SNL Star Jon Rudnitsky on His Carolines on Broadway Headlining Debut

June, 20 2016 Posted by admin


As Saturday Night Live featured player and stand-up comedian Jon Rudnitsky prepares to make his headlining debut at Carolines this weekend, we sat down with the 26 year-old New Jersey native to talk about his stand-up career, his thoughts on his first season on SNL and more.

Carolines on Broadway:  Are you excited to be continuing with stand up after being on SNL this season?

Jon Rudnitsky:  Absolutely. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the summer. And SNL has provided me the opportunity to do so much more stand up. I’m headlining for the first time and being able to develop a full hour is such a creatively fulfilling challenge.  

COB:  Has the way you do stand up changed since when you started? 

JR:  Definitely and it continues to constantly evolve. So much of my act has to do with my experiences on the show, whether it’s stories, characters, sketch ideas, or impressions, I’ve been able to work a great deal into my act as a result of being there this past year. Like any comedian I feel inclined to discuss Trump, but to spend a week with the guy definitely helps provide some added perspective. 

COB:  Do you prefer stand up to sketch or vice versa? Why?

JR:  I love both for different reasons, but the lines between the two forms of comedy have become a bit more blurred for me recently. I’ve begun incorporating sketch into my stand up, and once I realized I could even do that, my whole act really changed. It went from telling jokes to making it more of a performance. Doing sketch specifically on SNL is of course a different beast altogether. It’s gratification on the grandest scale, because you’re writing a sketch with a group of the funniest people in the world, and then suddenly it’s on live TV four days later. That kind of comedic experience can’t really be compared to anything else. 

COB:  Is there something that you’re able to accomplish in stand up that you cannot do through sketch?

JR:  It depends on the idea. Some concepts require a cast, wardrobe, and set pieces to work. Some ideas are character pieces or impressions that can easily fit into my act or can be useful as a Weekend Update piece on the show. Update is definitely where the two worlds of sketch and stand up merge the most. 

COB:  How was your first season at SNL? What was your biggest surprise?

JR:  Everyday was the most exciting/frieghtening day of my life. I’m surrounded by my heroes and as much as I want to pinch myself and take it all in I have to also write and perform alongside them. It’s a constant scramble to come up with something for whichever movie star or presidential candidate is hosting that week. It’s all very surreal, but the job doesn’t give you too much time to step outside of the chaos and realize just how wild it all is. 

The biggest surprise was how nice everyone is. Of course, you expect and hope people are going to be respectful, but I had freshman year nerves. Will they let me sit at their table during lunch? They all let me sit with them. That was a big relief. 

COB:  Where do you hope to see yourself as you continue your career? Do you want to continue with stand up and sketch or do you see yourself continuing onto television and movies?

JR:  I want to do it all. I want to continue building my act with stand up. I want to continue creating sketches on the show. And I want to do film and television work in the off season. That’s the dream right? That’d be nice. I’d like to live the dream. 

COB:  When did you know that comedy was more than just an interest?

JR:  My whole life. Truly I’ve been pretty certain forever. In middle school if we had recess indoors I would host an impromptu talk show where the lunch lady was my guest, and my classmates were the studio audience. I’ve been doing Improv and stand up since my freshman year of high school. I studied theatre in college out in LA knowing I wanted to audition and pursue a career in film/television. 

It all began because I enjoyed making my family and friends laugh and I’ve been trying to turn that love into a career ever since. 

COB:  What is one thing you want people to know about you?

JR:  That’s a tough one to answer. I kind want people to get that from my act, and make up their own mind about who I am. And if they relate to what I have to say and who I am great and if not please don’t tweet mean things at me, because I cry very easily. 

COB:  Is your set very rehearsed? Is it down to the t or do you change it up each show?

JR:  I change it up. I of course have bits I do a bunch, but I’ll explore different ways of getting to the punchline or finding different tags after. I like writing on stage and improvising a bit. It keeps it fresh, and that way you never know what you might discover in the moment – it could be the missing piece to a bit that suddenly brings it all together. 

COB:  This is your debut at Carolines on Broadway. How do you feel performing at a place where so many greats (SNL or otherwise) have performed/starred?

