Nightlife Spotlight: Stellar Standup Comedy in Western Queens

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Image source: Laughing Devil

Thanks to a few of our favorite venues such as The Laughing Devil in Long Island City, which hosts hot traveling acts like TrueTV funnyman Mike Trainor and is home to an awesome bi-weekly Devil Science Theater 3000 event that  encourages comedy-loving patrons to heckle cheesy cult films for a mere $5, it’s becoming increasingly easier to see smart and seriously funny comedy in Western Queens. We caught up with Carrie Gravenson, one of Astoria’s own standup queens, who tells us where to see some of the brightest and funniest in the borough.

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Image source: Carrie Gravenson

How long have you been doing comedy in Queens?
“About 5.5 years.”

What’s your favorite venue?

“I love performing at The Creek and The Cave because it’s always a very chill vibe.  It’s not an official comedy club so it’s way more laid back.  The drinks are still cheap and the crowds are in the mood to laugh.  Plus, ‘The Creek and The Cave’ is a fun name for a place.”

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Image source: The Creek and the Cave

How do Queens audiences rate to Manhattan or Brooklyn crowds? “In general, funny is funny and people are people so there aren’t too many differences.  I think in Manhattan, you’re more likely to find tourists in the comedy clubs.  At The Laughing Devil Comedy Club here in Long Island City, you’re more likely to find Queens locals.  ‘What’s-the-deal-with-the-7-train?’ jokes are more likely to hit in a Queens venue. (Don’t steal my bit, that 7-train material is GOLD!)  In Manhattan clubs, you’d have to adjust the content to appeal to a Swedish tourist.”

How do you think the comedy circuit in the borough has evolved in the past few years?

“I feel like it’s grown.  Venues like The Creek and The Cave and The Laughing Devil Comedy Club have put Western Queens on the map for comedy.  There are bunch of great indie shows that go up every week and there are more open mics around here lately.”

What’s your favorite free show?

“My favorite indie show is Sunday Funday at Rapture Lounge in Astoria every Sunday at 8:30p.m.”

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Image source: Rapture Lounge

What’s the best open mic?

The Waltz Open Mic on Tuesday and Wednesday, which accommodates both musicians and comedians. Comedians historically don’t laugh at each other, but musicians will laugh, so mics with musicians are considered better than the others for comedians.”

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Image source: Waltz-Astoria – comedian Ted Alexandro performing at open mic

 Is there anything you’d like to see in the Queens comedy world that doesn’t yet exist?

“A lot of comedians live in Astoria, so I would LOVE to see an Astoria Comedy Festival one day.  Someone do that!  You’ll make money!”

When you go out to shows in the area, which comedians do you love to see perform?
“It’s really hard to name a favorite.  Jesse Jones, Katie Compa, Sharon Spell, Sue Funke, Ben Rosenfeld, Katrin Hier, Troy Bynum, Jena Axelrod, Charles McBee, and Leah Bonnema all live in this great borough (most of them within a ten block radius of me).  If you don’t know their names yet, stay tuned, you will!  Sue Funke co-produced a really fun Queens vs. Brooklyn show last year and I got to represent Queens, which was awesome.”

Where can we see you perform?

“I co-produce a monthly comedy show with Troy Bynum called The Carrie and Troy Tomfoolery Hour at Mr. Dennehy’s in the West Village.  We keep it fun and free and always have a good time.  I also tour with The Pink Collar Comedy Tour.  We have a show at The Creek and The Cave on February 9th, which will be the first time the tour is performing together in NYC.”