LAYERS: “An Evening of Humorous Readings” Debuts at (Le) Poisson Rogue to Loyal, New Fans

HiFi Bar

There is no better sign for the quality of a show than when your audience follows you to a new venue.

Except, perhaps, when the owner of your former venue follows you too.

Mike Stuto, former owner of the HiFi Bar, has continued his three and a half year relationship with An Evening of Humorous Readings and its hosts James Folta, Luke Burns, and Brian Agler. “They’ve never had a bad show,” he tells me, recounting how the Tufts University trio showed up one day with a pitch for the show and credits from The New Yorker.

Now nestled in the (Le) Poisson Rouge’s underground space The Gallery, a sixty strong crowd joins us for the premiere — the increased capacity of the new venue facilitates a doubling of the audience in a single night.

(Oh yeah, that’s a great sign too.)

An Evening of Humorous Readings came out of the peculiar place humor writing has in the larger comedy community, to say nothing of humor writing reading. The Tufts Trio*, spurred on by the prospect of no longer struggling with an audience geared up for mics run by character actors and stand ups, have created a show where the humor writer is a demanded and respected participant.

Much fun to be had an “An Evening of Humorous Readings” (Images from the iPhone of Brian Agler)

Fans appreciation of the free ticket is mirrored in the creators’ freedom to try out new material in a low stakes environment. It doesn’t hurt that the show regularly includes top writers; my night’s lineup showcased Seth Reiss (Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Onion), Jen Spyra (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), and Riane Konc (The New Yorker).

The works range from the topical (Reiss’s “Person to Jerk” will never not be timely), to the reheated (Konc mischievously acknowledges the timeliness of “Covfefe…for Her” has come and gone before scandalously continuing), to the surreal (Spyra’s “Wedding Vows” joyfully devolves into deserted island cannibalism).

It is truly, in content and form, a show unlike any other.

And who knows?

Afterwards, you could even hypothetically approach your favorite writer and thank them for their work. Maybe too you’ll decide to join the after party in The West Village. Maybe there you offer to buy them a beer and ask their thoughts on the craft.

I am one writer, and I can only speak for myself.

But if it were me… I would not object.

*I’ve coined it.

Mentions: An Evening of Humorous Readings returns on April 11, 2018 (7PM for doors, 8PM for the show). You can keep up to date with James Folta @jamesfolta, Luke Burns @lukevburns, and Brian Agler @brianagler. You are also invited to subscribe to their weekly newsletter, where they curate the best humor writing for you convenience.

By Kee