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The Ivy League of Comedy

The Ivy League of Comedy

By Shaun Eli Breidbart
Shaun Eli from The Ivy League of Comedy.
Each week we chat with a comedian or two or others from the comedy industry. Sometimes it's about the business of comedy. Other times it's more like what stand-up comedians talk about backstage before and during a show. Sometimes it's just comics interrupting each other with jokes.

(These are free-form conversations and there may occasionally be a curse word or two)
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The Ivy League of Comedy chats with comedian Scott Blakeman
Shaun Eli chats with comedian Scott Blakeman about the end of the pandemic, political comedy and its pitfalls and what it was like to work at, or being in the audience at, The Comic Strip, one of NYC's first comedy clubs. They also talk about doing shows at synagogues and about making sure that the line-up of a show is properly balanced. Also discussed- working overseas and how comedy shows are different elsewhere in the world.
55:53
March 18, 2021
The Ivy League of Comedy chats with comedy club owner Al Martin
In this episode we talk about what’s involved in running a comedy club, why Al went from being a comedian to hiring them for his comedy clubs, how he chose the name for his most recent club, how much pandemic relief money some clubs received and some of Al Martin’s pet peeves as a club owner. We also discuss that Al invented the bringer show, which is a subject of much discussion and scorn among comedians.
01:23:37
February 1, 2021
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy, with comedians Shaun Eli and Brian Fischler
In this episode I talk to blind comedian Brian Fischler about his charity Laugh for Sight and their shows in NY, LA and Miami. Brian explains about using a screen reader on the internet and how he can listen at such a rapid speed that sighted people can’t follow it. We talk about changes in the real estate market as a result of covid, and how Brian got a mass of emails from comedy club bookers that shows were being cancelled as a result of the virus. Brian talks about lower-level comedians being the insecure, obnoxious ones and about drunken audience members wanting to pet his seeing-eye dog when he’s working.
57:53
January 22, 2021
Comedians in the Cloud- episode 201 of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guest Shereen Kassam
Our first Caponeless episode, with comedian Shereen Kassam. We talk about working overseas, racial and gender discrimination in comedy, what our parents think of our career decisions, and whether comedians should date each other.
01:13:24
December 26, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 24th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guest Mike Burton, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Mike talks about how comedy has to be in the right setting, that comedy isn’t an essential service, how he’d always wanted to be a comedian and how he got started in stand-up. Shaun explains that when you start out in comedy you have to pay to perform at open-mic nights (usually just five dollars). Mike says that new comedians think they have hours of material but it’s really only three minutes. That he was never the class clown but he still said stuff he thought was funny. That before stand-up he was an actor and had a lot of experience being on stage in front of an audience. Tom asks if Mike started with lessons or coaching and the usual debate ensues about whether you can teach people to be funny.
35:14
November 28, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 23rd episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guest Myq Kaplan, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Myq and Shaun talk a lot about language and linguistics as Myq has a master's degree in linguistics and language features prominently in his act. Myq talks about his latest comedy album being nominated for a Grammy and how he hopes to become a member of the academy to vote for future nominees. Tom, Shaun and Myq talk about on-line ads and how advertisers may be tracing not just your activities on the web but also your conversations and email content, and how that may play into presents you receive. Then Shaun and Myq talk about how language changes and that the use of the word "fun" has changed. (may have an occasional curse word)
37:49
November 10, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 22nd episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guest Joe Larson, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Joe talks about virtual corporate events and an upcoming hybrid live/virtual comedy show at a comedy club; Shaun asks how a comedian is compensated in such a circumstance and they discuss the decline in pay during the pandemic for the few shows that do exist. Tom asks what we’d do if blueberries cured covid-19. Shaun and Joe talk about how late-night TV has fallen apart with no live audiences. Joe and Shaun give their thoughts on the quality of “Saturday Night Live.” Shaun talks about the difficulties of writing during the pandemic because there aren’t life experiences to write about, and Joe offers to give away his family. (may have an occasional curse word)
37:06
November 2, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 21st episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guest Judy Gold, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Judy opens by bashing Tom’s intro, explains how she got started in comedy and how much easier it was to start in comedy in the eighties. She talks about how people say things to comedians that they wouldn’t say to anyone else and why you shouldn’t tell comedians that you have jokes for them. She talks about being told she’s too tall to be an actor (though she’s since had parts in a few TV shows). She also talks about the differences between working in comedy clubs and working in theatres, she talks her new book “Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble” and we have the usual argument about whether you can teach people to be funny.
