Manhattan Comedy School

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Strengthen Your Funny Bone with Free Comedy Enhancement Techniques

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Put down that boring how-to book and register now for the free seminar You Can Do Stand-Up Comedy, a fun and informative session that will offer you insider knowledge about becoming a successful comic. You’ll be treated to the kind of valuable advice you usually have to pay for, then wait two days for delivery.

Taught by established industry pros, this unparalleled–and free–opportunity is Saturday, August 27th, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at Gotham Comedy Club.

During these two fact-filled, fraught-with-fun hours, you’ll learn how to get started in stand-up, receive advice on how to take your act to the next level, and hear the inside dope on comedy from people who have been successful at it for years. Join these veteran comics and seasoned producers who are leading the seminar you don’t have to pay for:

Harrison Greenbaum is a New York City-based stand-up comic and producer. The winner of the 2010 Andy Kaufman Award, he’s been featured on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live and appeared on MTV, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Spike, the Discovery Channel, and countless other venues. Harrison was also the warm-up comic for ABC’s Katie, starring Katie Couric, and was producer of their prime-time show Would You Fall For That and VH1’s This Is HOT 97.

Wali Collins is a regular at top comedy clubs around the country, including New York City and Los Angeles, and also headlines and tours clubs in Europe and Asia. His television credits include NBC, CBS, FOX, HBO, ABC, VH1, and Comedy Central. After David Letterman recruited him to be the warm up for his show, Wali performed his stand-up on The Late Show itself. He’s also landed roles in films like the cult hit Coyote Ugly,  Nia Vardalos’ I Hate Valentine’s Day, and Chris Rock’s Top Five, as well as being featured in the Oxygen Network’s series Crazy Love. If Wali’s face looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen him in more than 30 nationally broadcasted television commercials.

Karen Bergreen has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, New Joke City, and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. She has twice appeared at the Comedy Festival in Aspen, as well as at the Marshall’s Women in Comedy Festival and the Kennedy Center. Her television credits include Law & Order and the Oxygen Network’s Can You Tell.  The author of novels Following Polly and Perfect Is Overrated, Karen performs regularly at the top New York City comedy clubs.

Andy Engel, a comedy producer in New York City for more than 23 years, is both Director of New Talent at Gotham Comedy Club and Founder of the Manhattan Comedy School. His co-producer credits also include Funny Business, which combined A-list comics performing with corporate CEOs, including Carl Icahn, Barbara Corcoran, Donny Deutsch, Jerry Della Femina, Jim Lebenthal and many others. In addition, Andy produced the “Dr. Perry” singles parties, which averaged more than 2,500 people at events held at The Roxy, The Palladium, Limelight, Studio 54, Stringfellows, China Club, The Underground, and Eugene’s.

Don’t forget to take a mere 30 seconds to register for Saturday’s exclusive seminar. Please arrive at 11:00 AM sharp. Pathetic latecomers who failed to appreciate this opportunity must wait for a break to enter the showroom.

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“It was like seeing a god:” Jerry Seinfeld Inspires New Comedians

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

When Jerry Seinfeld pops up at a show, as he did again last week, the audience is more excited than if they’d reached the front of the line at Soup Nazi. But no one is more thrilled than the other comedians performing on a night Jerry makes a surprise appearance at Gotham Comedy Club.

To give you a taste of that sweet, sweet feeling, we asked other comedians who were there that night to share their reactions to being on the same stage as the legendary comedian.

“Imagine a young boy in Chicago in the 90’s, seeing Michael Jordan play for the very first time. . . . That’s the easiest way to describe how I felt, a Jewish kid from Queens seeing Seinfeld give a live set at Gotham Comedy Club.” – Jacob Wasserman

“Andy’s New Talent shows at Gotham are always something to look forward to. . . Just when I thought that was as good as it gets, Jerry Seinfeld drops in immediately after my set. Not only was I starstruck,  I was in disbelief. Here I was getting off stage, having a great time, then I look up and Seinfeld is holding the same mic I just did. . . . It’s so important for new comics to watch as many stand-up specials as you humanely can. But to see them live, in person, as a total surprise and, quite frankly, a huge gift, will not only inspire you, but give you the ambition comics need to press on.”  – Troy Bond

