Week At The Creek: A residency for headliners to work out new hours of stand-up comedy

When Colin Quinn needed a venue to work out his latest one-man show, “Unconstitutional,” he crossed the East River and found a second home club in Long Island City at The Creek and The Cave.

Quinn is currently performing “Unconstitutional” at the Cherry Lane Theatre Off-Broadway (see my review of Colin Quinn’s “Unconstitutional”) in the West Village, with The Creek’s owner, Rebecca A. Trent, directing him.

But Quinn’s workshopping has set a new precedent back at The Creek.

This week, The Creek and The Cave launched a new recurring residency called “Week At The Creek,” giving professional stand-up comedians up to a full week of hour-long time slots inside the black-box theater to try out new bits, tape long sets for TV bookers, or otherwise do whatever they may choose onstage. Up in Cambridge, Mass., The Comedy Studio has long hosted a “Comic In Residence” feature, booking one stand-up for every show at the club in a given month. Whereas The Comedy Studio’s program favors new comedians who really would benefit from five-to-eight minutes every night for a month, The Creek’s “Week At The Creek” ups the ante for stand-ups based in NYC who already feature or headline comedy clubs around the country but need a place to develop that next hour of material.

Alex Koll helped kick off the “Week At The Creek” this week — his final hour is tonight at 7.

Next week finds both Christian Finnegan and Nick Turner with their own hour slots; the following week of July 21-27, Joe List and Jim Tews. Rob Cantrell, Nick Gage, Ted Alexandro, Bonnie McFarlane and Robert Kelly have booked hour slots there in August.

Koll told The Comic’s Comic that he had plenty of new jokes he wanted to try out, and also wanted to put together a set he could videotape and send out to bookers. Crowds were light during a few of the weeknights this week — perhaps because it’s a new idea, the first show of the night, and in the middle of summer, still light outside.

Perhaps moving the “Week at the Creek” slots into late-night — after the other stand-up, sketch, improv comedy and open mics — might provide more of an overflow crowd of comedians, comedy fans and casual customers from The Creek’s adjoining Mexican restaurant to give future headliners more of a crowd and a chance to workshop new material.

But first, The Comic’s Comic asked Trent to explain the “Week At The Creek.”

Why’d you decide to start this new weekly residency?

“It was an idea Colin pitched me a couple months ago.”

How’d you decide whom to book for it?

“I picked the comics I thought would benefit the most from having an hour of stage time.  Artists with upcoming projects and specific deadlines were given priority and the calendar filled up pretty quick.”

Where do we go from here?

“Wherever our imagination and the investors take us, love.”

Week At The Creek, 7 p.m. (and sometimes also 8 p.m.), nightly at The Creek and The Cave, 10-93 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY.

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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