High comedy: Bushwick performance space launches rooftop stand-up

The Tiny Cupboard has launched twice-weekly stand-up comedy shows on its Bushwick rooftop.
JT Anderson

Brooklynites looking for a laugh can now find twice-weekly standup comedy shows on the rooftop of The Tiny Cupboard in Bushwick! “Rooftop Stand-Up Comedy Brooklyn: Six Feet Apart Edition” brings socially-distant fun for comedy lovers and cooped-up comics alike atop the performance venue at Broadway and Cooper Street, according to the space’s founders.

“Our whole thing was ‘shows in a tiny room,’ and we’re changing the vibe a little bit, but we’re still preserving the intimacy,” said Matt Rosenblum, who founded The Tiny Cupboard along with his partner, Amy Wong. “It still doesn’t feel corporate, it feels like you’re hanging out, and it’s pretty intimate.”

The north Brooklyn duo had to cancel the venue’s signature close-quarters shows inside its pint-sized studio space at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — forcing them to shift to mostly-free, online programming, like virtual poetry open mics and digital blind dates in front of an audience on Zoom.

On July 10, Wong and Rosenblum decided to relaunch in-person events by taking advantage of their rooftop, hauling seats and a sound system to the top of the building for double-bill joke sets against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and the rustle of the elevated J and Z trains.

“On the day of the shows, we go to the roof, put down 30 chairs, carry speakers up there — we do everything ourselves,” said Rosenblum. “It’s all very DIY.”

And while the infamous din of the urban New York surroundings presents certain challenges, the white noise often becomes part of the show, said Wong.

“There’s always noise like the J train passing by in the middle of a comedian’s punchline,” she said.

The noise and the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline has become a popular setting for audiences.JT Anderson

One regular comedian and show producer on the roof said that she was delighted to perform in front of people, and that audiences have been eager to be in stitches again.

“The audience is so ready to be out of their house, doing things again,” said Malorie Bryant, who performs and hosts a 90-minute show with half a dozen comics on Fridays called Mad Love Comedy. “It’s a bit awkward for all of us. It’s like the first day of school, seeing people again, seeing your friends.”

The shows run Fridays and Saturdays with two sets each evening, and the Bushwick artists plan to add dates on Thursdays too due to popular demand.

“We either sell out or near-sell out the shows this weekend and last weekend,” Rosenblum said. “We’re thinking of adding Thursdays.”

“Rooftop Stand-Up Comedy Brooklyn: Six Feet Apart Edition” at The Tiny Cupboard [1717 Bwy., at Cooper Street in Bushwick, www.thetinycupboard.com] Fridays at 7 pm and 8 pm, Saturdays at 7 pm and 8:30 pm. $7 per set. Masks required.