February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 45°F

Life & Culture

Ithaca’s comedy community comes to NYC

When junior Kate Zasowski stepped up to the mic at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, she was walking on hallowed ground: The stage at Gotham has featured many great comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Trevor Noah, and it was the set of Comedy Central’s TV show “Live at Gotham.”

Unintimidated, she looked out at the audience and said, “You know what, I’ve got a secret I’ve gotta tell you guys: I’m not supposed to be here because women aren’t funny. I was told there would be free tampons here, and those things are like six bucks a box.”

On June 24, 14 members of IC Stand Up, a comedy performance club at Ithaca College, performed at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. At 7 p.m. July 7, some of the members will be performing at the venue again alongside other amateur comics.

The first event was organized by James Dellasala and Zasowski, juniors and co-presidents of the club. After Dellasala won an amateur contest at Gotham about a year ago, he realized Gotham would be a good venue for his fellow college comedians.

“I said to myself that I’d really like to continue doing things at Gotham, and I’d really like to help out my friends in Ithaca,” Dellasala said. “A lot of the people at IC Stand Up were better than the ones I’d seen at Gotham.”

After communicating with Andy Engel, director of new talent at the club and owner of the Manhattan Comedy School, Dellasala arranged an Ithaca Comedy Showcase, where the students performed to a packed house of about 250 people.

“It was crazy,” Zasowski said. “I’ve never performed for that many people before.”

Zasowski said the majority of the crowd consisted of Ithaca College students, family and friends from home, creating a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

The July 7 performance is being organized by intern Tim Heintz, a senior film, photography and visual arts major from the college. He said he hopes this will be the beginning of a lasting relationship between the college’s comedy community and the Gotham Comedy Club.

“I think there is now, especially because there are a couple [of] students from IC interning at Gotham, there is going to be a new established relationship between us and Gotham,” Heintz said. “We do get to get a lot of comics to that location. I think it’s going to be a great relationship that’s going to continue to blossom.”

Dellasala also said he thinks the college’s relationship with both Gotham and the overall New York City comedy scene will only continue to grow.

“It’s good to know that we’ve gotten our name out into the New York City ether,” Dellasala said. “We’ll probably end up doing this again next year. I’d like to see it continue until after I graduate.”

He said many of the college’s comedians are serious about both writing and performing comedy, and opportunities like this allow them to show off their talents in a professional setting.

“There’s something very, very, very special about the Ithaca comedy scene,” Dellasala said. “I think a lot of us are really incredibly talented, and the longer we’ve been in the club, the better we’ve been able to perfect what we do. Whether or not we plan on continuing to do stand-up after we graduate, we all have the potential to continue doing comedy.”

Gotham Comedy Club is located at 208 W. 23rd Street, New York, NY, 10011. For the upcoming performance, attendees are encouraged to RSVP at 212-367-9000. Tickets are $12 and attendees must purchase two drinks. For more information and a full list of performers, visit the IC Stand Up Facebook page.

Mary Ford can be reached at mford1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @therealmaryford