JR:  I started doing open mics in the city when I was 16, and would always walk past Caroline’s hoping one day I could perform there. It took me ten years and to think now the first time I’ll be performing there is as a headliner after my first year on SNL is difficult to wrap my head around. It’s a legendary club and I am honored to have been asked to spend a weekend telling jokes there. 

COB:  You are the second youngest cast member on SNL at the moment. How does your age and/or point in life reflect in your work, if at all? Do you think your acts will change as you get older?

JR:  For sure. I think you have to talk about what you know, anything else would feel strange coming out of my mouth. I’m not going to talk about the wife and kids I don’t have. I’m going to talk about dating apps, and my penis, and being a piece of shit millennial. I’ve gotta speak my truth, anything else would be false, and unfair to the audience. 

COB:  Who has inspired/shaped your humor?

JR:  Martin Short is the greatest performer I’ve ever seen. I saw him do his one man show when I was a kid, then went again in High School, then again last month at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, and he’s still simply the best. I have always been inspired by Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Robin Williams. I watched the best of Farley, Sandler, and Ferrell on repeat growing up. The list is pretty vast, but those are the initial names that come to mind.

COB:  What is your most embarrassing moment while performing?

JR:  I have a joke about somebody getting hit by a bus, and I did the bit at Iowa State a couple months back to dead silence. And somebody from the fourth row yelled out “hey, dude somebody got hit by a bus here three weeks ago.” I had an hour to go in that show. I never quite won them back. It didn’t help that I kept saying, “are you guys still upset about the bus thing?” I just felt so badly and couldn’t help but draw attention to it. I guess I’ll never make it in Aimes. 

 Jon Rudnitsky headlines this Friday, June 24 – Sunday, June 26.  Purchase tickets here or call our Box Office at 212.757.4100 for reservations.

Click here to see Jon share his most memorable moments from Saturday Night Live’s 41st season.

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“The Young and the Restless” Star Alicia Coppola Takes a Break from Daytime to Return Home to Make Her New York Stand-Up Debut

June, 6 2016 Posted by admin


coppola_alica_2016Episode # 10904

Alicia Coppola is heading back to her native East Coast to perform at Carolines on Broadway on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 PM.  The talented actress is adding “stand-up comedian” to her lengthy resume, which already boasts roles in The Young and the Restless, Teen Wolf, Jericho, and more.  A writer, actress, comedian, and mother of three, Alicia discusses her inspiration, experience, the road ahead, and how to “find the funny.”  She shares great stories, and many, many laughs.  

Carolines on Broadway: Thanks to your extensive acting credits in a variety of shows and movies, you’re practically poised to set off on character work or a one-woman show.  Have any roles in particular sparked comedic inspiration?

Alicia Coppola: Well, first of all, I love what you said about a one-woman show, because that’s kind of my goal.  It’s been a goal of mine for a few years now, and I think doing the stand-up—which I just started in August last year on a lark, I took a class just for fun [and] it’s kind of turned into something—but that has been a goal of mine, to do a one-woman show.  You know, I started out my career on MTV on Remote Control with Adam Sandler, and Denis Leary, and Colin Quinn, and Mario Joyner, and Ken Ober, so I learned from the best people in the business.  There’s really only two people who think I’m funny—that’s Chuck Lorre and Jon Turteltaub—because that just wasn’t what I was hired for initially.  But I think I really loved being, kind of, the funny girl in Jericho, and I loved working with Charlie Sheen.  I did two shows with him.  And I think he’s very funny.  He’s very dry, so I learned from him.  

COB: You just joined the cast of Cowgirl’s Story, and play Dr. Meredith Gates and Agent Lisa Rand in The Young and the Restless and NCIS: Los Angeles, respectively.  How do you balance all of this with a budding comedy career? 

AC: Nothing is a regular gig.  I did the movie; I wrapped that.  And NCIS: Los Angeles is down right now, so they’ll probably start up in July, and hopefully they’ll call me back.  It’s never all at the same time.  

COB: Soap operas tend to employ more drama than comedy.  Did you find yourself exploring humor on the set of Another World at all?   

