Long Island Comedy City
New Queens club showcases memorable stand-up performers
Pictured: Collin Moulton, Tom Simmons and Mike Trainor
By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief
A few of the stand-up comics who performed in a showcase organized at the tiny, narrow and new Laughing Devil comedy club in Long Island City, Queens, NY on February 9, by host Steve Hofstetter made a distinct impression: Mike Trainor, Tom Simmons and Collin Moulton.
Trainor took the stage with a great deal of energy, and a Chris Farley-like presence. He riffed on his own weight and appearance, with memorable bits about aerobeds replacing futons or fold-out beds – mocking their more flimsy nature as he simulated blowing one up with the odd motor noise of the air pump. Trainor also took self-deprecation a long way, especially in a piece about his being the last guy women would have a one-night stand with before getting their lives on track and getting married.
Simmons brings to the stage something of a Southern US tone and influence. He revels in mocking consumerism, in this set with a take on Black Friday shopping mayhem, imagining suburban housewives who don’t normally drive at 2 a.m. on the road amid drunk drivers. Dark, yes, but definitely funny. He’s also got a strain of black humor throughout his material, at one point recalling that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, because his dog played dead for a whole week.
Moulton, who resembles the actor Mark Ruffalo, brought to his act some personal stories about his parents and growing up. He jokingly wishes they had Alzheimer’s, because they are divorced and in two separate assisted living facilities. “Then I could put them together in one apartment again. They would hate each other but not remember why.” Relating his generation to current teenagers, Moulton observed that they won’t understand why we had a post office, remarking on each step of mailing a letter absurdly – “putting a piece of paper inside another folded piece of paper, then licking it shut. … Then it gets delivered … to the next door neighbor of where it was intended to go, and maybe if they’re lucky, the neighbor will give it to them.”
Trainor, Simmons, Moulton and Hofstetter were not the only ones on the bill on this night. The evening, produced by Next Round Entertainment, featured five other stand-ups, each of whom had some distinct and memorable bits in their act, although the ones highlighted above had the most sustained and consistent material. Laughing Devil, as a venue, does its best with a very odd shaped room – Trainor at one point said it looks like a converted cell phone store – with tables along one wall from back to front, making for an unusual audience seating arrangement, where those in the back are very far from the narrow stage up front. However, it’s still a memorable, interesting and funky little place to see stand-up away from pricier Manhattan showcases.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua