How Amy Schumer Became This Generation's Latest Truth-Teller

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Schumer: Comedy Central, C.K.: FX
Schumer as she appears in "12 Angry Men" and C.K. in an FX promotional photo for Louie.
During "Compliments," a first-season sketch on Inside Amy Schumer, a group of female friends respond to every bit of praise with a verbal self-maiming: "I tried to look like Kate Hudson but ended up looking like a golden retriever's dingleberry," says one. Sighs another, "Of course I see everyone when I look like Susan Boyle's toothbrush."

It was sympathetic satire about female self-loathing and how women are socialized to downplay both their beauty and their achievements. A year later, Schumer floored me again with "A Very Realistic Military Game," which simultaneously skewered rape culture in the armed forces and casual misogyny in the gaming world. Last month, the third season began with another bang: "Last Fuckable Day," a viral sketch in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Patricia Arquette torch the "Is she fuckable?" yardstick by which women are judged in the entertainment business.

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Check Out This Illustrator's Cartoon Diary of All the Weird Things She Sees in New York City

Categories: Comedy

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Andrea Tsurumi
One big upside to living in an overcrowded traveling circus New York City is the myriad of opportunities to people-watch. Andrea Tsurumi, an Astoria-based illustrator, has decided to turn that most beloved of urban activities into a cartoon diary.

In Eavesdropper, Tsurumi chronicles the flashes of bizarre behavior, or inadvertently comic situations, that spring up amid the humdrum of city life. The project grew out of a class that the 30-year-old took in 2013 while pursuing her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Called "Drawing on Location," the class had Tsurumi going into the streets to find scenarios to sketch. "I really enjoyed that kind of active approach to drawing," she says.

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In Astoria, an Art and Performance Space Doubles as an 'After-School Center' for Adults

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Alanna Schubach
QED founder Kambri Crews

QED, a multipurpose event space in Astoria, has been visited by comedy-world luminaries like Ted Alexandro, Mystery Science Theater 3000's Frank Conniff, and a slew of Saturday Night Live writers. But it also recently played host to an archaeology professor, who lectured about how to build stone tools for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

"That's what makes this place so cool — there's nothing else like it," says Lauren Krass, a comedian and producer who hosts an open mic at QED. "It's a bookstore, a bar, a café, and a theater."


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Here Are Three of the Best New York Comedy Sketches You'll See This Week

Categories: Comedy

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Screenshot via YouTube
Matt Moskovciak is on a roll. Over the last month, the Astoria-based comedy writer for online network Above Average, an offshoot of Lorne Michaels's Broadway Video, has written and produced three of the smartest comedy sketches about New York life that we've seen in a long time. The sketches take on loud upstairs neighbors, MTA rage, and — no surprise here — gentrified Brooklyn. But since there is nothing worse than explaining a joke — it's something you just don't do — we won't.

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Comedian Natasha Vaynblat Channels Public School Teacher Angst

Categories: Comedy, Education

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Melissa Gomez Photography
Natasha Vaynblat
For a performer, any kind of exposure is a good thing. But as comedian Natasha Vaynblat recently learned, sometimes being discovered can be mortifying.

Vaynblat, 27, worked for four years as a public school teacher in New York City, an experience she recounts in her one-woman show at UCB Chelsea, "Natasha Vaynblat: United Federation of Teachers." At a recent performance, a group of her former high school students surprised her after the show. One of them had seen an ad on TV for an IFC-hosted Web series called Laurie, in which Vaynblat had starred. The students got together to check out her show. "I forget that it's so easy to find anybody now with the internet," Vaynblat says.


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Colin Quinn's 'Bitterness' Comes Through on New Web Series, Cop Show

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Screenshot via L/Studio
Colin Quinn on his own 'stupid web show.'
"What do we got?"

"Female, Caucasian, late twenties. Looks to be possibly deceased."

Thus begins episode one of Cop Show, a new Web series created by and starring veteran stand-up comedian Colin Quinn. A mockumentary-style take on New York City–set procedurals and the grizzled cops who populate them, Cop Show finds humor not only in the groan-worthy clichés of its titular genre, but also in the overlap between its lead character and the man who plays him.


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The Podcast Is the Product for Keith and the Girl

Categories: Comedy, Longform

In a roomful of podcasters, Chemda Khalili is a gravitational force.

As she steps down from the dais at the Los Angeles Podcast Festival's "Getting Started in Podcasting" panel discussion, she's mobbed before reaching the second row of folding chairs. The predominantly male crowd clutches caffeinated beverages, unconsciously uniformed in horn rims and blue plaid button-downs. "What you said about podcasting being a lifestyle," one gasps, "I loved that. It's true. So true!"

"We've got a half-hour," Keith Malley, who earlier moderated the "Getting a Job in Podcasting" panel, warns from the doorway.

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Comedian Loses His Mind While Trapped in Stranded 7 Train, Goes on Epic Twitter Rant

Categories: Comedy
Upright Citizens Brigade comedian Connor Ratliff is not having a good day.

At 8:45 a.m. he was getting on the 7 train in Woodside on his way to do Important Funny-Person Things, like meeting fellow comedian Jo Firestone to discuss a new project. But a burning umbrella stuck on the line's third rail, along with icy conditions near Queensboro Plaza, threw a wrench in those plans.

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Here's the NYPD Arresting an Audience Member Mid-Comedy Show, Then Heckling the Comedian

Categories: Comedy, Crime, NYPD

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Screenshot via.
A bemused Adam Newman, onstage, as the NYPD arrests an audience member
As a general rule, the worst thing that can happen during a comedy set is realizing you've accidentally stumbled into some kind of hellish Dane Cook/Daniel Tosh marathon. But it could be worse! You could, for example, be sitting in a comedy show around midnight at the Upright Citizens Brigade's Chelsea theater when four members of New York's finest come in, fish you out of the audience, and arrest you. That's what looks to have happened this past Saturday night, during a UCB variety show called Underground Americana. The comedian onstage, Adam Newman, says he watched officers come in with flashlights and immediately handcuff a guy sitting to the left side of the stage. When Newman asked what was going on, an NYPD officer advised him to "shut the fuck up."

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Joan Rivers, Reviewed in 1967: 'I Don't Know How a Nervous Girl Can Be So Funny'

In February of 1967, Joan Rivers, then 33 years old, performed her stand-up act at the Downstairs at the Upstairs (37 West 56th Street). She killed. She had yet to hit the peak of her fame. She was also a bit of an anomaly: A WOMAN COMIC! Writing for this paper in the February 23, 1967, issue, Bill Manville contributed the below review of her set. Rivers died today at age 81 at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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