“I’ve heard about pop-ins from pros, but never experienced one before. Figures it was one of the most famous comics of all time. I won’t have a problem getting anyone out to my shows in the future. They all feel like they got the best treat ever.”                       – Erin Harkes

“When we saw that it was really him, it was like an electric shock went through the audience, and the place exploded with applause and joy. . . .  As a budding comedian, I felt totally intimidated, but once he started answering questions from the audience, he made you feel like, with practice and hard work, we can all improve.” – Sigmund Zygy Susser

“Even when he took questions, he was funny, and the humor was sprinkled with wisdom that I made sure to pay close attention to. . . .  It was like seeing a god, and having him say he’s actually no different from you. ”  – Kevin Lawson

“I felt privileged and lucky to see someone I admire in such an intimate setting. It was great seeing a master in his element.”     – Grisel Cabrera

“I was in awe, to be honest. . . . I tweeted about it yesterday, and people are still responding. . . . Can’t thank Manhattan Comedy School enough for giving me this opportunity as a student. . . . Seeing a master at work really showed me what I want to do with my life, what I want to pursue. ” – Patrick Kelly

“People are talking about how incredible of an opportunity it was for me to share the same stage with a living legend like Jerry Seinfeld. . . . His material was amazing and so precisely fleshed out, even though he told us that he was just working things out. It was inspirational.” – Raj Belani

So, finishing your set and then having Jerry Seinfeld mount the stage where you just stood is similar to being healed at Lourdes while having an out-of-body experience and falling in love at first sight with a billionaire, right after global warming has been fixed and Donald Trump has dropped out of the race because Josiah Bartlett, who is not fictional after all, has declared his candidacy for President.

Or very close.

Register for a course at Manhattan Comedy School, and you’ll have the same opportunity to stand up with greatness. Join Stand-Up Comedy Writing Boot Camp with Cory Kahaney on August 25th, or Stand-Up Comedy: Level 1 with Karen Bergreen on August 29th.


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How to Stand Up: 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Cory Kahaney is proof that “Those who can’t do, teach” just isn’t true.

Cory has been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, and The View. She’s an instructor at Manhattan Comedy School and was recently featured on America’s Got Talent. Here we present here answers to 7 common stand-up questions. Check out our classes page if you’re interested in taking a class with her (note: Cory teaches Level 2).

What’s the difference between an A, B, and C room?

How do I get on a show like Conan or Fallon?

Is it ok to drink before going on stage?

Can you learn to do comedy in a class?

What’s up with topical comedy?

How does one edit their act?

What do you do if you’re bombing?

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How to Take Your Stand Up To The Next Level

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Can doing a bringer show get you on TV? You bet.

On May 24th, five comics who performed on Andy Engel’s New Talent Showcases did their act on the Gotham Comedy Live audition show. The selected comics won paid spots on AXS TV. More valuable than the $500, these comedians left with a TV credit, a major stepping stone and launchpad for their careers.

Andy Engel, director of the Manhattan Comedy School, said, “Watching the New Talent Showcases is always a joy because some people just get it. I am happy to provide a platform for people to advance to the next level.”

Andy said that doing the Gotham Comedy Live showcase is one of the best ways to get Chris Mazzilli, owner and booker of Gotham Comedy Club, to view your act. Even comics who are not booked for TV are kept on his radar for future shows.

The list of past ‘New Talent Showcase’ comedians who went on to perform on AXS TV includes: Emma Willmann (Just for Laughs), Cyrus McQueen (Last Comic Standing Semi-Finalist), Chloe Hilliard (The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing) and more.

Another benefit of performing on the ‘New Talent Show’ is the the quality of the tape. Ashley Austin Morris, acclaimed actress and stand-up said, “From this tape I was able to instantly get bookings around the country. I was doing a new talent show and Andy went out of his way to personally introduce me to Chris Mazzilli, the owner of Gotham.”

