New Jersey Stories and Tips

Comedy at the Stress Factory

Section (3) signs Photo, Vancouver, British Columbia

The first time I visited this comedy club was on my first date with my boyfriend. After waiting on a line outside in the cold, we collected our reserved tickets, then waited on another line to actually enter the club.

As we walked in, we were greeted by Vinnie Brand, the owner, who sent us to our seats. While we were waiting for our drinks and the show to start, we were amused by the video screens scattered throughout the space. We were watching edited-together pieces of home videos of people getting into embarrassing (and sometimes painful) but always funny situations. I also noticed a couple of little pieces of paper on the table with a place to write down a person’s name, phone number, and a situation. I was very curious as to what this could be for, but I was to find out shortly . . .

Vinnie then took the stage to start the show off and do his shtick for a while. We were then introduced to the Stress Factory staple, "The Phone". Those pieces of paper on the tables had been filled out by people and given to the wait staff. Vinnie collected all of these on stage. He then went through them one by one and drew attention to the individuals who filled them out. He read each situation on the paper aloud and the audience was asked to choose which situation we preferred. Once this was decided, Vinnie picked up the receiver of an on-stage payphone attached to the speaker system. He dialed the number on the paper and proceeded to tell one patron’s mother that he was a police officer who had just arrested her son for possession of a stolen vehicle. Apparently this poor woman’s daughter was in the audience and informed us that her brother had recently purchased a car on e-Bay and they were not sure of its authenticity. Well, you can imagine the reaction that this phone call generated. I’m quite sure that the daughter was not exactly welcomed home with open arms that evening.

With this prank finished, Vinnie introduced the first comic of the night, whose name I cannot recall; he was funny, but not terribly original. Finally it was time for the headlining comic of the night, Patrice O’Neal, to take the stage. I had never seen or heard of him before so when this 6’5 very large man took to the stage with a very stern expression on his face, I thought, "Oh no, what have I gotten myself in for?" But appearances proved to be very deceiving and he had everyone laughing at some very un-PC jokes (some despite ourselves).

I would recommend this comedy club to anyone who likes to just kick back and have a good laugh (at their own and others' expense). The only complaint I have is that the drink service was slow. After taking our drink order and promising to be right back with them, we waited for close to half an hour to actually receive them. But there is certainly enough to draw me back here and, in fact, my boyfriend and I are already planning our next visit.

The Stress Factory , 90 Church Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

There are two shows on Saturdays–-8 & 10:30. It's $16 for the early show without buffet, $12 without. The late show costs $10.

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