37:54
October 27, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 20th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Mick Diflo & Maureen Langan, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Mick talks about how he accidentally got started in stand-up comedy but still had a joke ready. Shaun talks about being terrified when he started out and sometimes hoped his show would be cancelled so he wouldn’t have to go on stage. Mick talks about acting and doing extra work and explains that means being an actor in the background of a TV shoot. Tom asks about comedians getting their own sit-coms and why they often hire other comedians. Maureen shows up and walks around with her phone even though she says she was told not to do that during the videocast. She and Tom compare notes about being from New Jersey. Shaun and Mick talk about performing stand-up comedy in a jazz club in Boonton, NJ which is where Tom and Shaun met.
26:04
October 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 19th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Ross Bennett & Eddie Brill, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Tom mentions David Brenner, and both Ross and Eddie tell stories about working with him. Eddie and Shaun talk about the importance of mentioning your name several times in your act so the audience will remember it, a lesson Shaun says he learned from watching Dom Irrera at the comedy clubs in NYC when Shaun was a teenager. Tom says that singers and actors continue to train and work with coaches all their career- is it the same for comedians? Both Ross and Eddie teach comedy (although Eddie refers to it as workshopping, not teaching) and the comedians discuss how to get better at stand-up. The conversation continues with the comedians explaining how even 20+ years into it they continue to improve, with “stage time, stage time, stage time” being the mantra for improvement.
36:04
October 10, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 18th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Sherry Davey & Jonathan Samson in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Jonathan talks about performing stand-up comedy in Thailand in both English and Thai. Shaun talks about his experiences performing at Jonathan’s club in Bangkok, Khaosan Comedy Club. Sherry wants to visit and perform there. Sherry talks about her grandfather, who was a comedian, and how she developed her sense of humor when she came to America from England. And how she needs to escape from her family during the pandemic. Tom asks about the differences between acting, improv and stand-up. And asks Jonathan if he always wanted to be a comedian (the answer was yes).
33:42
October 10, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 16th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Noam Dworman & Marion Grodin, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Marion Grodin & Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman, with co-hosts Shaun Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning Association) In this episode Noam talks about shutting down his club at the start of the pandemic. Shaun says the reason there isn’t as big an outcry to re-open comedy clubs as there is for restaurants is that there are simply way more restaurants. Shaun says he thinks that a two drink minimum is a silly business model but Noam explains that most people are going to drink anyway so they’d prefer a minimum to a higher ticket price. Tom asks his usual questions about comedians doing shows via Zoom and Marion explains how her performance, with a lot of audience interaction, can be adapted for shows on the web. Shaun talks about marketing comedy shows and how comedians picking on the audience makes that job more difficult. And Shaun and Noam discuss the practice of dropping the checks on tables while a comedian is still on stage, which almost all clubs do but Noam’s clubs do not.
42:12
September 30, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 15th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Buddy Fitzpatrick, Mike Burton & Jeff Kreisler, in conjunction with the NYDLA
In this episode Shaun suggests that we have it backwards- retire when you’re young and then work the rest of your life to get back to even. Tom asks whether comedians are either rich and famous or almost broke and the comedians discuss this. Shaun compares being a comedian to baseball- the vast differences between being in the majors and being a minor-league player. Mike talks about how it’s impossible to predict who, among a group of really funny people, will be the breakout star. Tom asks why there’s no comedians union and the comedians explain why that hasn’t worked. Jeff talks about how comedy clubs that book people with a big social media presence but not enough experience deal with structuring shows.
35:34
September 18, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 14th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Moody McCarth & Robin Fox, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Moody McCarthy and Robin Fox, with co-hosts Shaun Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning Association) In this episode Moody shows off his family’s summer cottage (which he said they call a camp where he’s from). Robin talks about some Zoom shows she’s done and Shaun     Tom asks if the comedians prepare differently depending on the audience. Moody says no, his act is mostly the same no matter the audience, unless it’s an industry event in which case he’ll try to throw something in that’s related to their business. Robin talks about performing at a lot of private parties so she tries to customize her material for the audience and reveals a trade secret about how to make a joke seem like it’s about them when it’s not. Shaun says if he’s doing a show at a country club or a synagogue he has material that’s specifically for them. And the comedians talk about why they’re not really performing at colleges anymore. Robin talks about starting comedy at forty along with twenty year olds and how they couldn’t relate to each other’s material. Moody talks about parallel development, when two comedians independently come up with the same joke and that he had to stop telling a joke he wrote because Wanda Sykes had the same joke in one of her TV specials. And Shaun talks about why sometimes you shouldn’t listen to an audience member if they don’t like a joke.
