Enjoying a walkabout in the city this weekend, a friend and I noticed that in just about any other city, a Fringe Festival takes over the town and you cannot avoid seeing or hearing about it. But in New York City, the Fringe can be happening and you might not even know it. It could just as well be called the Underground festival. Except, oh, that festival is happening in NYC this week, too!
Yes, comedy fans.
If you're in Manhattan, or even Brooklyn, for the rest of August 2010, you have extra options for your entertainment dollar as both the New York International Fringe Festival and the New York Underground Comedy Festival have set up shops. I suppose the simple answer to the question posed by my own headline is that if you're in a black-box theater-type space, then you're at a Fringe show, and if you're in a comedy club or a bar masquerading as a comedy club, then you're at an Underground show. But let's stop trying to answer questions which are moot and answer one that you might find more useful.
Such as, what shows might be worth your time and money at these festivals?
With the Underground Comedy festival, it's always a bit interesting to see what shows they include, because often times, the shows are the same weekly or monthly shows that operate "underground" outside of the city's club system and just happen to be happening with a festival banner this time. See: Morrison Motel, which is happening tonight at Cornelia Street Cafe, with guests including John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac. Very underground? Not very, but still a fun time. Tonight also features the festival's annual "Emerging Comics Contest" at Gotham Comedy Club, which has in years past awarded comedians who have, in fact, emerged. This also is the festival that features the annual "New York's Funniest Reporter" contest. I'm neither competing nor judging this year, so you're all safe! Among other shows to keep an eye on: Franklyn Ajaye is performing Friday at the Green Room at 45 Bleecker, while Ted Alexandro headlines for an hour at Karma on Saturday. Check out the full schedule for lineups and ticket info!
The New York Fringe has dozens of shows listed under the comedy genre this year with multiple performances. I cannot speak for all of them. But I do know about a few of them...