Over the past few years, Rebecca A. Trent has built up The Creek and The Cave into a welcoming home for indie comedy one stop off the 7 train into Queens.
Derrick Comedy — whose members, Donald Glover, DC Pierson and Dominic Dierkes, have since gone Hollywood for fame and fortune — hosted a weekly show at The Creek. Current inhabitants include Pat Dixon, Nick Turner, Mark Normand, Team Submarine and Murderfist. And last spring, the black-box venue played host to Montreal’s Just For Laughs favorite audition showcases.
And yet, despite this hot but still under-the-radar status — such being a comedy club in Long Island City — The Creek is no longer alone in providing full-time live comedy to the neighborhood.
Only 300 yards around the corner, the Laughing Devil Comedy Club opened its doors last weekend to decent crowds. Laughing Devil only seats 50, but local resident Steve Hofstetter launched the joint on the heels of the success of Laughing Skull, which he helped open in Atlanta. As such, they opened last weekend with a full liquor license, food menu, and merchandise including T-shirts.
It’s more of a traditional two-item minimum, straight-ahead comedy club model, in comparison to what The Creek has been doing (offering either free shows, or $5 shows that include a free drink). The Creek also has a full-time Mexican restaurant that can support the indie comedy shows that happen both in the main black-box room (signed by dozens of comedians both famous and soon-to-be famous) and downstairs adjacent to the basement bar.
On New Year’s Eve, for example, The Creek is offering a stand-up and sketch showcase hosted by Murderfist that will include performances by Montreal “New Face” Nick Turner and others. Around the corner at Laughing Devil, the Dec. 31 shows spotlight Carmen Lynch, Victor Varnado, Myq Kaplan and Hofstetter.
Looking at the Laughing Devil calendar, it’s difficult to figure out, at least in the short-run, whether the club will present audiences with multiple 15-minute showcase sets or a traditional three-act format. Hofstetter told The Comic’s Comic, “We’re a hybrid – we do longer showcase spots. Occasionally we’ll also have headliner shows (Rich Vos is doing a few in March).”
Still, since it’s been a stretch attracting big crowds to one club in The Creek, how will a second full-time comedy club impact the neighborhood off the Vernon-Jackson 7 stop?
Trent, for her part, is taking this new competition in stride. She told The Comic’s Comic: “The Creek and The Cave is proud to have paved the way for all types of comedy to come to Long Island City. We’re going to be the funniest neighborhood in Queens.”