Several weeks after the record-setting 50-hour stand-up comedy show at the Comic Strip Live in New York City, readers and comedians still have questions for me about it. So why not address that now. Especially since I just saw William Stephenson over the weekend hosting for Greg Proops at Comix, and Stephenson put forth a herculean effort himself by hosting the world record show (even if he did take two naps while comics were onstage). So. Yes. Answers. First off, yes, I was there for the entire 50 hours and stayed awake for at least 49 hours and 55 minutes (there were two moments during the second night-turns-to-morning when my eyelids closed, and I shook myself awake, then had to get up and walk around). Stephenson took two naps of 20-minutes each on a mattress in the club's basement but otherwise was there for the duration. A few other club staffers hung around for the duration. If you really want to know, I didn't change my clothes, but did have toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant to keep my vital parts from going bad. I also didn't leave my blogging perch for the first seven hours and 15 minutes of the marathon before getting up for the bathroom or anything really, because I wanted to at least equal whatever silly record Dane Cook or Dave Chappelle had for staying onstage at one time. Red Bull was a sponsor of the event, and according to my notes, I drank seven in the first 24 hours of the marathon, spaced out fairly well (I think?), but things took a turn during that point around hour 36 when my eyes were failing me, at which point I began running around and chugging two, maybe three Red Bulls in a row. Not a good idea. After I calmed down and my body remembered how to function properly, it was mostly willpower and adrenaline to the finale.
Which also reminds me...after the jump, I've got a video I hadn't posted before showing me and Stephenson on the sidewalk minutes after the big finale. Also, for the curious, since I did stay for the entire show and document it and all, I've got a complete timeline of comedians who took part in the record-setting show. Enjoy!
You didn't think I sat through more than 50 hours of stand-up comedy last week and forgot to get some video of it, did you? So here's a scattered selection of footage from the world record comedy show last week at Comic Strip Live. But first, let's reflect on what happened, and consult an expert on world records and champions who also happened to close the show, 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander!
After the jump, four other videos showing what a comedy club looks like on the inside at 7:30 a.m., the silliness of comedians Rory Albanese and Mike Birbiglia as they attempt to redo a funny riff, my own self-analysis after 27 hours of comedy (and 38 hours awake!), and the official recognition from the Guinness World Records people on Thursday night...
Internet fameball Mary Rambin interviewed me around hour 48 of the Comic Strip Live 50-hour world record marathon comedy show. Rambin was very nice in person (much like her friend in fameballing, Julia Allison), which probably helps explain how they've gotten as far as they have already. Anyhow. This is what I looked and sounded like near the end of the marathon show. Thank you, backlighting. Enjoy!
Clarification: I wrote the advance story for TONY but not the blog post.
What more appropriate way to start celebrating a world record than with a closing set from the World Champion himself, Judah Friedlander. Much much more to come!
Almost there...almost there...stay on target...stay on target. We have put 49 hours of continuous stand-up comedy in the books here at Comic Strip Live, leaving one final hour to reach the finish and a potential Guinness World Record. Christian Finnegan has already performed, and the rest of this finale bill features Lisa Landry, Ted Alexandro, Rich Vos and Judah Friedlander. The house is packed and laughing heartily. Everyone is in high spirits, including many of the club staffers who have worked with little sleep, the host William Stephenson who's had barely a couple of naps, and, of course, myself. We shall not be denied this prize on this night.
Eddie Brill just handed the reins of the show back to host William Stephenson for the final "regularly scheduled" two-hour show to get us to 50 hours, and Stephenson's voice is breaking up a bit as he gets this final audience ready and rarin' to laugh. "We've already done something that has never been done," he says. First up to finish it out...Christian Finnegan.
We've reached the Final Four hours and some odd sights and fun sounds to report. Kerri Louise brought her youngest son to the club with her in a stroller, and when the boy cried out as Louise was onstage, she chose to treat him as if he were merely the most annoying heckler. All in good fun.
Host William Stephenson is still with us. He has napped only a couple of times for about 20 minutes each, so he's operating on a level almost as loopy as mine, since my eyes have closed only involuntarily for a few minutes in this morning's 8 o'clock hour. If you're playing along with the home game, you'll know that means I've been awake now for 15 hours Tuesday, 24 hours Wednesday and now 19 hours Thursday which totals...58 hours. That doesn't look or sound healthy at all. I will sleep very well tonight. That much I can assure you. For his part, Stephenson continues to keep the show rolling on time and introducing all of the comedians along with a quip or two. As Cory Kahaney takes the stage just before 7 p.m., she says: "I'm not going to ask you to clap for William...he's really just doing this for the stage time!"
If I hadn't mentioned this before, this whole record-setting comedy show also is a fund-raiser for the troops, and comedian Robert Kelly just got back from performing on a USO tour in Iraq. Kelly said he supports the troops, certainly, but he couldn't help them out as a soldier himself. "What am I going to do, throw an iPod in a Taliban member's face?" Kelly asked.
The final hours of the 50-hour "world record" continuous stand-up comedy show continue to tick and tock along fairly smoothly. Several comedians have returned for repeat performances, while new audience members have begun arriving in the past half-hour. We've made it 43 hours so far, which leaves seven to go. Although there's talk the show might make it to hour 51.
