Blurring the lines between theater and standup, these virtuosic performances brought comedians to the Main Stem. Here are some of our favorite comedic offerings in recent Broadway memory.
Alex Edelman’s Just For Us
After multiple sold out Off-Broadway runs, Alex Edelman’s one-man-show, Just For Us, opened at the Hudson Theatre on June 26, 2023. Edelman recounts the true story of the time he, a Jewish man, attended a neo-Nazi meetup in Queens, NY because it called for people who are “curious about their whiteness.” This experience leads to a thoughtful and hilarious rumination on his Boston upbringing, his career in comedy, and the idea of being a “good person.” The show is scheduled to run through August 19, 2023.
Mike Birbiglia: The New One and The Old Man & The Pool
Often credited as the pioneer of the part-standup, part-monologue form, Mike Birbiglia has brought two of his specials to Broadway stages. The New One, about his experiences as a new father, played the Cort Theatre (since renamed the James Earl Jones) in 2018 and was eventually released as a Netflix special following the run. Years later, his pondrance on aging and mortality entitled The Old Man & The Pool, ran at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. That show is set to play the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe followed by the West End’s Wyndham Theatre in the fall.
Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Comedy icon Martin Short, who stars in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, starred in his own Broadway musical in the 2006-2007 Broadway season. With music and lyrics by composing duo Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (Some Like it Hot, Hairspray!), the semi-autobiographical work, in which Short played an exaggerated celebrity-obsessed version of himself, also featured Brooks Ashmanskas in the cast, earning him his first Tony nomination.
Oh, Hello on Broadway
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney brought their elderly alter-egos, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, to the Main Stem with the Broadway iteration of their two-hander, The Oh, Hello Show. Mulaney and Kroll had originated the characters on TV’s The Kroll Show. The two friends ramble about their pasts and ambitions, and the show eventually culminates in the serving of a dubious sandwich with “too much tuna” to a special guest (which included the likes of Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Ben Platt, Katy Perry, John Oliver and Alan Alda.) This too was eventually released for your streaming enjoyment on Netflix.
Dame Edna’s The Royal Tour, Back With a Vengeance & All About Me
After making his Broadway debut as Mr. Sowerberry (and the understudy for Fagin) in the original 1963 production of Oliver! Barry Humphries brought his iconic character Dame Edna to the Main Stem in three separate shows. In 1999, The Royal Tour opened at the Booth Theatre, followed by Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance at the Music Box Theatre in 2004. Edna’s third Broadway outing came in spring 2010, when All About Me opened at Henry Miller’s Theatre. The latter musical, a double bill, saw Edna go toe-to-toe with singer Michael Feinstein, and every night was a competition over who got to be the star. It was Barry Humphries’ final appearance on Broadway as Edna before the storied performer passed away in February 2023.
Will Ferrell in You’re Welcome America
Just months after George W. Bush left the White House, Will Ferrell brought his impersonation of the early aughts president to the Broadway stage in You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush. The character, which originally debuted on Saturday Night Live in 2000, took the opportunity to address the country one last time, regaling the audience with stories of his early life and political career. The play ran at the Cort Theatre in early 2009, and was broadcast on HBO the night before the play closed on March 15.