This fancy, free comedy show can put the spotlight on the audience.
Tucked away in the back of the diner Dizzy’s on Fifth, amidst a wall-to-wall display of iconic album covers, Michael Joyce hosts the The Fancy Show, a weekly comedy night. The free evening draws an eclectic crowd of locals, and mixes of jokes from stand-ups with audience contests designed to keep the energy flowing. We spoke with Joyce about his tricks for audience participation, catering to dogs in strollers, and biker gangs in the front row.
What brought this show to Dizzy’s?
I wanted to run a show where there weren’t a lot of other shows. There are a lot of places that will have shows seven nights a week. To promote a show is like saying “Hey, I have this show at so-and-so” and someone says “Oh, is it the Thursday night show or is it the one on the third Tuesday?” For us it’s like “It’s Dizzy’s, it’s every Tuesday, come out!” Weeklies are the toughest at the beginning because you’ve got to keep getting people out every week. After I passed that hump, I didn’t have to freak out every week that people weren’t going to show.
How would you describe the crowd?
We get an interesting cross-section of humanity. There were biker gang dudes who looked like “White-power-will-stab-you-in-the-prison-yard” kind of guys, but they were like puppy dogs. We’ve had dogs in strollers in the front row. There’s a blind guy from Coney Island who comes sometimes and chain smokes cigarettes. I don’t know how he found out about the show. We do drink giveaways and we’ll get strange people who really want a free drink.
What do you do for drink giveaways?
Normally I’ll choose an audience member, I’ll toss candy in their mouth and I’ll have somebody else bet the over-under on how many they’ll catch, and then I’ll give out free drinks. We try to do fun games and trivia. One time we did arm-wrestling for a free drink and it turned ugly. There was one guy who started trash talking to the guy he was about to arm-wrestle. We get to know our audience pretty well.
“The Fancy Show” at The Room at Dizzy’s [230 Fifth Ave. at President Street in Park Slope, (718) 230–5551, www.dizzy