To perform on a New Talent Showcase, email [email protected]



More Testimonials:

“I booked AXS TV after auditioning via one of Andy’s Showcases. After the filming, Andy put me in touch with a college agent who took me on – with them I was able to start touring, and from there get a manager and a talent agent. Andy was integral in suggesting the showcase and then connecting me with a great college agent. I recommend doing everything you can to showcase for AXS TV- it’s a very unique, and relatively accessible TV opportunity…that is truly invaluable to people at ANY level, go…go for it…you have too!”
-Emma Willmann

“Doing Andy’s New Talent has allowed me to perform on the same show as Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld and Judah Friedlander because they drop in quite often to work on material. Most recently New Talent has given me my first TV spot. I’ve booked AXS Live at Gotham from doing the New Talent show. Very worth it.”
-Charles McBee

“So I basically went from having no representation to having both a manager and an agent for Voice-Overs! Thanks again for making it happen, Andy!”
-Regina DeCicco

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An open letter to Donald and Hillary

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Dear Mr. Trump and Madam Secretary,

To further American Exceptionalism, Manhattan Comedy School is issuing a special invitation for presidential candidates like you who seek their party’s nomination.

If you act now, you can join our six-week beginner stand-up comedy class for free. That’s right: we said  free. Even for Donald.

The fun and informative six sessions, which meet once a week, start Monday, May 2nd from 7:00 – 10:00 pm—and we’ve set aside two spots just for you. No need to allot precious campaign funds better spent on phone banks and attack ads. And you’ll save the regular price of $399 that even declining middle-class voters are eager to pay.

Along with your fellow graduates, who will learn as you have what it means to face hostile audiences, you’ll gain invaluable skills in joke-writing, effective delivery, and stage presence from veteran industry pro Karen Bergreen. In fact, despite having never been interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, she has an impressive roster of TV appearances, comedy specials, and acclaimed books to her credit.

What’s more: Not only will you master the craft of comedy, but you’ll showcase your new act on the Gotham Comedy Club main stage before 300 of your constituents. Legendary comics Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, and Amy Schumer appear there often—and you know how well they garner support from a variety of demographic populations

Register now
so your well-crafted one-liners and polished delivery make voters actually welcome the countless brochures and TV ads you’ll inundate them with before the critical California primaries.

During this historical election year, which means so much to the future of our nation, remember: You don’t need big hands to hold a microphone.


Manhattan Comedy School
“Making Comedians Great Again While Fighting for Us to Be Funny”



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Large-Cap Laughs: Enter 2016’s Funniest Person in Finance Contest

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Ever thought that marginal profits and back-end loading were funny? The we’ve got an insider’s tip for you.

The Manhattan Comedy School and Gotham Comedy Club have announced their Second Annual Funniest Person in Finance Contest. The popular competition allows corporate professionals to prove they can show you more than the money.

Anyone in the finance industry–traders, brokers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, consultants, financial advisers–is eligible to compete in this epic stand-up comedy battle. More than $1,000 worth of prizes is on the table.

Each contestant has six minutes to perform in front of a live audience on Gotham’s legendary stage, where professionals including Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K, and Amy Schumer frequently appear. The show will be recorded so you can cherish a video of your debut comedy act.

“It’s okay if you’ve never done stand-up before,” says veteran comedy show producer Andy Engel, Director of New Talent at Gotham Comedy Club and Founder/Owner of MCS, who created the contest. “We suggest you have one or two finance jokes, but your material can be about anything you want.”

After appearing in last year’s contest, former Wall Street trader Raj Mahal earned a show on CNBC. He can now also be seen performing at Gotham Comedy Club and other popular venues around New York City, with material that revolves around both his unique ethnic background and his finance career.

The audience determines the winner of the contest, along with a panel of two judges who are seasoned industry professionals. Always on the alert for new talent, they may offer you future opportunities to do stand-up.

Preliminary show times for the 2016 Funniest Person in Finance Contest are Monday, April 11th at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm at Gotham Comedy Club. Additional show dates will be announced soon. Finals will be Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 pm.

To reserve your six-minute set time, respond to [email protected] with:

1. Your full name

2. Phone number

3. Email address

4. Professional title

Contestants are required to bring a minimum of 15 people, who will vote as members of the audience. Remember, the larger your group of supporters, the better your chances.

In addition to cash prizes, you can win a free stand-up class at Manhattan Comedy School, an audition for Gotham Comedy Live on AXS, and tickets to shows at Gotham Comedy Club.

Sign up today to reserve your spot on stage, when you’ll find out if you can bank on being this year’s Funniest Person in Finance.

Contact 212-414-7700 for more information.

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Learn from a Master How to Do Political Jokes

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Very few puppets have material as fantastically witty and original as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Even fewer are as well-informed on the current political scene.

