226 W 150th st.
45 W 139th St
40 Pinehurst Ave.
Photo By: Mathew Henry
By Bohemia Agent Matthew Breiner
When I moved to NYC in 2006, I quickly fell in love with stand up comedy. From Richard Pryor to Harlem's own George Carlin, I had watched every tv special and listened to every comedy album I could get my hands on. I was dying to give it a try. When I finally got my courage up, I fell flat on my face at an open mic night at the now closed Comix Comedy Club in the Meatpacking District. I learned quickly that comics need a place that's off the beaten path to develop and work out their material before they bring it into the big clubs.
That's when I discovered the vibrant comedy scene in Upper Manhattan. I loved standing on a crate in the long gone, but not forgotten, Red Room Lounge on 181st & Bennett. I performed with other no name comics trying to find their voice. Some did just that. Donald Glover, Wyatt Cynac, and Mike Lawrence all began their careers on the same crate for the price of your drink.
The Apollo Headliners will always be the shrine of comedy in Harlem, but if you want to try to spot a rising comedy star checkout Amateur Night at the Apollo Wednesdays at 7:30PM or Paddy's Free "Happy Happy Hour" Comedy Show Wednesdays at 9PM.
The upcoming Harlem Comedy Festival will bring some much needed diversity to NYC's comedic improv community September 24th - September 30th. The festival will feature a Stand Up Comedy Competition, an Improv Comedy Showcase, and a Documentary Film Series about African American contributions to comedy. In response to the severe lack of diversity in the television and film industries, the Harlem Comedy Festival seeks to provide exposure for up and coming comedians, improvisers, and filmmakers of color. Want to compete? Video submissions are currently being accepted. The Deadline to Submit is August 31, 2016.
Downtown may be regarded as the comedy hub of NY, but before anything gets to Caroline's or the Comic Strip, it goes through Uptown first. Be sure not to miss it!