Lovely days for a Guinness
Comic Strip Live aims to claim the record for longest stand-up show.
Thu May 29 2008
Guinness is best known for certifying and managing world records for just about anything you can think of (tallest man), plus hundreds of things that never crossed your mind (furthest distance ever traveled by “the worm” break-dancing move). And yet, nothing’s in the books for longest stand-up comedy show, a record the Upper East Side club Comic Strip Live will attempt to establish by hosting a 50-hour marathon beginning Tuesday 3 at 8:30pm.
“Originally, I proposed 100 hours,” says club spokesperson Ryan McCormick. “The club said, ‘Let’s do 50 for now.’_” Or, as marathon participant Dave Attell puts it, “Fifty hours of comedy—or one David Blaine trick.”
Not that individual comedians haven’t mounted epic efforts before. In the past year, Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle have performed sets of six and seven hours at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. And those pale in comparison with the solo Guinness stand-up record of 16 hours, set by Florida’s G. David Howard almost three decades ago. More recently, British stand-up Mark Watson performed a 33-hour show or 2,005 minutes for the Edinburgh Fringe in 2005 (and mounted a 24-hour show at this year’s Melbourne fest).
And for the record, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has its own bragging rights, if not Guinness-certified immortality, for its annual Del Close Marathon: 54 hours of continuous improvisation (this year’s fest is August 8–10).
For anyone wanting to get into the Guinness World Records, the organization’s director, Marco Frigatti, offers these four tips: Your record must (1) be able to be measured, (2) be a singular effort (e.g., not the fastest and tallest something or other), (3) be able to be broken and (4) hold the interest of the masses.
Cue the 100 or so stand-up comedians who’ll perform at the Strip. Attell, Rich Vos, Robert Kelly, Pete Correale, Bonnie McFarlane and Gary Gulman are expected to lend a hand, while open invitations are out to Cook, Chappelle and other higher-profile acts. Attell, who’ll host a revamped version of The Gong Show later this summer for Comedy Central, says he doesn’t expect to top his longest stand-up performance, which clocked in at around two and a half hours. “I’m going to do ten minutes of stand-up and then show every American Pie movie,” he says. “And if you sit through that, you’re homeless.”
Another incentive: Outside of the standard weeknight shows (Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30pm), admission to the marathon will be free. The club will remain fully staffed, host free breakfasts Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 from 7–10am, and offer free coffee and Red Bull overnight.
All proceeds and donations will benefit the USO of Metropolitan New York (which will have a booth in the lobby soliciting money for care packages and other materials), and an edited version of the show will be broadcast later to troops overseas.
Judah Friedlander—who performs stand-up as “the World Champion” when not appearing on NBC’s 30 Rock—claims you might get to see him do something special, too. “But right now it’s just a rumor. The World Champion might show up to help the Comic Strip break the continuous-show record at a comedy club and break the solo-comedy duration record,” he says. “Depends how many chicks I’m bangin’ that night and how many karate tournaments I have the next day. I’ll see if I can squeeze it in.”
Comic Strip Live’s 50-hour stand-up show begins Tue 3 at 8:30pm.