In his Election Special 2016, the felt-and-rubber comedian hilariously challenges the politically correct atmosphere that dominates our campuses today. The result is resounding proof that Millennials are the tragic mistake we Baby Boomers have suspected for some time.

Check out the segment below. Consider this a trigger warning if you’re offended by a Rottweiler with an accent of unknown origin who always has Robert Smigel’s hand up his hindquarters.

For more of Triumph’s interviews with a range of nerds, buffoons, and other utterly clueless people at a variety of joke-inspiring venues , visit his YouTube channel.


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Comic Insights from Chris Mazzilli, Industry Laugh Leader

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

We sat down with Chris Mazzilli, Owner and Founder of Gotham Comedy Club and Executive Producer of Gotham Comedy LIVE on AXS TV, to learn what advice he has for comedians who want to appear on the popular show.

A native New Yorker, Chris opened Gotham Comedy Club 20 years ago with Michael Reisman. He was praised for his top-to-bottom redesign of the venue’s original space, which he believed would effectively change the way comedy clubs were perceived at the time: All comedy and no ambiance.

Since then, Chris has distinguished himself as an industry leader. He’s attracted countless celebrated comics to the Gotham stage, including Dave Chapelle, Lewis Black, and Colin Quinn. The club has also been the backdrop for TV shows and films, such as Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian and the pilot for Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2006, Comedy Central began recording Live at Gotham at the West 23rd Street club, with a range of hosts including D.L. Hughley, Patton Oswalt, and Joe Rogan. NBC has also used Gotham as the setting for the New York auditions for Last Comic Standing. Tune in to AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy LIVE, Thursdays at 10/9 c, to catch the funniest comics in America performing live at Gotham Comedy Club.

Here’s the invaluable information for stand-ups Chris shared with us:

MCS: When is a comedian ready to audition for AXS TV?

Chris: When they feel that they have a strong and unique ten minutes to do the show. Fortunately, there is no rush. The show has been going strong for a couple of years now, and will hopefully continue to go that way. So there’s no rush to get in front of me or anybody else, unless you’re ready.

MCS: What if someone auditions too soon? When would you want to see that comedian again?

Chris: It’s different for everybody, because somebody can be very green and need a year or two, and somebody could be close and only need a few months. It’s also how much time they’re going to put in. If someone is getting up once a week, then it could take a long time compared to someone who’s getting up four, five, or six times a week. Their progress will be much faster. It depends where they’re at and, after I give them notes, how much time they put in to correct the issues.

MCS: How does a comedian earn an audition for AXS TV?

Chris: There are many ways. I do a lot of showcases on the New Talent shows. I’ve seen people on regular shows, and some people just submit links. I also get recommendations from comics who have already done the show, whom I work with on a regular basis. There are a number of avenues.

MCS: What advice would you give to a comedian who’s about to audition?

Chris: Know that we want you to get the show. Relax, have fun with it. Really think about material that sets you apart from everybody else. We’ve done a hundred episodes, we’ve booked 500 different comedians. I’m looking for comics with different voices. If you talk about similar subject matter that everyone else is talking about, it’s hard to break through the crowd and stand out. What unique perspective do you have on something? Go with that. Be honest with yourself. Make sure you’re ready to be on stage.

MCS: Are there specific “do’s” and “don’ts” you’d recommend?

Chris: Prior to the audition, look at your stuff. Get other people’s opinions. Be honest with yourself, and make sure you’re putting your best eight-to-ten minutes in front of us. When you’re auditioning, live or via tape, stay away from the crowd. Avoid the “how are you doing?” or “where are you from?” crowd work. That won’t fly on a TV show, because every audience is different. So take a beat, then get right into your material.

MCS: What’s the minimum experience you advise a comedian have before they audition?

Chris: It’s a tough call because everybody is different. Some people have it very quickly, and they’re ready in a year or two. Others take longer. It depends on how much time you’re willing to put in. There are many comics who dabble in and out of it, getting up only a few times a month. Then there are others who really dive into it and get on 20 times a week. It’s not a time issue—it’s how much you really want it. How much time do you want to put in to get to the point where you’re ready?

MCS: What else can you add that would support comedians?

Chris: Have fun with it. We want people to get on the show—I want to stress that. We’re always looking for new talent, so we’re a hundred percent on your side. If you do get to audition, and you get feedback, know that it’s for that show that we’re looking, so don’t take it to heart. We’re trying to guide you to get on the show.

