We've come a long way since the days (well, nights) of brick-walled stand-up shows filled with aggressive (if not totally mean) humor. For years showgoers have avoided sitting too close to the stage, for fear of being singled out and picked on by some white dude with a microphone. But as society's tastes and values have shifted - for the better - comedy too has evolved past the low-hanging fruit of offensive jokes and heckling.
In New York City, a budding scene of indie comedy has rebelled against the industry's reputation of upholding toxic masculinity in order to create more inclusive spaces for people to get together and laugh. DIY-minded and more socially-conscious than ever, these artist-produced shows have been forming a community over the past few years, turning comedy into, dare we say it, the new punk rock. The Honeymoon Phase is just one of the results.
The Brooklyn-based variety show, founded by entertainer and comedian John Farnsworth and co-produced by Clark Hamel, was launched back in January and snagged a monthly residency at the now-shuttered Little Skips in Bushwick. But the show will live on at Our Wicked Lady, after it next pops up with an end-of-year blowout edition at Williamsburg hot spot Baby's All Right on November 12th.
Full of millennial humor, live music, and up-and-coming names you need to know, the self-proclaimed "show for sweeties and cuties" takes pride in steering away from cheap laughs and providing a place where everyone can feel relaxed, comfortable, and welcome. Each, typically free, show also raises funds for different charities, from the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to The Yellowhammer Fund. Clearly, this isn't the cutthroat comedy scene you're used to.
Ahead of their big show (which you can purchase tickets for HERE), we caught up with The Honeymoon Phase founder, John, to talk the evolution of comedy, the importance of inclusion, and some young performers to look out for.
[Photo by JT Anderson]