In 2004?on a mission to bolster its community?s wellspring of creativity and education?the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art-deco-style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1922. Today, in the same antique theater where Frank Capra screened his first car chase, the venue hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks such as HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on the stage, which has seen the likes of Diana Krall, Heart, and ZZ Top.
Blistering every seat in the house with his scorching wit, actor, comedian, and author Tracy Morgan brings his inimitable act to the historic Fillmore for a charitable night of raucous, adult-only hysterics. Beloved for his roles on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and in numerous films, Morgan serves up an obstreperous standup act sure to tickle even the most irascible ribs until they weep with joy. Proving that not all comics have replaced their hearts with whoopie cushions, this special event benefits Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization founded by Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano to provide repairs and accessibility accommodations so that military veterans can remain in their own homes.
Laughter flows from the New York Comedy Club's corridors, freshly squeezed from audiences' giggle boxes by the club's on-hand comedians, visiting performers, and enthusiastic novices. Weekly shows, such as The Clayton Fletcher Show, lure up-and-coming NYC comedians to showcase their best jokes, brandish their best impressions, and analyze government tax-code legislation. On tri-weekly open-mic nights, amateur humorists test their slapstick mettle alongside host Dan Gutin. In addition to entertaining crowds, the New York Comedy Club hosts classes in tandem with Laughing Buddha Comedy, helping aspiring comics or court jesters to improve their stage presence and perfect their knock-knock jokes.
With no costumes, sets, or functioning lightsabers, Canadian comedic force Charlie Ross whisks audiences to a faraway galaxy in his One Man Star Wars Trilogy, a funny and fervent reinvention of cinema’s most hallowed science fiction series. A smash hit off-Broadway and across the globe, Ross’s breakneck performance has earned accolades from critics, the respect of Lucasfilm, and love from famous Ewoks such as Vin Diesel and Conan O’Brien. Racing through George Lucas’s six-hour opus in only one parsec, Ross screen-wipes audiences to Tatooine, Dagobah, Cloud City, and the Death Star without ever changing his pants. The performer inhabits all of the trilogy’s heroes, villains, and droids to draw Jabba-sized laughs from Star Wars fans and the sci-fi averse alike.
Joker's Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene. The intimate venue, which recently replaced its space-hogging booths with brand-new seats, features headlining comedians who fill Thursday–Saturday evenings with laughter during 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. On Wednesday night, fledgling funny folk strive for their five minutes of fame at open mic night. Joker’s Wild also runs its own School of Comedy, where budding comedians can chase their dreams of cracking up audiences and keeping glasses of water on a stool. The club’s full menu of pub food mutes growling stomachs with appetizers and entrees for patrons hoping to perfect an onion-ring spit take.
At Levity Live Comedy Club, renowned comedians such as Kevin Nealon and Susie Essman have graced the same stage as up-and-coming comics including Elliot Chang and Sam Morril. In addition to its live shows and a variety of pub grub and drinks, the club also offers classes through Manhattan Comedy School. Eight-week sessions help fledgling comedians with everything from developing a persona to lightening up a goldfish?s funeral.