“There’s nothing safer than an electric microphone in a big open field during a rainstorm,” quips “The Daily Show” executive producer Rory Albanese, ticking off the things that could go wrong at Comedy Central’s sixth annual standup show in New York’s Central Park next week.
Biblical flood or shine, the John Hodgman-hosted “Indecision in the Park” will kick off just before sundown June 20 and feature stand-up from a rogues’ gallery of “Daily Show” talent including Wyatt Cenac, Al Madrigal, John Oliver, Kristen Schaal and behind-the-scenes laffmaster Albanese.
Comedy Central exec VP of enterprises Mitch Fried, who pulls together the free event as part of the network’s touring business, sees “Indecision in the Park” as an opportunity to pay it forward with New Yorkers.
“It’s an evening of free comedy, and hopefully the residual effect of that is stronger feelings from the community for Comedy Central,” says Fried, noting that a live comedy show can cost anywhere from $10-$250 per ticket.
Due to the event’s popularity — last year’s edition featuring Jim Gaffigan and John Pinette drew close to 7,000 people — Fried is expanding to a second venue this year. On June 24, former “Saturday Night Live” scribe Hannibal Buress will perform at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Park.
And though Fried hopes to eventually take the free shows to all five boroughs, one place you won’t find the hilarity is on the airwaves. Comedy Central has no plans to air either event on the network as a block of programming (though Albanese and Madrigal will be taping interstitials that will air a couple of weeks later, with Albanese promising to work a pair of cutoff jean shorts into his routine).
“It’s more about using the event as a natural marketing tool for the network’s ‘Indecision’ coverage,” Fried says. “It gets the word out about ‘Indecision.’ And it’s our way of thanking the city.”
Still, “Daily Show” correspondent Madrigal jokes that the evening is ripe for disaster.
“They say as a comic, you should never do comedy in front of kids, outside or while people are eating,” he says. “This should include all three. It’s the 5-year-olds I worry about.”
As for Albanese’s biggest fear, it’s a different kind of critter.
“In Central Park, there’s actual crickets, so when you tell a joke and it doesn’t work, you hear crickets, and it’s not a metaphor,” he says. “That joke bombed, and you just hear, ‘Chirp chirp.’ ”