Sticks and Stones Comedy Club Debuts This Summer in Southampton
Sticks and Stones Comedy Club debuts this summer, bringing the laughs back to the East End at Southampton Cultural Center. This comedy club is the brainchild of producers Abby Russell and Lynn Kaplan, who have a host of television credits.
Friends for over 25 years, the duo have joined forces to give the region what it has missed since the East End Comedy Club closed its doors decades ago.
“We’ve worked hard to create a space that’s both inviting and entertaining, and we can’t wait to share it,” Kaplan tells Dan’s.
Russell shares her thoughts with readers as she and Kaplan cross the threshold into their exciting new comedy club.
Sticks and Stones Comedy Club Is Coming Soon
Is there a need for a Hamptons comedy club?
There’s a need for comedy everywhere. We all need to laugh and find the humor in things, especially after experiencing the pandemic. It’s a tough world out there and we all need to find the levity and laughter.
Why did you decide on Southampton for this comedy club?
Southampton has had a storied history in comedy. In the 1980s, the East End Comedy Club was a famous place where Judd Apatow came to see comedians because his mother was a waitress there. Comedy manager Rick Messina, who managed Drew Carey and Tim Allen, was the club’s manager then. So many comedy stars performed in this beautiful beach town, and now we’re making our stage in Southampton come alive again!
And why the Southampton Cultural Center?
The cultural center is this beautiful jewel right in the center of town run by the Village of Southampton. It houses an elegant professional theater. Kirsten Lonnie is the executive director, and since the center is an incredible hub of cultural, performance and community programming, none of that would happen without her driving force.
She is a real patron of the arts. She has been incredible to work with on this new venture. Everyone should explore the other programs that they have there. It’s an exciting spot.
How did you come up with the name “Sticks and Stones” for the comedy club?
My daughter came up with the name, and it’s great because comedians tend to be truth-tellers for our culture and society. They know how to break down things we don’t often know how to discuss. They make it palatable with their humor. I also like the alliteration.
What do you feel makes for good comedy?
Comedy is subjective, but I think whatever makes you laugh and soothes your soul is good comedy. It’s something that touches you and allows you to see the truth and humanity in some way. If it moves you, then it’s good.
When did the two of you first join forces to produce together?
This is our first time, though we have been friends for over 25 years. I started the Hamptons Comedy Festival in 2000, as well as the nonprofit Comedy Fights Cancer to bring comedy to hospital and care facilities. I’ve had a long history of producing comedy in the Hamptons.
But Lynn and I did not come together to work on something before this. I lived in LA for many years doing film and TV. Then I had my child, and we found ourselves back on the East End, so I thought I’d like to do something in that comedy space again. We’re both in the comedy world and have been for many years in different ways.
I’ve been wanting to open a comedy club in the Hamptons since before the pandemic. But the pandemic sealed it for me that we really need to laugh as much as we can. Lynn is a great sounding board and a great producer. When she heard I was going to do this, we decided to work together on it. She makes me laugh.
Whoever you work with, you want it to be somebody you enjoy spending time with.
A portion of this series’ proceeds goes to charity. Which charities are you supporting?
The nonprofit Comedy Fights Cancer. We have had a program since 2000 in New York, then we brought the comedy to Southampton Hospital and other local care facilities to bring humor and healing together.
Will you have guest star comedians surprise the audience?
Yes. I can’t tell you who is going to be dropping by, but I think there will be some drop-ins.
Are there plans for comedian showcases?
Yes, we plan showcases and comedy classes. We’re going to feature comedy stars from around the country, as well as local talent. The headliners that are coming have been on the late night shows.
They’ve had successful careers. And we want to make sure we offer a consistent level of real quality to the guests who come to the show, but we will have other kinds of evenings with all sorts of events like showcases or open mics. We will offer comedy workshops and classes. In fact, this summer we’re having a special Q&A with Eddie Brill, who is one of the headliners performing at the club.
The day before he performs, he’s doing a special Q&A at the Rogers Memorial Library from 4–6 p.m. on Monday, July 17. It’s open to the public, and we are going to be doing our first workshop.
Why did you choose this roster of comedians for the series?
They’re all really funny, strong, professional comedians — highly respected in the comedy scene. I’ve been an admirer of their work for a long time. Carmen Lynch is a fine comedian who’s appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She’s bilingual, so I’m hoping to bring her back during the year to do a Spanish-speaking show for the Spanish population.
The night Tom Cotter headlines, the featured comedian will be his wife, Kerri Louise, who is hilarious. They are very funny playing off each other as husband and wife. They were in my film Eat Drink Laugh: The Story of the Comic Strip, a club in New York City where Jerry Seinfeld and Eddie Murphy started.
Tom Cotter and Kerri Louise performed at The Comic Strip. Jordan Rock is selling out comedy clubs around the country. His cadence is very different from his brother Chris. He did a Netflix film with Pete Davidson and executive produced and appeared in my film. Jordan started his career at The Comic Strip, and I guess he felt a sense of loyalty to it and to the story of that club.
I got to know Eddie Pepitone when I worked in Los Angeles. He’s an exciting performer because you never know what’s going to happen — a very unique guy.
What final thoughts would you like to share?
We’re really excited about the opening and all the comedians coming in. I think they’re going to be amazing, but personally, I’m excited about what we’re going to do all through the year. I think people would love to go out for a night of laughter with their family and friends at such a special place as the Southampton Cultural Center.
Sticks and Stones Comedy Club is located at 25 Pond Lane, Southampton. For more information, visit sticksandstonescomedyclub.com.