Catch a Risen Star: Tips for Comedy Club Drop-Ins
Wednesday I was lucky enough to be at the Comedy Cellar for not only a great lineup of comedians, but also to catch a couple of surprise drop-ins: Louis CK and Chris Rock. It’s not the first time I’ve caught an unannounced comedian added to the bill - I’ve also seen Jerry Seinfeld show up for a set at the Cellar.
After these shows, I realized I knew why the comedians showed up at the Cellar that night. And though you can’t be 100% sure you’ll see someone unexpected at a club (hence the definition of the word “unexpected”), here’s a couple of tips for attending a good show that might turn out even better.
Upcoming Talk Show Appearance
With a lot of comedians, their talk show appearances are essentially them doing their stand-up semi-conversationally with the host. Other guests, like actors, will let the host do the heavy lifting. Not typical with stand-ups. Chris Rock had a Letterman appearance coming up. Rock’s not actively touring right now, because he’s working on the Broadway play “The Motherfucker in the Hat.” So whatever bits he had, he was going to need to work them out at some point. Keep your eye on upcoming Late Night guests and look for big name stand-ups.
Upcoming Live Shows / Tours
When Jerry Seinfeld did a drop-in, he hadn’t been on tour for a while. Only a day or so later, though, he was going to perform at the Coliseum at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. Not the best place to even out the kinks in material. If a comedian hasn’t been on tour for a while and then announces some theater dates, they might be dropping by the clubs days or weeks before hand.
If I had looked at Twitter the day before, I might have noticed that Chris Rock did a drop-in at the Cellar on Tuesday. Lightning can strike twice, particularly if a comedian is working up to either of the bullet points above. So monitor your social media, particularly for the club itself.
Odd Line-Up Changes
The night I caught Seinfeld, I noticed that the lineup for the show had been changed to five comics instead of six, the Cellar’s typical number of comedians. An even bigger hint: Tom Papa, who regularly opens for Seinfeld, had been added to the bill. Sometime drop-ins are less spur of the moment and more planned. So look for oddities or sudden changes.
I have no idea why Louis CK was there. He’s shooting “Louie” right now, so maybe he’s working on some bits to thread between the stories of his show? Or if “Louie” is to be believed, his babysitter kicked him out of the house and he had nothing else better to do. But as far as I know, I was just lucky that night.
And here’s the final result of the drop-in I caught… Chris Rock on Letterman last night: