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“I Love Laughter” in Upstate New York, Part 2


The laughter never ends! In Part 1 of my blog, I talked quite a bit about Jamestown, NY – our own (unofficial) Comedy Capital of the World. But should your travels take you outside of Chautauqua County, I wanted to share a few of my favorite comedy offerings across the state – from Rochester, NY to the heart of the state and beyond.

Comedy Central NY (Greater Utica Area) – Comedy Central NY has some of the best live stand-up in the area, bringing professional comedians in to perform at various venues across Rome, Syracuse, and Utica, NY. On Saturday, April 22nd they will host “Cavallo’s Comedy Series” at Tom Cavallo’s Restaurant in New Hartford, NY, featuring comedians E.J. Edmonds and Brian Beaudoin. Tickets are $10 for the show (in advance), or you can spring for the VIP Dinner and Show package, which includes a $25 gift card to the restaurant, two glasses of beer or wine, and a small cheese pizza in addition to the show.

The Comedy Club (Webster, NY) – Near Rochester, NY is The Comedy Club, a full-time venue for stand-up comedy in Upstate New York. The club brings in new comedians for several nights of comedy, and offers a complete menu of food and drinks to satisfy the strongest of cravings. Shows take place every Thursday at 7:30 pm, and Friday & Saturday at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. The club has hosted some pretty high profile acts in the past, like Drew Carey, Jim Norton, Marlin Wayans, and Carlose Mensa.

Geva Comedy Improv (GCI) After Dark (Rochester, NY) – Geva is one of Rochester’s professional theatre venues, with a full season of shows from notable musicals to smaller plays showcasing the professional talent of this area. But when they aren’t in the midst of one of their shows, the stage transforms into a comedy masterpiece known as GCI After Dark, featuring the vibrant comedy underground of the city. Shows range from energetic short-form shows to daring full-length improvised plays that will leave you laughing so hard you might shed tears. The next show is on the books for April 28 and 29th. Tickets are available by calling 585-232-4382 and most shows are 18+.

The Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour (Upstate NY) – Break away from the comedy venues for a moment, and plan to experience the “Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour” as it makes its way across New York State. You have a little time to plan for this one, as the dates for the tour range from April all the way through December of 2018. The tour features a variety of notable comedians headlining the event (date dependent), and emcee Aaron David Ward (Boston Comedy Festival, World Series of Comedy Las Vegas, etc). Prices vary depending on the venue, and may include dinner.

Photo City Improv (Rochester, NY) – In Rochester, Photo City Improv is the newest comedy and music venue to grace the city. Located behind Sticky Lips BBQ and next to Lost Borough Brewing (BBQ and beer!), the club offers big laughs in an intimate setting. Shows and show times vary, as does the cost – which is sometimes FREE. But don’t forget your wallet, so you can keep the food and drinks flowing all evening long.

Turning Stone Casino Resort (Verona, NY) – The Turning Stone is so much more than just a comedy venue. It’s a casino, hotel, spa, golf course, and offers multiple (amazing) restaurants in one location. Their showroom is the place for all sorts of entertainment (I once caught a Journey show there) including comedy – which is plentiful throughout the year. Upcoming shows include:

Comedian: Paul Zerdin April 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

British comedian and master ventriloquist Paul Zerdin uses sharp wit and amazing puppetry to create a side-splitting show full of wild characters, clever puns, and family-friendly wisecracks appropriate for fans of all ages.

Ladies of Laughter: Fun & Fabulous Tour

The Ladies of Laughter is a comedy contest, featuring some of America’s funniest women. As they take the stage, they compete for prizes, bookings, publicity, and the coveted “Ladies of Laughter” title.

For each of the venues listed above, a schedule of events can be found online via their respective website. Sites are updated regularly as new performances are added, so be sure to check before visiting!

To round out my picks for comedy gold in the Empire State, the Rochester Brainery allows you to get out of the audience and become a comedian yourself. The Brainery offers stand-alone classes for a small fee that teach everything from knitting to Google analytics – and comedy fits right into the mix. They have two classes for improv coming up in the next two months:

Comedy Improvisation: Whose Line is it Anyway? Yours!

Saturday, April 15, 2017 1:00 -3:00 p.m. ($15)

Whether you have a background in theatre or just want to try some Whose Line Is It Anyway? games, this class is for you. In this workshop, you will explore your comedic voice through improv exercises and short scenes… all while making everything up on the spot! Must be 18+ to attend.

Comedy Improvisation: Follow the Fear

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ($15)

Anxiety is a good thing in improv when you learn how to channel it into your scene work. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you open the door to realistic scenes where the funny comes naturally. In this class, you will play warm-up games, improv exercises, and short scenes that will boost your confidence on stage. By getting out of your comfort zone, you will play through your fears and stop judging yourself. Must be 18+ to attend.

For more ideas, feel free to click around the Cross Border Showcase website. We’ve got plenty of ways to start planning your trip, and will have you LOL-ing in no time.