Hoboken Resident To Perform in New York City Comedy Festival
Adam Wade eschews Viagra jokes, makes a ‘Badass PB and J’ and is performing in a comedy show Friday night at the Elks Lodge.
Need help decompressing after the midterm election madness that swept the city and nation? If so, you have two opportunities be amused by the offbeat yarns of Hoboken resident Adam Wade who is performing Thursday night at the UCB Theatre in Manhattan in the New York Comedy Festival. On Friday evening he will perform in a comedy show at the Elks Lodge on Washington Street.
Putting a label on the 35-year-old Wade, who hails from New Hampshire but has lived in Hoboken since 2003, is no easy task. He has dabbled in TV production, stand-up comedy and various styles of writing. He's funny. He's skilled in various media. He's a terrific writer.
But perhaps he's best summed up with one more all-encompassing word: storyteller. Storytelling has always been an element of Wade's creative expressions, but recently he has fully embraced the craft of storytelling and, well, storytelling has embraced him back.
"At first I was doing musical comedy. My act consisted of me getting on stage with an acoustic guitar, telling a short story and then following that up with a three- to four-minute song," Wade explained to Patch in an interview. "In a way, the songs would be the big punch-lines to the short stories."
But Wade, who speaks with a noticeable New England accent, said he never really saw himself as a traditional set-up, punch-line joke teller. Comedians he'd become acquainted with suggested that he adjust his material with some more lowbrow ingredients to get more laughs onstage. But Wade dismissed that advice because he thought doing so would cheapen the integrity of his vision.
"People tried to mentor me by saying that I should include stuff like Viagra jokes or fart jokes into my stories," Wade said. "It got to a point where there were only like two or three comedy shows in the city that would book me. I didn't want to give up, but I was running out of options."
Five years ago, a friend steered Wade toward a Manhattan storytelling venue called The Moth and its storySLAMs, which Wade likens to poetry slams. At the time, when The Moth was still somewhat in its infancy, the SLAMs were held monthly; they're now held four times a month and take place in cities other than New York: Detroit, L.A. and Chicago. He gave it a try and said he became "addicted," particularly enjoying the freedom of not having to feed the audience a punch-line at regular intervals and not holding a guitar onstage as a "prop" or "shield."
Wade's stories spring from his personal experiences. Many are poignant reflections on not being one of the cool kids while growing up in New Hampshire and hanging out with his two great aunts; some are more recent tales about trying to make it in New York and dating pitfalls.
Wade hasn't merely carved out a niche for himself as a storyteller, he's pretty much emerged as one of the eminent raconteurs in the New York City area. He's a regular performer in storySLAMs at the Moth, where he often wins, he's had numerous personal essays published and teaches a class on the art of storytelling at The Magnet Theater in Manhattan. He was selected to appear in Thursday's Time Out Live by Jane Borden, who's been the comedy editor at Time Out New York for nearly seven years.
"There's something about Adam that any person in the audience can connect with," said Borden of Wade's everyman appeal. "His stories transcend the specifics of his New Hampshire upbringing or his great aunts or his college romance efforts in a way that's relatable to everyone."
Borden added that Wade's ability to be funny without telling "jokes" disarms jaded audiences. "Audiences in New York can be so suspicious of artifice. The second Adam walks onstage, you know he's not affecting anything," said Borden.
The Mile Square has served as an apt backdrop for much of Wade's highjinks over the years, like in this short movie where Wade declares his love for an Italian tuna sandwich made at Fiore's Deli. Also very funny is Wade's series of ironic cooking videos in which he demonstrates from the kitchen of his Hoboken apartment how to make "Badass PB and J" and baked "Haddock" among other culinary delights.
While he mainly performs at Manhattan venues, Wade takes the stage in Hoboken a couple of times a year, occasions he relishes because his local friends, who mostly work in New Jersey, come out to see him.
"When I have (a show) here, it's cool because they show up in full force," said Wade. "My friends in Hoboken have always been supportive of me, not just with my shows, but in my everyday life."
Time Out Live begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, 307 W. 26th Street, New York, NY. Admission is $5. The comedy show at the Elks Lodge, 1007 Washington Street, begins at 9 p.m. on Friday and admission is $20.