Pellegrino founded NoMa Comedy as a fundraiser for Yorktown Masonic Lodge in March 2013—and it’s only grown from there. Today, it’s run by Pellegrino and two fellow Iona Prep grads, Adam Eliassof and Rich DeLayo. “The overall goal for NoMa Comedy is to provide high-quality comedy shows outside of New York City and to help a blossoming comedy community in Westchester grow and thrive,” Pellegrino says. The group hosts comedy shows at places like Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville or Memphis Mae’s BBQ in Croton-on-Hudson and also has podcasts and videos featuring local comedians on its website. “We find comics by scouting local and New York City shows, but we’re often contacted through social media,” he says. “And we love to see comedians come to our open mic, too.” If you’re feeling brave, the open mic takes place every Sunday night at Lucy’s Lounge.
3131 E Main St, Mohegan Lake
(914) 528-0800; www.piazza-roma.com
Once a month, Piazza Roma’s Italian cuisine is upstaged by its comedy talent. The “Roma Room” transforms into a comedy club, and, instead of a cheesy two-drink minimum, the audience gets to partake in an Italian buffet dinner. Comedy nights are hosted by Fran Capo, a comedian and multiple world-record-holder. Ask her about her accomplishments—but listen carefully, as one of her titles is that of the world’s fastest talking female, at least according to the Guinness Book of World Records. (How fast? Try 603.32 words in 54.2 seconds.) Capo has been building a following for the comedy nights at the restaurant since 2009 and has seen the audience grow since then. “Almost all shows are sold out,” she says proudly. The shows take place one Friday a month, and reservations are required—early.
In addition to comedy nights at Piazza Roma, comedian Fran Capo is a multiple world-record holder.
Croton Academy of Arts
8 Old Post Rd S, Croton-on-Hudson
(914) 862-0988; www.crotonacademy.com
Stand-up comedy is great, but the true test of a comedian’s chops is on-the-fly improvisation. The best way to get an up-close-and-personal experience with improv is to try it yourself; the Croton Academy of Arts offers classes in adult improv comedy. (In one session, you might not come out as the next Amy Poehler, but you might get over your fear of public speaking.) Or, if you’re prone to stage fright, you can check the Academy’s website to see when the class’ graduates are holding their end-of-session performances, and just sit in the audience and watch.
Empire City Casino
810 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers
(914) 968-4200; www.empirecitycasino.com
The casino floor isn’t the only place to hit the jackpot at Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. The casino’s Good Time Room is another place to test your luck, since it showcases a rotating roster of comics two Wednesdays a month. Those who have stopped by were treated to stand-up sets by veteran comic Johnny Lambert and Last Comic Standing semifinalist Erin Jackson. The response has been so good that last year Empire City was awarded the “Best Comedy Shows” honor by Casino Players Magazine.
Palisades Center, West Nyack, NY
(845) 353-5400; www.levitylive.com
The Palisades Center is so vast, it’s easy to miss the comedy club hidden within. But, if you take the time to seek it out, you’ll be treated to a constant lineup of nationally known comedians. Carlos Mencia was a recent performer there, and the lineup for March includes frequent Chelsea Lately panelist Jo Koy, Howard Stern “Kill or Be Killed” comedy competition winner Colin Kane, Best Week Ever contributor Yannis Papas, and the Yonkers-born Mitch Fatel. You have to cross a bridge to get there, and, when you do, you might be subjected to drink minimums, but at least you won’t have to fight for street parking or deal with Metro-North.