Slow Night at Bridge and Tunnel Brewery Features an Eclectic Crew of Local and Notable Standup Comics
By Daniel Cody | [email protected]
A slow but steady rain reached Queens on Sunday night, yet Last Call Comedy’s first dog-friendly event of the month at Bridge and Tunnel Brewery still raged on.
A meager but ever-present group of comedy-enjoyers came to 15-35 Decatur Street to laugh alongside man’s best friend… but only one canine attended.
Last Call Comedy’s “DIY” Sunday night performance has been a recurring neighborhood treat for around six years, says organizer and performer Daniel J. Perafan, along with his colleague Eric Schleyer.
“I called Dan, and I was like ‘hey, do you want to run a comedy show at the brewery?’ And Dan is like, ‘yeah sure!’ So, fast-forward six years later, we’re still doing it and it’s pretty good,” Schleyer told the Queens Ledger.
“I knew Dan from college. We went to a few shows in college, and we were still in touch after college.”
“It started off like that,” says Perafan.
When comedy originally started showing at Bridge and Tunnel, it was not consistently an indoor performance.
During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the show took to the outdoors (out on the street in front of the brewery) to maintain precaution. Drivers passing by would slow down to listen in on the best jokes – Schleyer and Perafan say this was an early bellwether of quality material.
The Sunday night show is a good place for comedians to work out the kinks in their new humor, says Schleyer.
“A lot of the comics that come in, they’re trying out new material. So, when you bomb here, it’s not a big deal, you know what I mean?”
“They’re really honing their craft.”
Sometimes, new jokes can be a bust.
“A lot of comedians are like: ‘Are you here for the comedy or is the comedy happening to you?’”
The venue at Bridge and Tunnel has all the staples of a healthy Ridgewood–Bushwick dive: an indoor chain-link fence and motley, lacquered furniture. Sticker-plastered walls and hipsters discussing idiosyncratic localisms over specialty brews.
“We were on a few comedy specials on Amazon Prime,” says Schleyer.
“Shelflife” on Amazon Prime heavily features the Last Call Comedy crew at Bridge and Tunnel.
Sunday’s featured comics included Gina Ginsberg, Johnny MacDonald, Keenan Steiner, Stephen Pratt, Brandy Thomas – who was the host for the evening’s festivities – and Perafan.
At the beginning of the performance, Thomas asked two audience members why they decided to come out that night, and pointedly, they responded, “Free event! Why not?”
As the show went on, comics worked their way around the audience, oftentimes stifled by its small size, but persistent in their edgy, quality and hard-hitting humor. Nothing was off the table: sexuality, diet, race, relationships.
Last Call Comedy is for people who like jokes that don’t hold back.
“The comedy that tends to work here is not long-form – it’s shorter, punchier stuff,” Brandy Thomas told the Queens Ledger.
More prominent and indie comics float around from Queens and Brooklyn’s various comedy clubs to Bridge and Tunnel on Sundays.
“Sometimes we get the area comics and sometimes we get the Manhattan comics. It all depends,” says Perafan.
“Especially if they like working on something new [the comics] love coming to a place like this. You have a subsection of the American audience.”