33:14
September 17, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- 13th episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Ophira Eisenberg & Ryan Reiss, in conjunction w/ the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Ophira Eisenberg and Ryan Reiss, with co-hosts Shaun Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning Association) In this episode Ophira talks about her NPR show “Ask Me Another” and working with The Moth, Ryan yells at Ophira for having work to talk about and Ophira tells us how she snagged free office space to work in. Ophira talks about her book “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way To Monogamy” and that slutty doesn’t mean everyone gets a chance until Tom changes the subject. Ryan talks about travelling for gigs during the pandemic. Shaun talks about scary cheap food on the road with Ophira. Shaun talks about why stand-up comedians almost always stand up on stage. Ophira talks about testing out new material on Zoom shows. Shaun talks about performing outside for his neighbors to try out new jokes. Tom asks if the comedians always knew that’s what they would be. And when Tom asks about comedy classes, teachers and coaches, the comedians talk about how you know if you’re going to be funny. But Ryan and Ophira disagree as to whether anybody can be a comedian, with Shaun somewhere in the middle.
35:45
September 17, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- twelfth episode of The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud... with Comedians, guests Tom Ryan & Joe DeVito, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
In this episode Joe and Tom Ryan talk about whether it’s okay to continue telling jokes that have been in your act for a long time, Joe talks about turning his apartment into a gym and all three comics explain why the Friday late show at a comedy club is no fun for the comedians. Tom Ryan says there are some clubs he no longer performs in, and why. Tom Capone asks when comedy clubs started and the comedians discuss the origins of comedy clubs in America. Tom Capone asks what the difference is between a smart-ass and a comedian (Shaun says the smart-ass gets beat up more). And all three comedians say that getting fired is what seems to lead to a career in stand-up comedy.
36:18
September 2, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Myq Kaplan & Leighann Lord, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Myq Kaplan and Leighann Lord, with co-hosts Shaun Eli  (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) In this episode we talk about the benefits and challenges of doing comedy via Zoom, compare it to performing live or on  television. The comedians address what they’d want to say to the  president of Zoom who would be watching, and what they would suggest to  make Zoom shows work more smoothly. Plus the benefits of having a tech  person run a Zoom show. Myq talks a bit about the Edinburgh Fridge  Festival and the tour he’s missed out on because of the pandemic, and  that he managed to get his album released. That he works on a new hour,  then releases an album, but doesn’t run his romantic relationships on  the same timeframe.
35:21
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Jill Twiss & Joe Matarese, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Jill Twiss and Joe Matarese, with co-hosts Shaun Eli  (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) In this episode Jill talks about how she went  from musical theatre to stand-up comedy to writing for Last Week Tonight  with John Oliver to children’s book author. Joe talks about comedy two  decades ago and how comics got money for development deals, and how he  impressed his now wife. All three comics tell short jokes (meaning under  thirty seconds, not about height). Jill doesn’t plug her new book,  which comes out later this month (but we will: Everyone Gets a Say). And Tom asks what the comedians would be doing if there weren’t a pandemic.
31:11
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Michele Balan & Scott Blakeman in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Michele Balan and Scott Blakeman, with co-hosts Shaun  Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) In this episode we talk about baseball without  fans. Even the Mets. Michele talks about being on a cruise ship in South  America during the beginning of the pandemic. The comedians ponder what  they’d say their first time back on stage after coronavirus is cured.  Shaun suggests why Tom could barely get in a word and why there are so  many Jewish comedians. Scott explains about ordering in food; we talk a  bit about Brooklyn where Scott lives and Michele’s from. And Shaun tells  a story about the fear of really inexpensive food when he was on the  road performing.
32:08
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Jon Fisch & Ellen Karis, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Jon Fisch and Ellen Karis, with co-hosts Shaun Eli (The  Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning Association) In  this episode we talk about Greek food, Jon’s very new baby, more about  comedy shows on Zoom, Ellen’s background in finance and Jon’s in a  mental institution (as an employee). Shaun talks about his mother’s  claim that stand-up comedy isn’t a career for Jews. Ellen talks about  places to perform other than comedy clubs and Jon talks about the perils  of professional management. Shaun talks about his novel and Ellen  promises that she’s going to write a book. Shaun talks about the Ivy  League of Comedy’s 13 camera TV shoot and wonders why late-night talk  shows during the pandemic are all one-camera shoots.
