More laughter in less time can be expected at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor this season—the Monday Night Comedy Club series will delay its launch until June this year, and will wrap up on Labor Day.
But during the abbreviated season there will be plenty to laugh about as the series has expanded to late night Saturdays and one Sunday in order to keep comedy front and center. And when Tumbleweed Tuesday arrives, Bay Street will be ready to turn the page and ease into off-season programming.
While June is still months away, the Comedy Club lineup is already in place and tickets went on sale on April 15 as series organizers tried to give late-filing taxpayers a reason to smile. This year’s series is heavy on comedic actors who put the funny into television shows and projects for the big screen.
Including actors who are making a splash as up-and-coming comedic talent is an important part of the mix, said Mike DeSanti, a co-founder of the Comedy Club series who currently books the lineup. Having an established series with a history of bringing top names to the Long Wharf helps entice the talent (and their agents) to visit Sag Harbor, he said.
“We set the bar for comedy on the East End,” Mr. DeSanti said. “We continue to raise the bar. You can’t see comedy anywhere east of New York City like you will at Bay Street.”
Screen actors (whether in film or television) have drawing power because they are known by millions. And having a history of a stellar lineup helps make saying yes to an appearance at Bay Street an easy decision to make, Mr. DeSanti said.
Actress Susie Essman kicks off the series on June 9. She appears on HBO’s comedy series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “Saturday Night Live” veteran Tracy Morgan, who now stars in the hit NBC comedy “30 Rock,” follows up with an appearance on June 16. Mr. Morgan has appeared in the films “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Half-Baked,” “How High” and “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.”
Kevin Pollak has appeared in more than 50 films, including “Willow,” “A Few Good Men,” “Grumpy Old Men,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Casino,” “Hostage,” “Avalon” and “The Whole Nine Yards.” He takes the Bay Street Theatre stage on August 11.
Another heavy hitter from the film world is Jamie Kennedy. He has appeared in “Kickin’ It Old Skool,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” the “Scream” series and “As Good As It Gets,” “Three Kings,” “Bowfinger,” “Boiler Room,” “Robots,” “Enemy of the State” and “Max Keeble’s Big Move.” He closes the Comedy Club series with a late-night performance on Sunday, August 31, at 11 p.m.
Judah Friedlander is another late-night performer at Bay Street. A regular on NBC’s “30 Rock,” Mr. Friedlander has appeared in more than 20 movies, including “Meet the Parents,” “Zoolander,” “Date Movie” and “American Splendor,” earning a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards. He appears on August 23 at 11 p.m. at Bay Street.
Other film and television stars set to appear at Bay Street include Eddie Griffin (“Norbit,” “Undercover Brother,” “Deuce Bigalow,” “Male Gigolo” and UPN’s “Malcolm & Eddie”) and Jeffrey Ross (comedy writer and co-host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”).
A triple bill on July 26 puts Nick DiPaolo, Greg Fitzsimmons and Joe Matarese on stage. All three are “Howard Stern Show” regulars with film or television credits. And Greg Proops, set to appear on July 14, has been spotted on ABC’s improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway!,” “Ugly Betty,” “Just Shoot Me,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “Last Comic Standing.”
Of course, stand-up comedians have not been spurned. Comedy icons Caroline Rhea, Richard Lewis, Dom Irrera and Craig Shoemaker “The Lovemaster” will all appear in the Comedy Club series. Missing from this year’s lineup are Paula Poundstone and Lewis Black, who helped launch Bay Street’s Monday Night Comedy Club in 2004. Mr. Black had to pass because he recently launched a new Comedy Central program, “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil.”
“He was sorry that he couldn’t make it,” Mr. DeSanti said. “This is the first year he won’t be appearing in the series and I think he’s the reason a lot of comics agreed to appear at Bay Street. He wants to be back next year.”
The Comedy Series continues to thrive at Bay Street because of the combination of presenting talent that people want to see and scheduling the shows at times that don’t compete with the multitude of events and social happenings in the summer. Monday nights have proved to be a good slot, series co-founder Gary Hygom said last year. Adding late night comedy after Main Stage productions in August is another example of a time that will give people a reason to linger on the Long Wharf for late-night entertainment.
The Comedy Club will be held at Bay Street Theater at the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor from June through August. Performances are held most Mondays and most late night Saturdays in August. Tickets are $50. Monday shows begin at 8 p.m. and late night shows begin at 11 p.m. For information and tickets, call 725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.