“When people hear local comedy, they think of their drunk uncle at the barbecue,” says Kenneth McLaurin, local stand-up comedian. “And that is not what local comedy is. There are a lot of really talented and funny people out here.” He also runs Comedy on the Commons, a showcase for stand-up comedians that sponsors shows throughout the area.
In early 2020, Comedy on the Commons was beginning to hit its stride. Then, the pandemic hit and closed everything down. Today, the organization is getting back on track. “I’m excited about where we are,” says McLaurin. “The local community that is interested in comedy is growing. Now we have more people who are interested in hosting, and it’s great to have people who are looking for more opportunities to perform comedy.”
This October, Comedy on the Commons and other production companies bring many stand-up comedy shows to the area. While most showcase local Ithaca comedians, some nationally known comics command stages around town.
Open-Mic Night at the Deep Dive, Oct. 11 & 25, 6:30-8 PM. Hosted by Mike Stewart and Andre “Pnut” Williams. Dive into the Ithaca comedy scene with this bi-weekly comedy show featuring diverse local stand-ups.
Comedy Uncorked: Trumansburg’s Comedy Nights at Cedarwood Event Venue, Oct. 12 & 26, 7-9 PM. Hosted by Foxy Goodstone. On Oct. 12, professional comedians bring the funny to Trumansburg, and on Oct. 26, this open mic will take you on a journey as comics try out brand-new material. The $6 entry fee also gets you a free drink. Try a local favorite like South Hill Hard Cider while laughing at a local comedian!
Sip, Savor, Laugh: Comedy at the Creek with Abe Gatling at Six Mile Creek Vineyard, Oct. 13, 7-9 PM. Hosted by Kenneth McLaurin. This monthly gathering includes dinner and a show featuring Abe Gatling, a Comedy Central and New York Comedy Festival performer from New York City. Also, expect to see rising local comedy stars on this particular show. Tickets start at $20.
Hasan Minhaj at the State Theatre of Ithaca, Oct. 13, 7-11 PM. This Peabody Award-winning stand-up performs his new show “Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head” at this popular local venue. Tickets start at $49.50.
Comedy Night with Dan Ahdoot at Ithaca College Emerson Suites, Oct. 16, 7 PM. The Homburger-Jacobs Contemporary Jewish Issues Lecture Series sponsor this national headlining comedian’s visit to Ithaca. Free general admission tickets can be obtained through iaujc.org.
Comedy on the Commons Open Mic at the Downstairs, Oct. 17, 7-9 PM. Hosted by Kenneth McLaurin. Enjoy laughing with good friends as the up-and-coming comedians and storytellers of Ithaca take the stage.
Thursday Night Laughs with Ariel Evans at the Downstairs, Oct. 19, 7-9 PM. This New York City-based comedian serves up laughter with what she calls “social commentary with family baggage.”
Friday Night Laughs at the Hilton Garden Inn Corning, October 20, 7-9 PM. Nothing is off limits at this monthly comedy evening held in Corning.
If these comedians have you dreaming of performing, McLaurin teaches stand-up comedy classes through his Comedy on the Commons forum. His next session begins in November.
“The beautiful thing about stand-up comedy is people sharing their experiences and the audience receiving it as something new and different,” says McLaurin. “Comedy is a great way for people to share unique experiences in a way that brings people in. That is where the humor is.”