AC: On Another World, not so much.  I was able to use some of who I am.  I’m a funny person, I have a biting wit.  I was able to use some of that, but I was also incredibly young at the time, and my father had just died.  So [...] I wasn’t really in a fun mood for those years, which is I think why I got the role, and why the role was so very popular at the time, because I was just acting out.  I was able to just be who I am, and not be a happy 22-year-old girl.  There’s that.  But I definitely use it on The Young and the Restless.  I definitely try to review some of the writing with my humor.   And they’ve been very gracious about letting me do that. 

COB: Your very first acting credit on record is an uncredited role as “Dukakis’ Party Guest” in 1988 on Saturday Night Live.  So, has comedy always been a genre you’ve looked to pursue?

AC: You know that’s so funny because somebody tweeted that.  Somebody tweeted that they were in a meeting, and that was discussed.  And I tweeted back, like, “What in the hell kind of meeting were you in that this was a topic of conversation?”  And then I got Matthew Modine involved because he was hosting [The SNL episode].  That was a modeling gig.  I was modeling at the time.  I think I was 20 [or] 19.  I think I had just come off of MTV, and I think that was a gig that was sent out through my modeling agency at the time.  But I didn’t say anything, I don’t think.  I think I just stood there and looked pretty—which is pretty much what I still do.  I just try to shut up and look pretty.

COB: Your book, Gracefully Gone, deals with grief and the journey of coping with devastating news.  Have any of your previous, more somber creative endeavors influenced your standup material?

AC: Yeah.  [In] my set for Carolines, I talk about cancer, I talk about my father’s death, I talk about my father-in-law who just died a month ago, I talk about [when] I went through a year of post-partum depression after I had my third daughter who was a surprise, so yeah.  I find, for me, even in my book, much of my humor is in there.  Dying is…you have to find the humor.  I find that in my darkest times, in the darkest, darkest times in my life, I have always tried to find the funny.  Because if you can’t find the funny, you’re in deep shit.  It’ll just be way too much.  You have to laugh, you know?  You just have to laugh.  

COB: As you head to Carolines for your New York comedy debut, do you think growing up in Long Island influenced your style of humor?  

AC: Oh my god.  I don’t know if it’s exciting, or, I don’t even know the word.  Ridiculous?  I don’t know.   I’m terrified, but I’m excited.  Well, first of all I come from a really big Italian-American family.  That right there is funny, because everybody just fucking yells at each other.  And just the way I raise my kids is funny, because my husband is also from upstate New York.  It’s funny raising kids out here in L.A. versus the way we were raised in Long Island.  You know, I always say today that back in the day when I was younger, our parents had no idea where we were.  No idea.  If we were not in the house, they had no idea where we were.  Nowadays, we know exactly where our children are because we have GPS up their butts with these cell phones and everything, but we have no idea what they’re doing in the next room, with all their devices.  We don’t know [whom] they could be talking to.  I have no idea. […]  So, I would say growing up in Long Island, yeah, Italians are funny people.  And it was also a simpler time.  It was a simpler time back then. It’s so complicated now.  Life is just more complicated.  

COB: As a mother of three, are you conscious of whether or not you’re a “clean” comic?  Do you rehearse material with your kids or husband?  

AC: I write my material.  I will show it to my husband, but I get nervous doing that.  So, I pretty much keep it to myself, and I have a mentor, a woman named Jodi Miller, who I was introduced to through my friend Chelsea Alexis.   Both very, very funny women, but Jodi is a professional comic.  In fact, she’s headlining in August at Carolines.  So, she’s my mentor, and I go to her house or she comes over, and I run stuff with her.  It wouldn’t be appropriate for my little girls – I mean some of it would be, [but] most of it wouldn’t be—not because of the language, just the content.  We all have mouths like soldiers over here.  Again, I’m from New York, so you know like my little one, she’s six years old, [and] ever since she was five, I would say to her, “How was school,” and she’d go, “It was total bullshit. It was bullshit.  I learned nothing.”  That’s my kid.  Or, I remember my big one would just say, “Goddammit, when are we eating?” or “God’s sake.”  Yeah, they’re all pretty funny.  

COB: Will your voiceover talent make an appearance in your standup routines?