33:28
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Tali Reese & Al Martin, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedian Talia Reese and comedy club owner (and former comedian)  Al Martin, with co-hosts Shaun Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom  Capone (NY Distance Learning Association) We talk about  shows on Zoom and the future of the comedy club industry once clubs  re-open. Talia explains how she got started in comedy. Al talks about  what it’s like performing in his own club when he sees something go  wrong when he’s on stage. Talia talks about working in comedy clubs in  NY and Al talks about his new book “DID IT ON A DARE: How I Created a  Comedy Empire in 30 Short Years.”
33:18
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Frank Vignola & Karen Bergreen, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Frank Vignola and Karen Bergreen, with co-hosts Shaun  Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) Karen talks about being home with her family  during the pandemic and why she wants to be named Elizabeth. Tom asks  the comedians what they would be doing today if there were no pandemic  (the episode was recorded on a Friday afternoon). Frank criticizes Shaun  for interrupting Karen and Karen talks about teaching comedy via Zoom.  Frank talks about the career drawbacks of being a raunchy comedian and  ponders about disruptive comedy class students. The comedians talk about  the difference between a one-person show, stand-up comedy and a comedic  essay.
33:23
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Cory Kahaney & Jim Mendrinos, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Jim Mendrinos and Cory Kahaney, with co-hosts Shaun  Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) Jim says that everything I have that I love  comes from comedy. Cory, Jim and Shaun discuss the late show on Friday,  the comedy club show that comedians often dread because the audience has  probably already been drinking for several hours. The comedians discuss  the importance of the show’s emcee and what it’s like to follow Jerry  Seinfeld, Jim Breuer or Sam Kinison in a comedy show. Cory explains why  she no longer works in the restaurant industry. And some tips for a  successful show on Zoom.
33:40
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Tony Deyo & Jane Condon, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Tony Deyo and Jane Condon, with co-hosts Shaun Eli  (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) Tony talks about marching bands and why he  isn’t doing comedy shows on Zoom and Jane talks about the perils of  performing at the end of corporate events. Shaun talks about working  with Jane amidst political comedy, and not discussing politics on stage  in America but insisting on it overseas. Jane refuses to disclose which  of her parents was in a more dangerous occupation, her father the FBI  agent or her mother the first grade teacher. Tom asks what we’d be doing  if we weren’t comedians so the three comedians talk about what they did  before becoming comedians. Tom asks if there’s a modern equivalent of  getting to perform on Carson’s Tonight Show. And Tony talks about the  ultimate revenge against a youtube heckler.
35:15
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Clouds - with Comedians, guests Wali Collins & Maria Shehata, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Wali Collins and Maria Shehata, with co-hosts Shaun  Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) Maria talks about why she went from being a  U.S.-based comedian to a U.K.-based comedian and how it’s different,  Wali talks about how his mother urged him to try stand-up comedy, Tom  asks about performing during a pandemic and whether comedians all want  sitcoms and Shaun talks about how he first met Maria and Wali, and  performing for severely rich people.
29:33
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud - with Comedians, guests Carmen Lynch and Liz Miele, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
Comedians Carmen Lynch and Liz Miele, with co-hosts Shaun Eli  (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) In this episode we discuss going months without  performing on stage, Liz talks about what it’s like to start performing  comedy at 16, Shaun talks about being in his fifth grade play and why  that kept him from trying stand-up for a long time and Carmen talks  about performing all over the world in both English and Spanish. We talk  about career obstacles, what it takes to be a comedian and how we have  to adapt to new technologies to make a living as comedians.
32:49
August 19, 2020
Comedians in the Cloud- The Ivy League of Comedy's Coffee in the Cloud - with Comedians, in conjunction with the NY Distance Learning Association
The Ivy League of Comedy is the premier group of stand-up comedians touring America. Known for their elite brand of clever comedy, you’ve heard their brilliant comedic voices on late-night TV and Comedy Central. Now come see them live on stage! The Ivy League of Comedy honors audiences with original, well-written comedy that doesn’t resort to playing on stereotypes or picking on the audience. From theatres to corporate events to fund-raising shows for charities, The Ivy League of Comedy brings you stand-up comedy’s funniest and brightest. Comedians Kerri Louise and Clayton Fletcher, with co-hosts Shaun  Eli (The Ivy League of Comedy) and Tom Capone (NY Distance Learning  Association) Kerri talks about her family, Clayton talks  about being a paid jazz musician at age 12 and Shaun describes his job  as standing on a box and talking into a stick. We discuss performing  options during the pandemic and why both the comedians and the audience  need to hear the laughter, and Shaun makes fun of Kerri’s math skills.  Tom asks about comedians becoming actors and vice versa, and how we got  started in comedy and Shaun keeps interrupting with jokes. Because that's his job.
33:28
August 19, 2020