above: Photograph – © Valeriia – stock.adobe.com
In fall 2022, in the wake of the pandemic, waves of people left New York City to take up residence in Connecticut. One of them was an owner of the New York Comedy Club, who used his time in Fairfield County to scout for a new location for the business in Stamford.
“Just as we were signing the lease for the new club, I was moving to Stamford with my family,” says Scott Lindner, one of the three owners. “The timing was right. Stamford was becoming more of a young city, and it needed options for live entertainment.”
Lindner and his business partners, Emilio Savone and Jim Panels, opened the doors to New York Comedy Club Stamford at 230 Tresser Boulevard on February 12, 2023. It was the club’s first location outside of New York City. The talent followed, eager for a new venue and audience. Soon, some of the biggest names in comedy were making appearances on the Stamford stage. “Some of these comics, including Andrew Schulz and Chris Distefano, did open mic nights at our New York City clubs in their twenties, at the beginning of their careers,” says Lindner. “Now they are in their prime and Stamford is part of their journey. These are the comics we’ve had relationships with and they’ve gone on to have these huge careers.”
How successful are these comics? Schulz sold out Madison Square Garden last month. His enormously popular podcast Flagrant is enjoyed by four million devoted fans each week. Distefano recently sold out Radio City Music Hall and The Theater at Madison Square Garden. He tours while juggling two podcasts, Chrissy Chaos and Hey Babe.
New York Comedy Club Stamford is now one of the stops along tour schedules for comedians with large followings who hopscotch across the country, doing shows from Reno to Nashville to Washington D.C. “The bigger the name gets, the bigger the venue gets,” says Savone. “The Stamford club is a good size for many of these performers, because it’s a relatively larger venue. Some of the huge comics drop into Stamford for the chance to do a set in front of an audience that doesn’t know them, because they want to try out new material. Stamford is part of that process.”
The Stamford club is dark and hip, with a spare stage and spotlights that illuminate a red brick wall. There is seating for 220 people, with table seating in the front of the room and a full bar in the back. As for the audience, it’s diverse, from college students to retirees and people of all ages in between. The club’s owners say the Stamford audience is similar to the groups that show up at their two clubs in New York City.
Big-name comedians draw a large audience to headliner shows, which feature a local comic to warm up the audience, followed by the main act. “When you get heavy hitters from New York like Dan Soder, who was in the Billions series, or Jessica Kirson, who appeared on The Tonight Show, or comics from America’s Got Talent, you know you’re going to have a good time,” says Lindner. “They are all pros, so you’re in for a couple good surprises.”
Another performance format is the Showcase, which is composed of five or six comics who each take a turn on stage. Oftentimes, warm-up acts are local comedians working to develop their craft, even trying comedy for the first time. “So many people we meet in Stamford want to try comedy, and it’s nice to give them that opportunity,” says Lindner. “We are looking to develop an open mic night for those doing comedy for the first time.”
These days, many new comics find an audience on platforms such as TikTok, SiriusXM and Hulu. Ramy Youssef, who had a sold-out show at the Stamford club in early December, was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his comedy series called Ramy. Shannon Fiedler, another popular comic at the Stamford location, has been blowing up on TikTok with her impression “A Girl from Connecticut.” A number of Connecticut-based performers are also driving the Stamford club’s success. Local comedian Cody Marino, who was having trouble finding acts outside of Connecticut wine bars and restaurants, now has a regular show in Stamford.
“It’s exciting to bring the New York Comedy Club brand to Connecticut and have a place where some of the biggest comics in the country just pop over on a Thursday night, people like Ronny Chieng from Crazy Rich Asians,” says Booking Manager Abbey Robertson. “We are the central hub for southern Connecticut comedy.”
The Connecticut act “That’s Fair Comedy” from Fairfield County sold out its first show at the Stamford club and now makes regular monthly appearances. “It was crazy, it was so packed,” says Robertson. Does That’s Fair Comedy make fun of Fairfield County and the people who call it home? There is only one way to find out: Get a ticket and see the show.
New York Comedy Club Stamford has a lineup of top talent on the schedule for the next two months. Here’s a list of comics coming to our town soon.
January 10: Wednesday Night Live with Dan Altano and Frank Favia
January 11: Shannon Fiedler and Friends
January 12 & 13: Jimmy Cash
January 17: Jackie Fabulous
January 18 – 20: Sam Morril
January 26 & 27: Andrea Jin
January 28: Brad Upton
February 3: Dan Soder
February 9 & 10: Michael Kosta
February 14: Shannon Fiedler and Friends
February 15 – 17: Kelsey Cook
February 18: Orlando Leyba