Layers: THE BROOKLYN COMEDY COLLECTIVE Showcases Talented Casts + Classes at A Steal
There’s a simple saying from boxing legend James Corbett I like. It goes:
“To be a champion, fight one more round. You become a champion by fighting one more round.”
And while I may like it, people like Philip Markle and Annie Donley live it.
Returning as Artistic and Programming Director respectively, the minds who helped bring Chicago style comedy to Brooklyn via The Annoyance are now debuting the Brooklyn Comedy Collective (BCC).
Conveniently located at the vital Lorimer/Metropolitan train stop, The Brick Theater has generously opened itself up to comedy programming Thursday through Saturday in the 9:30 pm and 11:00 pm slot. The BCC, by the way, is paying that generosity forward by way of a novel ticket revenue split with show producers and performers.
It is nice to note, however, that many of the BCC’s performers seem to be doing quite well for themselves. Even a cursory scan of the BCC calendar reveals a bevy of top comedic talent: Chris Gethard (The Chris Gethard Show), John Reynolds (Stranger Things, Search Party), Gary Richardson (SNL), all jump to mind, along with many, many others. The hilarious show I was able to view, TV DINNER (fans may remember its predecessor The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour) displayed a unique sketch style akin to the hybrid improv/sketch approach popularized by Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Beyond this embarrassment of riches is a unique curriculum. Drawing on their experience teaching improv throughout Europe and time spent at The Second City, iO, and The Annoyance, Markle and Donley have created classes with a strong emphasis on personal empowerment, performer confidence, and working alongside other theaters’ philosophies. Students excited to sample something new might enjoy these Chicago staples before they’re gone.
And there’s the rub. The Brooklyn Comedy Collective is in a trial period with The Brick Theater. A reevaluation of the run occurs in June—and depends primarily on the support of students and audience alike. By taking on risks, relying on outside support, and rolling with what comes next, the Brooklyn Comedy Collective is living out the very principles it teaches its students. If that excites you, consider also that the classes are $275, about a third less pricey than anywhere else. And I suspect smart performers will see the natural opportunity for advancement that is inherent in any new organization.
As you would expect from any forward thinking theater, Markle informs me of a fun idea: The BCC and the Comedy Cafe Berlin (CCB), where he has previously taught, are in talks to sponsor a performer exchange program between Europe and Brooklyn. This ambitious announcement hints at a desire for the innovative Collective to punch far above its weight.
If they can get one more round, they’re ready to take on the world!
Mentions: The Brooklyn Comedy Collective is located at The Brick Theater, 579 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211. New classes will begin in May. You are also invited to take part in their upcoming show production workshop. Feature image of BCC’s Andrew Tisher, John Reynolds, & Annie Donley (left to right).