To be invited to perform at the West Side Comedy Club on 75th at Amsterdam Avenue, comedians must have already begun their ascent of New York City’s ferociously competitive ‘ladder of success’.
That ascent begins in casual performance spaces scattered over every borough. There is one such not far away on 72nd Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue on the uptown side of the street. The 72nd Street IRT Subway station (1, 2, 3 Trains) is just half a block away.
The space functions day to day as a bright and modern-looking upscale deli with a large, open grill kitchen, long coolers full of cold drinks and so forth, and an upstairs loft area dedicated mainly to seating with an overview of the busy street outside. On certain evenings, it doubles as a performance space for stand-up comics.
There is no website for these events, but because it is a 24-hour Deli, the phone is answered promptly and calling it is how to find out about ‘who is on tonight’.
This block is known for this kind of entertainment. Across the street is the Triad Theater stage, known for similar ‘tryout’ performances. It was there that I saw Richard Belzner (of Saturday Night Live and Law and Order fame) present a new routine.
And beside Triad, a very old fashioned Fred Astaire Dance Studio—still in operation—and besides that, a CitiBank housed in an Art Deco building specifically designed for a 1930’s Horn and Hardart automat restaurant.