A round of applause for stand-up


(Original publication: April 11, 2003)

A Jewish senior citizen, an unemployed architect and a fraternity brother walk into a bar ... Sound like the beginning of a joke? It is.

With nothing in common but the urge to be the wise-guy on center stage, a Westchester-based group of comedians have come together to form the Like 2 Laugh Comedy Group.

Joshua Filipowski, 24, of Rye Brook, is the mastermind behind the six-comedian act of Westchestarians and Manhattanites. Since his fraternity days at the University of Wisconsin, Filipowski has spent days as a financial planner and nights doing stand-up anywhere willing to give him the stage time. Of course, getting that time is the challenge, he says.

"In New York City there's a lot of 'barking' and 'bringing'," said Filipowski, who explains 'barking' is standing out of the street telling people about the show that night and 'bringing' is getting stage time by having five or more paying friends in the audience.

In the city, you're a dime-a-dozen," said the Rye native.

Getting stage time on his own was hard, so Filipowski decided to bring his act back home. After doing some networking through Westchester comedy Web sites and meeting some other stand-ups at clubs in Manhattan, the group was formed.

The talent — which also includes Sasha Guilaume, Shlomoh Sherman, Jill Twiss, Dave Slattery and Adam Shuty — have already graced venues in Port Chester and Sleepy Hollow. There next performance is slotted for April 15 at Garth Road Inn in Scarsdale.

Guilaume, 26, of Port Chester, used to be an architect before his company reacted to the bad economy and laid him off. The best part about not having a job, he says, is that he has more time to work on his comedy routine.

"Architecture is a very noble career, but I would rather be the court jester," said Guilaume. But passion and survival are two very different things. In the two years before he joined the group, Guilaume's stand-up routine has only made him $70.

"I feel like kind of a father figure to them," says Sherman, a 65-year-old ex-Orthodox Jew from Scarsdale, who wanted to do stand-up his entire life but never took the leap until he retired from his career as a computer programmer. He recently put together a Web site for the group at like2laugh.com.

It's the job of a comedian to goof on the human race, says Sherman. A big part of his act is goofing on himself.

"Being an ex-Orthodox Jew is very funny," he said.

Entertainers often look for virgin territory, said Sherman. He added that one of the reasons for forming the group was because there is not enough stand-up comedy in Westchester.

Although there has only been a little comedy, Sherman says, people in Westchester aren't used to it. But he's not worried about lacking an audience, he said.

"People everywhere like to laugh," he said.

Copyright 2003 The Journal News, Inc. newspaper
serving Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties in New York.