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Inside With: Rachele "Rocky" Benloulou-Dubin, Booker, ProducerBy: Ben Kharakh

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn it's first two weeks, NYC comedy megaclub Comix has hosted Cedric the Entertainer, Bill Engvall, Flight of the Conchords, and Todd Barry--a line up so eclectic it gives Sergeant Pepper's a run for it's money. Who books all these acts? Rachele "Rocky" Benloulou-Dubin, Director of Programming.

What did you do before you got involved in Comix?
I have my own company, Rockster Productions. I do non-for-profit organizations and the booking and producing of the Bonnaroo Music and Comedy Tent. That's fifteen shows in four days. Prior to that I worked at Empire Entertainment, which is a corporate events planning company that does high-end corporate events. Where I started with comedy wasa Comic Relief, I was a production assistant. I worked at Caroline's booking that, which was eight years ago. I went from Caroline's, to Empire, to my own business, freelance stuff, and here I am.

And you produced some films as well?
My husband is a writer and director and we put together three short comedy films. Jim Norton and Lewis Black are in all of them. Sidesplitters was the first one. The main characters in that film have been optioned to Larry Charles for an HBO pilot, which is being worked on right now.

That's about a dirty Abbot and Costello type, back in the day of Vaudeville. They never quite made it because they were too dirty. American Dummy was co-executive produced by Jim Breuer and stars him and Otto and George. The last one was called The Gynecologist. They ran the festival circuit, won some awards, and the Montreal Comedy Festival showed them as well. My husband and I are currently working on a John Lennon documentary- not funny. We just did a five-camera HD shoot for Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze for his band The Fluffers.

Were you present when they choose the name Comix?
That was chosen a couple years before.

The name makes me think of the comedy boom when there were clubs with names like Uncle Funny's Chuckle Haha.
The way I look at the name, and it seemed organic to me, is that the type of programming that we have is that it's comedy and it's mixed up. It's a mix of programming. We have traditional comedy, alternative stand up, music, variety, and it's really mixed up.

What are some events coming up at Comix?
We're very excited to have a monthly series with The Whitest Kids You Know , that starts in November, as well as Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler, and Dave Hill and the Dave Hill Explosion, Reggie Watts, and New York's Naughtiest with Nina Hartley in October, which is an adult show. I guess they're all adult shows, but this one's more edgy. Danny Bonaduce will be hosting some showcases in October and we have Jon Lovitz coming in November.
Why is it that Comix won't be having an open mic night?
That was the mandate when I came in here, that there would be no open mic or bringer shows. We're definitely looking to develop some talent, but it's a stage for more established comedians. I'm out and scouting all the different clubs, the Lower East Side, and UCB Theater. I look at it like a pilot needing a certain amount of flying hours under their belt to be certified. When they're ready to hit the main stage, we're happy to bring them in.

With all the talent you've got from UCB, The PIT, and Pianos, are you hoping that the alternative crowd will follow the shows to Comix or that they'll find a new audience?
It's a combination of both. We're going to provide the alternative acts with the mainstream audience that come to check out shows here. A lot of people don't know to go to the Lower East Side and they might be looking for more of a dinner and a show experience. With our no drink minimum policy, we're definitely a friendly venue to come to. We're giving alternative acts the opportunity to perform at a mainstream stage and broadening the horizons of the audience that wouldn't know where to find these acts.

What do you think of the term alternative comedy?
What I see as alternative comedy is almost anything that's not straight stand up. Comedy that has a different rhythm, whether it be sketch, Improv, spoken word, or music. It falls into the alternative category for me. Where as with stand up, people usually think of one microphone and one person. Alternative really lets you go to a different direction and it's more about the whole piece rather than having joke after joke.

Will it be possible for people to e-mail Comix with suggestions for performers they'd like to see?
Yeah. You can sign up for our VIP list and tells us who you like and the sort of comic that you like, so we'll read that. It also gives you access to pre-sales.

Ben Kharakh is the creator of the online humor magazine One Trick Pony, which features interviews with comedians such as Todd Barry, Paul F. Tompkins, and Neil Hamburger.

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    Inside With: Rachele "Rocky" Benloulou-Dubin, Booker, ProducerBy: Ben Kharakh - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website

Reader Comments (2)

Nice interview. Can't wait to be in New York this January to come check out the venue.
October 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Hot Booker!!! Godd enought reason for me to check this place out lol
October 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMicahel Goifman

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