Comedy is not a pursuit for the faint of heart, and that goes for audiences and comics alike. Lately, there’s been a widespread and mercilessly drawn-out public debate over what exactly counts as “offensive,” and how that may or may not be something quite separate from old-fashioned hate– you know, the classics, like racism, misogyny, homophobia. Meanwhile the term “safe space” has become so common, so misused and abused, that invoking it comes with some seriously heavy baggage that makes it almost impossible to use without infuriating some people and inspiring others to swoon.
The idea of regularly tuning into a late-night public access show could cause some to raise their eyebrows, but rest assured MNN’s weekly comedy/variety show The Special Without Brett Davis, which replaced The Chris Gethard Show upon its move to the Fusion network, is nothing boring. Unless it’s trying to be.
I was sitting in the Olive Tree Cafe, upstairs from the Comedy Cellar, flipping through Judah Friedlander’s new book. Largely single-panel cartoons, the book’s drawings run the gamut between The Far Side and The New Yorker, offering plenty of belly laughs and a few head scratchers. My favorites include one captioned, “Then one night, the dishes did Jeffrey,” a dark mass-jumper routine about a “building’s semi-annual suicide race,” and a sketch of where to meet women in Manhattan: yoga studios and $50 cupcake shops.
The bartender at Brooklyn Star doesn’t know Seaton Smith. Perhaps he will someday soon, but not because Seaton’s been a regular for the past several months. Instead, maybe it’ll be because Seaton will be on TV. The 31-year-old comedian and soon-to-be sitcom actor keeps a low profile at the bar-restaurant he visits late at night after hitting the comedy clubs. On this night, he’ll perform two sets in Times Square. Then, he’ll likely do what he usually does: come back to his neighborhood and unwind here with his preferred drink, a Sazerac. Since a kitchen fire took out the original, this Williamsburg location is just over a couple years old. But it has quickly become a favorite go-to for late-night diners and drinkers.