A joke goes from Ochi's to Letterman

RIP Ochi's Lounge (the downstairs room at Comix). I've probably performed on that stage more than anywhere else in NYC so sad to see it go. Christian Finnegan wrote a nice obit for it: "A few words about Ochi's Lounge, wacky ideas and the people who make other people happen."

Ochi's Lounge now exists in the formative memories of a whole generation of New York City comedians. You will turn on Letterman and see comedians tell jokes that were spoken for the very first time on that stupid little mini-stage in the basement. In fact, I'm sure that's already happened. One of Ochi's many producers will one day have his or her own major television show--that's not a prediction, it's an inevitability. And for years to come, comedians will gather at bars or in TV writer's rooms or on movie sets and laugh hysterically about "that one time at Ochi's".


Re: "You will turn on Letterman and see comedians tell jokes that were spoken for the very first time on that stupid little mini-stage in the basement. In fact, I'm sure that's already happened."

It's true. I remember Kumail doing a set at the Ochi's mic a few months after he moved to NYC. He had recently gone to Coney Island and had a new bit about riding The Cyclone. I think it was the first time (or one of the first times) he did it because he was looking at a printout of the jokes he was trying before going onstage.

Cut to a year or two later. Kumail's on Letterman. 3:50 in is the Cyclone bit ("scariest experience of my life...and I grew up in Pakistan").



I'm still mystified why Paul thought "Born in the U.S.A." was the right song to play.

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3 Comment(s)

Blogger sean donnelly said...

Hey everybody,

We are actually gonna have a wake honoring ochis this saturday 9/25 @ 8pm at Legion Bar off the Graham L in Bklyn. email me for more info
sdonnelly28@gmail.com

thanks matt

-Sean Donnelly

9/20/10, 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

isn't that a surprisingly longer set than usual for a late night show? and it's interesting how Paul plays him off before he gets to say "thank you" or indicate he's done. I've never seen that before..I guess they planned a key word to end on before his set?

9/20/10, 2:53 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

Technically Kumail is the Bruce Springsteen of Southeast Asian stand-up comedy.

A wake for Ochi's! Sean, you're so Irish.

9/21/10, 10:24 AM