It seems like a year has passed already, but it was actually just one week ago that the Yonkers Comedy Festival (YCF) came to a close with a “Best of the Festival” show featuring Nore Davis at La Lanterna.
I am almost caught up on my sleep and I think the last of the glitter and the smell of regret has finally washed away, wait, umm wrong weekend. Move along, there is nothing to see here…
Back on track; yes, sleep was hard to come by during the YCF and when the time came to set up for the final show, I was ready to get it moving. Heck, I was ready to break it down before even setting it up, but the show must go on; and go on it did!
(Note to self, next time you want to schedule a comedy show in a restaurant, don’t do it during restaurant week.)
La Lanterna was packed with their dinner crowd right up until show time, slightly delaying set up and the start of the show. The 9:30 start quickly turned into a 10:30 start, but the crowd was amazingly patient and wanted their comedy fix for the night. The audience seemed alight with enthusiasm as Nore Davis (a Yonkers resident) took the stage to kick off the show, but now that I think about it that could have been due to the 300 watt spotlight (or “Africa Light” as Nore Davis called it, what does that even mean??) that we had blazing across the room. Either way, it was soon evident that Nore Davis had spent the extra hour preparing for the show at the bar, reviewing his notes I’m sure, because he was on fire (and highly flammable)!
Nore played with and warmed up the crowd for nearly 30 minutes and they were primed and ready when he brought up the first comic of the evening, Kenan Weaver. The first thing one realized about Kenan is that a low ceiling and a high stage is a bad combination for a tall comedian, but Kenan was a true professional and figuratively ‘raised the roof’ as the crowd howled at his material. Next up was the lovely Janelle James, who immediately took the crowd to the next level with her interesting stories and ‘insights’.
The night moved along with another Yonkers native, Steve Loftus, and his take on the ‘Greatest Pick Up Line’ which I am gladly prepared to deal with now should I ever encounter it; and then rolled into the high power stylings of Shakir Standley, fresh off the latest season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing!
After a brief memory crisis, Nore brought up special guest Chrissie “There”, whose actual name is Chrissie Mayr (hence the memory crisis comment). Chrissie had just rushed up from her monthly show at the historic Stonewall Inn (Comedy at Stonewall) just to be part of this show. Chrissie killed (that’s a positive term if you are not familiar) and she teed the crowd up for the night’s headliner, Johnny Watson. Johnny brought the show to a climax with his stories about his mother and growing up poor, and left everyone with a mental picture of him in a Navy uniform; not something I will soon get out of my mind’s eye.
By the end of the show, the audience resembled a newlywed couple on their wedding night: elated, exhausted, excited and satisfied. Tears were shed, minds were blown and lives were changed (that one might be a bit of a stretch, but if you don’t like it then you write the next blog).
I finally got to break the show down and pass out for the night about 2am. Having experienced a show for the ages and a fitting end to the Yonkers Comedy Festival. I am already excited about next year and welcome the long hours and never ending laughs brought to Westchester by NoMa Comedy