AFTER A DECADE IN LOWER MANHATTAN, ONE OF THE CITY’S PRECIOUS FEW COMEDY CLUBS JUST OPENED NEW DOORS ON ATLANTIC AVENUE
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS COURTESY OF ADINA LERNER PHOTOGRAPHY
In a borough teeming with nightlife options (spanning swanky rooftops, audio bars, laidback dives, et al.), our borough was, until now, surprisingly lacking in the comedy arena. Those thirsty for a night of stand-up and cocktails formerly needed to journey outside of Kings County to get their laughs. When Marko and Tia Elgart, the husband and wife team behind the East Ville Comedy Club, noticed this market gap, they saw opportunity. The pair had run the club in the East Village for 10 years, but as an area once defined as a hub for counterculture changed, they decided to close up shop and migrate across the East River. The club officially opened new doors this summer on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown, just a short stretch from Barclays Center.
“The nightlife in Brooklyn has, just recently, become much what Manhattan’s used to be,” observed Elgart, a Park Slope resident. “When we went to the East Village 10 years ago, it was the kind of place where you could walk around and not know what you would find. Now, Brooklyn is the place where you don’t know what kind of cool establishments are around the corner or what cool art you’ll find. It’s switched gears and become a lot more open minded and creative.”
With combined resumes that include experience producing comedy shows as well as years in the city’s bustling bar scene, the New York natives blended skills in 2008 to design a business model that would attract some of the biggest names and freshest voices in stand-up. At the time, it was the only comedy club in the East Village.
“It was a niche market; there are not that many clubs in the city. I saw a great opportunity because it was such a small community, and [as a comedy producer] I saw a lot of things being done poorly and some done really well. So I thought that I could take the good, remove the bad, and make ours better.”
In the years since the club’s opening, heavyweight performers like Dave Attell, Judah Friedlander, Aziz Ansari, Tracy Morgan, and Sarah Silverman have taken the East Ville stage, along with an intrepid mix of up and comers. During its first year in operation, the Elgarts remember welcoming a promising but little known comic who sent audiences into a frenzy. Her name was Amy Schumer.
In the new 120 seat venue, guests can expect the same caliber of performances (September talent includes Sal Vulcano from Impractical Jokers and Janeane Garofalo), just set against a radically different architectural design. While Elgart described the last location as a “dive,” the new venue embraces an industrial modern vibe. “People who are familiar approximately five to seven minutes in East Ville shows such as “Laughing Buddha’s Open Mic Frenzy” or “Open-Mic Marathon” typically held early in the evening (often 6:00 to 7:30). Such nights are a weekday, happy hour ritual, and the roster usually fills up quickly. There’s also a weekly “Rising Stars Showcase” (for consideration, Elgart asks for an e-mailed short bio and performance video link to email@example.com).
The popcorn that generated a cult following in the Village isn’t going away, either. Different variations are available (including one sprinkled with chocolate and sour candy), and there’s also a full-service bar on site. The owners have, addition-ally, introduced private events for kids, bringing in family friendly comedians, magicians, and other performers.
EastVille Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue / 347.889.5226