Top 15 Comedians
By Holly Bieler
While Manhattan’s always been known as the go-to borough for comedy shows, new venues like Q.E.D. and The Creek and the Cave are challenging the notion that world-class standup requires a trip on the 7. And with the influx of fantastic new stages and a burgeoning comedy community, many of the city’s greatest comedic talents and most promising newcomers now call Queens home. Here, we round up the borough’s TOP 15 COMEDIANS, from industry veterans to new acts generating a ton of buzz.
#15. DAN SODER
For Dan Soder, the move from Tucson, Arizona, where he’d graduated from college and had some success on the open mic circuit for a couple of years, to New York City in 2007 wasn’t a hard choice to make.
“I’d outgrown Tucson,” he said. “It’s just awful. It’s hot and the people are mean and all the animals have venom in them. It’s not a good place. I was like ‘you know, f–k it, I’m going to move.’”
The decision to focus full time on a comedy career was a dream Soder had harbored since childhood.
“Since I was a little kid it was something I was drawn to,” he said. “I just liked it. To me it was almost like watching a magic trick. I thought these guys just went up and were hilarious just by talking. Then when I became a bigger fan of comedy and realized how difficult the jokes and bits were to write, I liked it even more.”
Soder picked up from the desert and moved to New York City, sleeping on a friend’s couch for six months before eventually settling in Astoria.
“It’s the best comedy scene in the world,” he said. “I knew every comedian I really loved and respected was working in New York City, or came through New York or had been in New York. I knew I could get on stage a lot, and I knew I needed that.”
It’s been eight years since his move, and Soder has enjoyed success both in TV and in standup, currently a cast member on MTV’s popular Guy Code with fellow Top 15-er Chris Distefano, performing on Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, and appearing on Conan and radio show Opie and Anthony. He’ll also be shooting an hour-long special for Comedy Central in December, to premiere next year.
As of July, Soder can also add radio host to his resume, having just launched “The Bonfire With Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder,” a live Comedy Central Radio SiriusXM show with close friend and fellow comedian Jay Oakerson.
“It’s awesome,” he said of the show. “It’s just the two of us getting paid to make each other laugh.”
Check out “The Bonfire” on Comedy Central Radio Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m., and check out his hour special on Comedy Central next year.
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