AC: Well, I’m not an impressionist.  I don’t do—I do cars.  I do, like, sexy tequila.  I do hotels.  I don’t do [impressions].  I don’t have that kind of talent.  That is a gift, and one that I don’t have.  I don’t possess that one.  So, no—unless you’d like me to recite the tags for Acura.  

COB: You call yourself a “funny Dame” in your twitter bio (@alicia_coppola).  What does this mean to you?  How do you use social media to share your humor?

AC: That’s a good question.  Funny dame.  Well, I think I am a bit of a throwback to a broad.  I’m a broad.  I mean, I’m a lady, but I’m a broad.  I’m very sensitive, but I have a very bawdy sense of humor.  I’m wry, and I can hang with the guys.  I’m not easily offended, and I try not to take things so seriously.  So, while I am a lady, I still can throw a couple back with the boys.  You know what I mean?  And also I think actually, even more important, I think today there’s version of a broad, which is a strong woman.  I’m a wife.  I’m a mother of three.  I do more by noon than most people do by 6 pm.  I think women today are badasses.  And a different way of saying “badass” is to say “broad.”  So, that’s what I think, broad and dame.  And, I actually do sometimes work out a little bit of material unbeknownst to my followers, but there are just some funny things that my kids say.  They say some really funny things.  I wish I remembered some of them, but I remember there was this one, something about God.  And my littlest told me, “Well, yes, she…she told me something before I came here,” something like that.  But I do sometimes put into 140 characters something of a joke that my kids have said.  Basically that is my comedy.  My comedy, my voice—or what I’m hoping my voice is going to be—is to say the things that other moms think, but won’t say.  And also, really, just having a pad and pencil ready at the red light for the things that come out of my kids’ mouths during carpool, because if we pay attention to what our little ones say, I mean, they come up with some beauts.  They really do.  Kids do say the darndest things.  And I try, on social media, to just point out things that I find are funny, or that I find are poignant.  I don’t know if that makes sense.  I’m not very proficient at it.  I try, but it’s like a full time job, having a Twitter, or Facebook, and all that.  There are people out there who actually make money doing that.  

COB: But you have a lot of followers.

AC: Yeah, but not as many.  I’m trying to get more, but again, it is a day’s work to do that.  Let me see.  What else can I say about that?  […] God, I wish I knew some of the funny things my kids have said.  Hold on, let me look.

COB: It’s okay, I’m putting you on the spot.

AC: I know, you are.  You’re putting me on the spot.  I have some of them written down, let me think.  And then I can give you an example.  Hold on.  Oh, okay.  So, one time I tweeted Esmé.  Esmé said once—she goes, “Mom, I figured out something.  You can’t marry a cat, but you can ride a cow.”  I was like, “Is that so?”  She goes, “Yeah.  Apparently people aren’t allowed to marry cats, but you can ride the cows.”  I thought that was very, very funny.  And then, Esmé and Greta were talking about friendship words.  You know, like, “What is a friendship word? What is a nice word?”  And then they started to fight.  And Greta called Esmé an asshole.  She’s like, “Stop being an asshole!”  And Esmé was just like, “But Greta, that’s not a friendship word.”  So, like, those kinds of things.  I have tweeted those kinds of things.  But again, I don’t even know what I’m doing.  I just fell into this.  But what I’m hoping to accomplish or to do is just, again, be the voice for the moms who think it, but won’t say it.  So, I’ll say it.  And maybe that also just comes with age, because when I was younger I was so nervous and I was such a people pleaser.  I wanted everybody to like me, I didn’t want to offend anybody.  I didn’t want people to not like me.  You know what I mean?  I needed to be liked.  And now I don’t care.  No, I really don’t care.  My husband loves me, and my children love me, my family and my close friends love me, but that’s enough.  That’s enough love.  I’m good.  I’m good.  But I’m really excited to come, I really am.  I mean, it’s just so surreal for me that I’m going to be standing on a stage in New York City at Carolines, where I used to go, like, when Greg and I were at NYU together.  It’s just really, really full circle.  I’m very excited about it.  And my daughter is singing at Carnegie Hall the day before, with her school choir.  It’s pretty cool, right?

COB: Pretty good couple of days for the family.

