Harrison Greenbaum is not your standard stand-up. The New York native, who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, adds a bit of magic to his comedy routines, which began at the Underground Lounge on West End Ave. in 2006, soon included appearances at the New York Underground Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival, and recently earned him the 2010 Andy Kaufman Award. Last year on December 31, Greenbaum cohosted the official international Times Square New Year’s Eve ball-drop webcast. This New Year’s Eve he’ll be back in Times Square, part of what Carolines on Broadway is calling “the Funniest Party in the Universe.” The night of comedy features Greenbaum along with Vince August, Nate Bargatze, Kurt Metzger, and Mike Vecchione, with performances at 7:30 and 10:00. (The late show will be followed by a live DJ and dancing.) Greenbaum will also be at Carolines nightly through December 26 as part of the Chosen Ones, a group of Jewish comedians that includes Myq Kaplan, Adam Newman, Josh Spear, and Justin Silver, as well as on New Year’s Day for the Carolines Presents show. Earlier this week Greenbaum magically found some time in his nonstop schedule to answer a few questions exclusively for twi-ny.
twi-ny: Do you adapt your regular show for New Year’s Eve? People pay more than usual to be entertained that night, so do they expect more than usual, or are they like any other crowd?
Harrison Greenbaum: As a comic, I always try to incorporate the audience and the surroundings, so I definitely think all of the excitement and craziness of New Year's Eve will become a part of the show. I do think the audiences on New Year's Eve might expect a little more than your standard audience — it’s a special occasion, so it should be a special show. I definitely want to ensure that everyone in the audience starts off 2011 with a huge bang and a lot of laughter.
twi-ny: The bill also includes Vince August, Nate Bargatze, Kurt Metzger, and Mike Vecchione. Care to share any insight about any of your fellow performers? You’re the only one who has won the Andy Kaufman Award, which is pretty cool.
HG: It’s honestly a huge honor to be on the show with such great comedians. These guys are some of the best performers in the country, and it’s a privilege to call all of these guys my friends. Working with guys of this caliber definitely forces you to up your game, so I’m looking forward to a really amazing show. (And thanks for mentioning the Andy Kaufman Award. It was such a huge honor and I’m so proud to be a part of Andy’s incredible legacy. I definitely hope to bring some of the creative and off-the-wall energy Andy had to the stage at Carolines this New Year’s.)
twi-ny: You’re a native New Yorker performing on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Don’t you know that real New Yorkers avoid Times Square like the plague on New Year’s Eve?
HG: I used to joke with my friends that the only way you’d catch me in Times Square for New Year’s Eve was as the host of a live broadcast of the ball drop. Well, last year, that’s exactly what happened: I ended up cohosting the Times Square New Year’s Eve Worldwide Webcast, a six-and-a-half-hour live broadcast of the ball drop viewed by over 250 million people around the world. I have to say that now, having been to the ball drop in person, I finally understand why so many people come to Times Square. It’s definitely cold and it’s definitely crammed full of people (over a million people come out to Times Square each year), but nowhere else can you feel such an amazing positive energy coming from so many people at the same time. So, yes, I’m a native New Yorker, and, yes, I definitely used to avoid Times Square as much as possible on December 31, but now that I’ve actually experienced it, I have totally changed my tune. So, in all honesty, I’m really looking forward to being in Times Square this New Year’s. (Plus, Carolines is one of my favorite places in the world to be on any day, so why wouldn’t I want to be there to ring in 2011?)