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April 13, 2011

Geeky standup comedy in NYC
Posted by Avram Grumer at 11:28 PM * 15 comments

My friend Sumana Harihareswara is working on a geeky standup comedy routine (“about project management, Linux, relationships, Agile, public transit, science fiction, and These Kids Today”), and needs an audience of science fiction and computer nerds in front of whom to practice it.

To that end, she’ll be performing for half an hour, starting at 7 PM, on Thursday, April 21st, at Seaburn Bookstore, 33-18 Broadway, in Astoria, Queens, NYC. Looks like it’s near the Broadway stop on the N/Q, and the Steinway stop on the M/R. (That Google map claims the E also runs through Steinway, but the MTA’s map says otherwise. The Internet knows all things, including wrong things.) Chris and I are going to be there. (I might also show at Pacific Standard on Friday, since I can walk there.)

You may also know Sumana, and her husband Leonard Richardson, as the editors and publishers of Thoughtcrime Experiments, a science fiction anthology published under a Creative Commons license.

Comments on Geeky standup comedy in NYC:
#1 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:36 PM:

If I lived in New York I'd be there.

#2 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Sounds like fun! I don't know if my schedule can accommodate (depends how much work I get done this weekend), but I'm a maybe.

#3 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:18 AM:

As I said, my plane should not yet be down on the ground again at that point.


#4 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:53 AM:

I would dearly love to see that performance, especially the Agile part, but I'm on the wrong coast. Clap extra hard for me.

I have a love/hate relationship with software methodology in general and Agile in particular. I have worked with and deeply respect the people who developed it, and I have seen it turned inside out and used as an excuse to repeat all the most horrible management mistakes of the last 40 years. Anyone who can make comedy out of that has my admiration.

#5 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 08:41 AM:

I'm from the area. The E train "runs" through the Steinway station but doesn't STOP there. It hasn't ever stopped there (the no-longer existing EE did).

The N train at the Broadway Station is actually closer (2 short blocks on Broadway) than the R from the Steinway Station (depending on where you leave the station, either 1 long block or a 1/2 block to Broadway and then 5 short blocks on Broadway).

I'll put on my calendar. (I'll take the bus, though, from Woodside.)

#6 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:06 AM:

PurpleGirl is correct about trains.

For people trying to figure out how to get around in NYC, I highly recommend the MTA's Trip Planner rather than just looking at a map. You can find the basic planner here: and a more customizable one here:

Both are useful.

HopStop ( is also good but lately I've found the MTA's site to be more accurate, especially with regard to the on-foot portion of a commute.

Question: would a 15-yo enjoy this? School's out next week so if I go, I'd want to bring the teenager.

#7 ::: davidmanheim ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 01:24 PM:

I wash I were in town next week. I've been meaning to make it to a get-together at some point. Maybe someday.

#8 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 04:41 PM:

What PurpleGirl just said. I was just out in that neck of the woods and stayed with friends not 3 blocks from there (and left only this morning). The N, depending on the time of day, can be a bit better than the R, because the R goes further and therefore carries more people. Get off at Broadway and walk West(ish), and Seaburn Books will be on the right, not far in. It's not a big place, at least from the front. And if you want to make an evening of it, I highly recommend the Sanford, which has great food and an amazing beer selection.

#9 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 09:04 PM:

Thanks for the publicity, Avram! Looking forward to seeing you and any ML folk who can make any of the performances.

(Pacific Standard got back to me and basically said bring people to hang out and drink, but please don't hold an Event here, so I will probably compromise and tell my jokes there tomorrow from a seated position. I hope it'll all work out.)

Yes, Seaburn is sort of small, but the event space downstairs is surprisingly large!

Melissa: There will be long swathes of the act that a sf-reading 15-year-old may very well enjoy, and then bits that she might only enjoy if she likes to wrangle computers. So maybe she could grab an aisle seat. I know you didn't ask this, but: I will probably swear a little bit, and may make a very few sexual references.

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers): you might enjoy "Two Thoughts on the Role of Scrum Master."

#10 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 09:44 AM:

Sumana: Thanks! She may decide to stalk Lady Gaga that day (rumor mill places Gaga in a midtown hotel next Thursday), so I'm not sure she'll come.

However, swearing and sexual references are no biggie. (as you can probably tell from the mention of Lady Gaga in the first place, lol.)

#11 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 11:55 PM:

More performances planned this week, including a Saturday night performance in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood.

#12 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Stopped by the bookstore just now to ensure I'll have someplace to put my notes & voice recorder during the act, a lectern or music stand or five-foot stack of books or something. They'd plastered the place with my publicity flyer. Not sure whether it felt more like I was a famous author or on the FBI's Most Wanted.

Anyway, hope to see several of you there!

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Good luck, Sumana!

#14 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:56 PM:

Looks like I'm going sans teenager, who did not see Lady Gaga today (rumor was wrong; it was Megan Fox) but wandered around Soho and looked at art instead and has gone to a friend's home for the night since school is on Spring Break.

#15 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Thanks to Avram, Christine, Melissa, and PurpleGirl for visiting the area last night and helping me practice! (I didn't see any other ML folks there; sorry if I missed you.) If you live in NYC and missed last night's show, please consider coming to the Greenpoint show tomorrow!

Measurements: last night, I performed for 24 and a half minutes in front of 24 audience members. I delivered approximately 132 punchlines (that people laughed at); that is 5.39 laughable punchlines/minute, or a laugh every eleven seconds. I can afford to go slower and breathe a little, instead of rushing to the next punchline. Am slowly learning to do so.

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