with the crowd and a few jokes to set the mood, Madison brought up comedian Jay Jurden who used his high energy to bring thought provoking laughs to topics about feminism, sexuality, the never ending acronym of LGBTQ...RSTUV, and more. He was followed by Clayton Fletcher who used relatable subjects to win over the crowd and charmingly joked about life as a new dad (which...congratulations!) The mood of the room was right on track and the chemistry of the lineup seemed to be developing at a promising pace. Which was truly confirmed by the next act brought to the stage, a surprise drop-in by Darrell Hammond- most notable for his Donald Trump satire on Saturday Night Live.
Hammond took the stage with the ease and finesse of a seasoned comic as he grabbed a stool and perched himself atop. The rest of his set would follow this energy as he went on to flesh out seemingly new material while the crowd erupted into laughter, punchline after punchline. At one point, he received a hefty applause break after showcasing an impressive arsenal of impressions, voices and different characters to get his jokes across. In fact, the crowd enjoyed his set so much that no one even minded that he ran the light.
Madison took the stage once again, buffering the justifiable nerves of a newcomer following a seasoned comic like Hammond. Before bringing up the next act, she used this buffer time to talk about her life which was wrapped in a bundle of honesty that spewed out hilarious details about motherhood, married life and "being married at the age of 10" (lol). With the pressure reduced and her mission accomplished, Madison then welcomed Rebecca Irizarry to the stage. Irizarry was charming, likable, and very funny.
Next up, Jen Lap took the stage. Lap delivered clever, well written, and well timed jokes that were drenched in similes that gave way to a few ah-ha moments. I found myself laughing a couple of times at either the absurdity of the idea altogether, the brilliant construction of the joke, or sometimes both at the same time. Her comfort and confidence came across in a way that seemed to command the full attention of the audience as well as their cackles.
Although far from being a newcomer to the craft, in fact, you've probably seen him on Conan- Myq Kaplan took the stage next. The audience was thrilled, and pretty much drowned in laughter the entire time he stood on stage discussing shock factor topics like polyamory, amongst others. He used his guy next door demeanor to deliver hilarious observations and anecdotes from his own life that were so inarguably funny it garnered belt-out laughter and several applause breaks.
Amy Veltman followed Kaplan and kept the energy going as she endearingly delivered witty jokes about her friends and life as a mom on the Upper East Side. She brought a soft, likable yet (seemingly deliberate) nervous presence to the stage that immediately built rapport with the audience resulting in her jokes receiving some of the biggest laughs of the night.
Following, Maggie Lalley, Ralph Calderon, Olga Namer, and Barbara Raab took the stage. Each came equipped with some seriously funny jokes though Namer's jokes about being Jewish, hiding from Nazis, and rape truly wowed the crowd. Namer's monotone and droll delivery provided a healthy balance of hilarity and shock that invoked consistent laughs throughout her set and left the crowd wanting more.
Closing out the show was another seasoned comic- the very funny, Sarah Tollemache. Aside from sharing the fact that she got married this year (congratulations!), she completely floored the room with her insanely well written jokes. A generally low energy comic herself, Tollemache managed to keep the audience's energy incredibly high whilst hanging on to every setup she built in an almost anxious anticipation of the next punchline. Laughter rolled in seemingly every 30 seconds which served as the ultimate response to her opening question "Are you guys still awake?" Yaaas Sarah, yaaaas.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this show and was entertained from start to finish. Each comedian brought their unique humor to the stage and showcased their undeniable skills in the art of making people laugh. Major kudos to Felicia Madison for providing yet another platform for aspiring comedians to showcase their talent. I look forward to attending another show in the near future and if you're looking for one to attend- I recommend checking it out tonight at West Side Comedy Club, 7:30pm.
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