Our thanks to Chris. Please post any other questions you have in the comments.


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The Holiday Gift You Want People to Laugh At

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Does your boss get a little touchy around this time of year? Are your friends depressed when they see holiday decorations on Walmart’s shelves? Is your mailman overreacting to the impending bankruptcy of the U.S. Postal Service?  You can help!

With your gift certificate to any of Manhattan Comedy School‘s Level 1 stand-up comedy classes, all their troubles will be washed away in just six weeks. Instead of understanding why they hate their mothers, students learn how to write jokes, develop an effective set, and command a real comedy club stage. In the process, they’ll build confidence, increase their comfort speaking in public, and polish their performance skills as they experience the ego-boosting adrenaline surge that comes with doing stand-up comedy. Maybe your mailman can even start a new career before he has to visit the unemployment office.

All MCS courses are taught by seasoned comics with years of experience in the industry, and conclude with graduates performing live at the Gotham Comedy Club. Adding to the excitement, big-name special guests like Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd often appear for the shows.

Gift certificates are good for any beginner class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get a few of them for all your morose pals. They’re cheaper than Xanax with none of the sexual side effects!

Purchase here:

Recipients choose the class they want to attend (start dates are posted at the link above), then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call 212-362-6647.

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AXS of Comedy: New Talent Booked on TV

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

As a graduate of a Manhattan Comedy School class, you get to ply your new skills performing on the Gotham Comedy Club stage. But the advantage doesn’t end there. Comedian Tom Eschleman, a student in a Level 1 class, can confirm that: His appearance got him booked to perform on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy LIVE show.

This is Eschleman’s first TV spot—a seminal event in any young comic’s career.

This week, Chris Mazzilli, owner of New York City’s premier comedy venue, gave feedback and notes to several acts, as he’s done every month for New Talent show comics the past two years. After seeing Eschleman’s performance, he immediately booked the young comedian on the popular Thursday night AXS TV show.

Eschleman has been taking MCS’s six-week Beginner Stand-Up Class (Level 1) with industry pro Karen Bergreen, and has also honed his craft with veteran comedian and MCS instructor Cory Kahaney.

But he’s just one of many MCS students and New Talent show comics to rate a booking on Gotham Comedy LIVE. Comedy veteran Keith Anthony landed his first AXS TV spot at the same show, while Kenny Garcia, who won the New Talent contest last week, also will appear.

These opportunities are not auditions—all three comics are scheduled to appear on the show.

For more than 12 years, MCS’s faculty of national headliners has been teaching stand-up comedy to professionals in entertainment as well as the corporate world. Students master skills in writing, delivery, and developing their persona. They then have the opportunity to test their refined acts on the professional stage at Gotham Comedy Club.

We got raves from some of the other comics who were booked on AXS TV:

Charles McBee (2014): “Doing Andy’s New Talent show has allowed me to perform on the same shows as Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, and Judah Friedlander, because they drop in quite often to work on material. . . . Very worth it.

Gibran Saleem (2014): “I recently auditioned for AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live and am booked on my first stand-up TV debut! I can honestly say none of this would have happened without Andy Engel’s help, support, and exposure, and his New Talent shows.”

Ashley Austin Morris (2013):I was able to instantly get bookings around the country. . . . I was doing a New Talent show, and Andy Engel went out of his way to introduce me to Chris Mazzilli. . .he booked me on AXS TV.”

Cyrus McQueen (2013): “I simply wouldn’t have gotten my first TV credit without the help of Andy Engel and the platform his New Talent show provided me.”

Chloe Hilliard (2013): “There is no way, as an up-and-coming comic, I would have been able to land my TV debut without Andy Engel. His showcases gave me the exposure I needed to get the attention of club bookers, TV producers, and college agents.

And here are some more MCS-graduate success stories:

Carmen Lynch: Two appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

Ryan Reiss: Monologue writer and warm-up comic for Late Night with Seth Meyers

Chloe Hilliard: NBC’s Last Comic Standing

Jimmy Failla: Recently taped his one-hour special at Gotham Comedy Club

Vidur Kapur: Showtime Special

Colin Kane: National headliner, recently headlined at Gotham Comedy Club

Register today for a class at Manhattan Comedy School, and you might find yourself on TV, too.


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