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Getting cheesy: Fort Greene comedy duo host dinner and a show

Frankly, my dear: Janelle James and Brian Parise host the “It’s All Happening” show at Frank’s Lounge in Fort Greene.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

You don’t have to bring tomatoes to this show — they are already supplied.

Over the last year, the monthly “It’s All Happening” comedy night at Frank’s Lounge in Fort Greene has become a must-see stand-up show — and not just because it comes with food. We chatted with comedian (and sometime cook) Brian Parise and his co-host Janelle James about comedy, cuisine, and performing at a neighborhood institution.

What is unique about this show?

Brian Parise: We cook food for the show, and sometimes we’ll do sketch videos on the pull down screen.

Janelle James: I’m a black girl, he’s a white guy. We’re doing that whole swirl thing. We’re the only black girl, white guy, New York cookie of comedy shows.

What does the cooking add to the show?

BP: Usually it’s very homey with the smell of pasta while you’re watching comedy. It’s like you’re watching comedy in an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. But it also makes the audience more relaxed.

JJ: He makes fancy stuff. He made the real Italian s—, not f—— Kraft.

What is Frank’s Lounge like?

BP: This is a cool spot. In this neighborhood most of the venues are places that popped up recently after the area changed. This place has been here for 50 years.

JJ: I used to dance here when I first moved to New York when I was a teenager. I used to live right around the corner and come in my pajamas at 3 am, and that’s when the party was getting started.

BP: We’re also bringing in new people to the bar, because it’s a neighborhood bar.

How do the regulars feel about the new show in their spot?

JJ: The regulars are the people who’ve been coming here for 50 years, so we’re bringing in some younger people. The regulars are used to us now, and I know all of them so they know the deal.

Anything to add?

BP: We do the show every second Thursday. We have an email address [itsallhappening@gmail.com] where we’ll have people sign up and then we’ll blast it out a week before so people don’t have to remember.

“It’s All Happening” at Frank’s Lounge [660 Fulton St. between Lafayette Avenue and S. Elliot Place in Fort Greene, (718) 625–9339)]. Next show May 12 at 8 pm. $5.

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