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Keeping Them Laughing One More Weekend

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by Raphael Odell Shapiro

 Caroline’s. The Improv. The Laugh Factory. Bay Street? For five summers now the Bay Street Theatre on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor has transformed itself into a comedy club a few nights a week. The theater has brought in major stand-up acts from around the country to perform on their stage at 11 p.m. on weekends, after their Mainstage performances, or on Monday nights at 8 p.m., a traditionally “dark” night.

The comedians are often bemused (or befuddled) by their backdrops. Naturally, the Mainstage sets remain up for the Comedy Club acts, often leading to some degree of hilarious incongruity. Lewis Black, a famously enraged comic often featured on “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” once delivered jokes from King Charlemagne’s throne on the set of “Pippin.” This summer, comedian Greg Proops was confused by the revolving set of “Beyond Therapy,” which he said looked like it might have been designed by Escher.

This weekend marks the end of Bay Street’s summer season. Three comics will round out the Comedy Club lineup, and will have to contend with the Harlem apartment set of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

First to perform will be Jeffrey Ross. Ross is a regular at the Friar’s Club “roasts,” and was dubbed by New York Magazine the “Meanest Man in Comedy.” He is a co-host on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Possibly most impressive on Ross’s resume, however, is his role as filmmaker.

In the fall of 2003, Ross was invited by friend Drew Carey to join him on a USO tour to Iraq. Ross brought along his newly purchased camcorder, and realized quickly into his five day trip that the footage he was capturing could be more important than just a home movie. In 2005 he released and edited a movie entitled “Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie,” an honest documentary of the state of American occupation, but with still comedic commentary from Ross and the other comics on the tour. The film was screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Ross will be at Bay Street this Saturday, August 30 at 11 p.m.

Next will be Jamie Kennedy, who is well known for his television series “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” and for such films as “Malibu’s Most Wanted” and “Kickin’ It Old Skool.” He has been on tour for three weeks, promoting the DVD release of his documentary, called “Heckler,” which will come out September 9. Kennedy spoke to the Express from Iowa, where he had played a show the night before. As he roamed the streets in search of an open food vendor, he described his stand up act.

“I do characters from my show, impressions, stories from my life…you know like the first time I had sex,” he explained. “And funny things that happen to me in Hollywood.”

Kennedy went on to talk about the difficulties of stand up comedy, and the misconceptions thereof.

“It’s an indefinable thing, you know? To make someone laugh. Most people watch and think, oh, that’s not so hard,” he said. “But it’s like, I watch the Olympic gymnastics and say yeah, I can bend down and touch my toes, but I can’t do a flip.”

“I like to mix it up in my shows though. I mean in Iowa, there’s no food after five o’clock but the crowds like to have fun.” He continued, “If people want to come to have a good time, they will.” Kennedy will take the Bay Street stage on Sunday, August 31 at 11 p.m.

The final act is Brian Posehn, who has most recently been seen on Comedy Central’s show “The Sarah Silverman Program,” as well as numerous sitcoms such as “Seinfeld,” “Everbody Loves Raymond” and “Friends.” He will perform on Monday, September 1 at 8 p.m.

All Comedy Club tickets are $50. For more information call the Bay Street box office at 725-9500 or visit the website at www.baystreet.org.