I'm restless, and head out to the sidewalk for some fresh air, sunshine and people watching. Among my own delirious discoveries while standing on Second Avenue in the Upper East Side: Our national "don't ask, don't tell" policy is misplaced. It should not be enforced for gays in the military, but instead put into place for young women. Especially now that we're in summer fashion season. We won't ask. You don't have to tell. No one's hurt. Am I right...ladies? Where's Gossip Girl when I need her to weigh in on this? XOXO
Today, just as with yesterday, the late morning and early afternoon makes for an unusual atmosphere for live stand-up comedy. Most people are at work. Yesterday saw plenty of tourists. Today's crowd is tougher to peg. And many of the comedians remark on this both Wednesday and Thursday. Lots of cracks about crackheads or the homeless. Right now, it's Dan Naturman's turn to ponder his audience. "Are you people being paid to be here?" Naturman asks. "Who comes here at this hour?"
Situations improved all around for the show, as well as for me, personally, by 10 a.m. as daylight and new audience members both made renewed appearances inside the Comic Strip. Between Bernadette Pauley, Ruperto Vanderpool and Tommy Savitt, the energy of the crowd got back up to acceptable fun time levels. As did my own energy. Consider it a case of the-chicken-and-the-egg. Or maybe you just need to hit business hours for both comedians and audience to regain a mutually beneficial relationship. Then again, as I noted yesterday, this isn't any ordinary comedy show, so the normal rules of comedian and audience do not necessarily apply. Then again again, the question is moot. We're back on track, and ready to head for the final 11 hours.
Stuck in a netherworld where you cannot sleep yet cannot stay awake, I'm here to report that the comedy show continues past hour 36 inside the Comic Strip Live. Tom Shillue's easygoing storytelling manner is easy on the ears, but for someone who's been up this long, perhaps a bit too easy on the ears, and I see little of him from 7:53 to 8:23 a.m. Though every time my eyes reopen, only a couple of minutes have passed. Same goes for Carmen Lynch from 8:24 to 8:47 a.m., although I have no difficulties hearing her talk about her modeling career that wasn't. Pat Dixon, again in a suit, comes next, but I have issues to attend to, and I'm only back here at the keyboard for Dixon's closing bathroom humor and the start of Lee Camp's politically-minded routine. Outside on the sidewalks of Second Avenue, Upper East Siders are getting their morning exercise or on their way to work. Time for another Red Bull, anyone?
My Thursday morning quandary: I only seem to stay awake if I keep moving, and yet if I keep moving, I cannot sit here and type new blog posts. Hmmm. Good thing Al Ducharme's voices and sound effects have arrived again, which perk up my ears for a few minutes, at least. At this moment, he has all of the audience members participating actively with arm movements and clapping.
"I don't want to be a downer, but I was just on the Internet, and Dane Cook just turned in a 51-hour set." -- Moody McCarthy, 6:55 a.m. Thursday
Apparently, at least 10 customers need to be in the audience to constitute an audience to keep this record bid afloat. And we're teetering on the edge of this number at 6:15 a.m., when Ryan Hamilton takes the stage. And somehow, the few remaining audience members feel compelled "to help." That's what one guy tells Hamilton after offering additional tags to a joke (note: they're not calling these tags, but you and I know what I mean, if you know what I mean). Another audience member, who says he's been here for 14 hours -- or some such gibberish at one point -- tells Hamilton it's now 6:16 a.m. and to take the offer of help seriously. Seriously? Hamilton knows what he's doing. We just need to find that morning crowd that arrived yesterday and things will get back on track. So if you're reading this, please head on over to the Comic Strip. Thanks.
Is it early or is it late? Either way, we've made it through 33 1/3 hours. And as night turns to day once more, everyone has a bit of an edge. Erik Rivera jokes about real and imagined relationships with the comedy club's employees. Brian McFadden compares the event to the Jerry Lewis Telethon, "only funnier." Just about everyone mentions being fueled by Red Bull, and they're not just saying that because Red Bull has helped sponsor the show, but because in doing so, the comedians have consumed many of these skinny cans.
Earlier in the hour, Mike DeStefano had no problems provoking the crowd with his thoughts on race and gender, saying he was here not for them but for himself to help set this world record. His closing bit even lasted a few minutes longer as he told audience members about his thoughts on using "the c-word" and "the n-word." Stephenson had been shaking his head earlier and eventually succumbed to laughter. "Willie's black, he's a professional comedian, if he thinks it's funny, that matters more than all of you," DeStefano told the audience. "You're not a bunch of comedy experts. Who are you? You're a bunch of losers who don't have a funny friend to hang out with." This comedy expert also laughed along, which is good because I need to laugh to stay awake.
"There isn't one married couple left in here, is there?" Tom Van Horn just observed from the stage, before launching into his relationship material. "They're all home or dead now."
Everyone seems a little feisty. Except me. I'm oddly calm. Some new audience members have filled in the vacant front seats, while other corners remain packed with comedy fans who've been here for the past six hours or so. The young man with the pillow had disappeared for a bit, but he just sat back down front and center. The young Indian man with the Boston Marathon shirt who, he repeats, has not run the Boston Marathon, continues to interject, but just playfully enough, it seems, that no one is making an issue of it. But Laurie Kilmartin, onstage now, recognizes there's an attitude, and when audience members make hushing sounds, she wonders: "That's not for me, is it? That'd be weird." A few more people get up and leave. It's almost a brand-new crowd now. How many more times will this happen over the final 20 hours?