Carolines on a good night, according to comedian Brendan Sagalow, is so loud that, from the stage, “It sounds like a jungle.”
Onstage, it can be a bit of a jungle as well.
Such was the case when Amy Schumer decided to try out an upcoming “Saturday Night Live” monologue there.
She didn’t care that Sagalow was in the middle of his set, or that friends and family were there to see him. Schumer, he told The Post, bum-rushed the stage and all but shoved him off it. Sagalow took it with grace in the moment, he recalled. But later, on his podcast, he made his true feelings clear: “It is a pretty s–tty thing to do at my first headlining set … ”
He’s just one of the many comedians bummed out to see Carolines Comedy Club close its doors. The room, which has been in Times Square for the past 30 years, hosts its final set on New Year’s Eve. Owner Caroline Hirsch told The Post that her 10-year lease at 750 Seventh Avenue was due for a rent “reset” at the end of the year, but “My landlord felt they can get a lot more for the space.”
Over the decades — including at its previous Soho and South Street Seaport locations — the club helped launch the careers of Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Billy Crystal, among others.
Some of the sharpest minds in the comedy game made it a home away from home. And they knew how to dispense with intrusive audience members.
Such was the case when Jeff Garlin performed there in 2006 and a guy thought it would be funny to mock the comic. Then, owner Caroline Hirsch told USA Today, “All of a sudden from the back of the room, you heard an Irishman heckling the heckler. It was Robin [Williams]. Jeff said to the heckler, ‘Hey, you’re no match for this guy.’ Then he introduced Robin and Robin went onstage.”
Sagalow remembered when an audience member in the front row talked throughout another of his headlining sets.
“I told the guy to shut up and made the classic mistake of asking the crowd if they wanted him to shut up,” the comic said. “They booed and told me to get off the stage. It ended with me cursing out the audience. But Caroline was great about it: She didn’t say anything. Did she look me in the eye afterward? No. But who would?”
Dave Chappelle once talked about scoring weed from the club’s doorman — who happened to be a pre-fame Idris Elba.
In 2016, after recovering from his car accident, Tracy Morgan did a stand-up show at Carolines, with his doctor and hospital staff in the audience. The set ended with Morgan in tears and medical workers hugging him. As reported in The Post, he said to the crowd, “These are all the people who saved my life. Give them the standing ovation.”
Two years ago, Pete Davidson confessed onstage that he had just completed a rehab stint in Arizona.
Needing to make it funny, Davidson told that crowd that he signed a pledge to not commit suicide until the Knicks win a championship. “Five more years to go,” he deadpanned.
Davidson was hilarious when he joked about drugs at Caroline’s. Joe Gorga, of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame, was the exact opposite when he performed on drugs at Carolines. Last year, the husband of housewife Melissa Gorga hit the stage at the club with an act that fell flat as a dumbfounded audience just stared back at him. He blamed “Sudafed and a couple of Scotches.” It was so bad that Melissa dragged him off the stage before he could embarrass himself any further.
Alcohol will certainly come in handy on closing night, when performers get a special perk.
“They let us all out through the back of the club and that lands us in Times Square,” Carolines regular Kerry Coddett told The Post. “We get to stand there and watch the ball drop. I grew up in New York. So that is a dream come true for me. But when you’re a comedian performing on New Year’s Eve, you’re too drunk to remember anything.”
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