Scenes from the Cellar

I mentioned seeing Chris Rock at the Comedy Cellar the other night, and while yes, that twas a highlight, twas not the only light sparkling on Jan. 2 in the basement of a beloved Greenwich Village restaurant.

Mike DeStefano, whom I met a year ago in Aspen and immediately noticed his gruff exterior in his response to the comedy industry, and have come to enjoy much more upon repeated listenings, slipped in for a five-minute set at the Cellar so Frank Smiley from Late Night could see him and make sure he’d be ready for Friday’s show on Conan.

Wil Sylvince dropped by much later in the night, also purporting to get ready for an upcoming Conan.

And Dave Attell, who I remembered had told me last month that he had a pre-approved date with Conan, was in the house for a regular late-night set. All of which led me to wonder that perhaps that show is banking on comedians to help fill the time while the writers continue to strike. Which ultimately is good for stand-up. Writers may have an issue with Jay Leno, but they’re not going to besmirch a stand-up for wanting nationwide TV exposure for work they’ve already been doing for years. Right?

Also saw Tom Papa, who unleashed a rant about his in-laws and trying to spend New Year’s with them, which seemed as much about allowing him to get his feelings out as much as it was about finding new material. He told me afterward that he even let go the night before — right after it happened — although Jan. 2 felt weirder to him because his wife (and fellow comedian) sat in the audience to hear him talk about her parents. Hope it worked out for him! Papa also said he’d received overtures from Jay Leno about going on his show soon (as soon as Monday) but worried a bit about the ongoing strike and it not being settled by then.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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