AC: I know, it’s a really exciting couple of days.  We’re very excited about it.  We truly are.  So, that’s what I have to say.  Do you have anything else?  

COB: I think that’s everything I had to cover.  You’ve given some great answers, especially that last little nugget about Carolines.  I think that’s very special that you get to come back.

AC: Yeah, I mean it’s just, I remember—I want to say it was Carolines—seeing Caroline Rhea.  I think was it.  And probably Colin Quinn, those guys.  You know, when I worked with them.  To me, when I watch Colin—I mean Colin is one of the most brilliant men I have ever met.  When I watched his one-man shows on HBO, like that last one about world history, I’m just in awe.  I’m just in awe of him.  These guys are just so—Adam [Sandler], Denis Leary—they’re just so talented.  I feel very fortunate, and I really do think that whatever innate comic talent I had, I learned maybe [a sense of] timing from them.  And also don’t forget, a lot of the most dramatic actors that I have worked with are very funny people.  They’re super, super funny so I’ve been exposed to a lot, and I’ve been able to learn from the best.  So, if I fail, it’s their fault, and I’m going to blame them.  

COB: I’ll make a note of that.

AC: Yes, just make note of it.  Just put a note up: if Alicia Coppola fails, it’s all their fault.  And, if I succeed, it’s all their fault.  Then, we applaud them.  But, I’ve been really, really lucky.  I mean, how many people can say that they started out with those guys?  I mean, look where they are.  They’re all so enormously, enormously talented.  I can only hope to be, like, one smithereen of what they are.  [What] I would like to say is that being a wife and a mom, a mother of three, has really given me not only the material, obviously, but the courage.  If I can raise three kids in L.A., and have a successful marriage for as long as I have, then I can do this.  You know what I mean?  So, I’m just putting it all out there, and I’ll see what happens.  Basically, I’m like one big bowl of spaghetti: I’m just going to see what sticks.  

COB: Well, maybe we’ll be watching your one-woman show.  That would be nice.

AC: Wouldn’t that be awesome?  Yeah, I really have been thinking about it and thinking about it […].  And this standup is helping me to.  Well it certainly will be at Carolines since it’s the first time that I will be up for that amount of time, which I’m really looking forward to, because I’m actually comfortable.  I’m comfortable up there.  Now, I just need to think about what I want to talk about it.  But, I think definitely.  Thank you for your support.  So, when that happens I’m going to say that it’s your fault.  So, there you go.

Alicia Coppola headlines on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 PM.  Purchase tickets here or call our Box Office at 212.757.4100 for reservations.

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New York’s Funniest Open Call

September, 18 2015 Posted by admin

Do you have what it takes to be “New York’s Funniest?” The search is on for New York’s funniest comedians and comedic performers! Launched in 2008 as part of the annual New York Comedy Festival, the “New York’s Funniest Stand Up” competition is open to any and all performers who think that have what it […]

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Now Streaming: Chris D’Elia’s “Incorrigible”

April, 20 2015 0 Comments Posted by admin


This past Friday, Netflix released Incorrigible, the second hour long special from L.A. based stand-up comic and actor Chris D’Elia. Incorrigible serves as the follow-up to D’Elia’s breakout Comedy Central 2013 hour-long White Male. Black Comic ,which included his wildly popular viral bit Drunk Girls.  Both White Male, Black Comic and Incorrigible were directed by Chris’s […]

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Vulture Publishes The 50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015

March, 31 2015 0 Comments Posted by admin

Yesterday Vulture published their biennial list the “50 Comedians You Should Know” 2015 edition. The last 50 comedians list, published in 2013, included breakout comics Hannibal Buress, Michael Che, John Mulaney, Tig Notaro, Chelsea Peretti, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City, and Amy Schumer. The list of rising comics features many Carolines regulars […]

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Anthony DeVito Wins Carolines Comedy Madness 2015

March, 26 2015 0 Comments Posted by admin


Congratulations to Anthony DeVito, who was crowned champion of the 2015 Carolines Comedy Madness Stand-Up Tournament.    The five-round competition, modeled after the NCAA college basketball “March Madness” tournament, tipped off on February 25 with 64 of New York’s best and brightest young comedians going head-to-head.  The field was narrowed down to 32, then The […]

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