The Examiner

Something to Laugh About: Duo Organizes Local Comedy Shows

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Mount Pleasant residents Adam Eliassof, left, and Frank Pellegrino are booking comedy shows in Westchester. The next gig is this Saturday night at Lucy's Lounge in Pleasantville.
Mount Pleasant residents Adam Eliassof, left, and Frank Pellegrino are booking comedy shows in Westchester. The next gig is this Saturday night at Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville.

If you love live comedy and live in Westchester, there usually isn’t much of a choice but to trek into Manhattan for an expensive evening.

Adam Eliassof and Frank Pellegrino are looking to change that.

The two Mount Pleasant residents have started a venture called NoMa Comedy in hopes of bringing New York City-style comedy shows to Westchester without subjecting fans to the inflated Manhattan cover prices, two-drink minimums and sky-high parking rates or Metro-North fares. Even the acronym in the name references location: NoMa stands for North of Manhattan.

The next show is scheduled for Saturday night at Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville, featuring veteran comedian Sean Donnelly, who has been seen on “Late Night With David Letterman” and in clubs throughout the metropolitan area. The program kicks off with Pleasantville musician Michael Pennacchio at 7:30 p.m. followed by the lineup of comedians at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 and seating is open.

“It’s really the love of comedy and seeing what we would like to see when we go to a show,” said Eliassof, 29, a Hawthorne resident and a realtor. “We want to give that quality of experience so that people want to see our shows.”

Eliassof and Pellegrino are searching for venues throughout the county where they can book a lineup of local talent and a headliner to give Westchester residents that big city comedy club feel. They have been looking at potential sites from Yonkers to Yorktown to host shows.

However, Pellegrino, 28, of Thornwood, a Con Edison employee, said they are being a little picky when it comes to locations. They want places where patrons will feel comfortable, where the wait staff and bartenders will understand avoiding service or noisily blending drinks during a comedian’s routine and to have good acoustics. There’s nothing worse for an audience than missing the punch line during a comedy show.

“We’ve observed many different comedy clubs around the city and Westchester and all over the place and we notice what works and what doesn’t work,” Pellegrino said. “We know what’s distracting to comedians, what’s distracting to an audience and we know what everybody likes and doesn’t like.”

The idea of starting a Westchester comedy show series took shape for the pair last year. Pellegrino, who has experience organizing fundraisers, and Eliassof put together a one-time event last March in Mount Kisco as a benefit for the Masonic Lodge chapter where Pellegrino is a member. They plan to reprise that effort on Saturday, March 22 at the Mount Kisco Lodge on Carpenter Avenue with a double headliner of Mike Gaffney and Frankie Pace.

Last year’s show worked so well that throughout the summer and into the fall they kicked around the idea of scheduling them on a more regular basis.

“It was so well-received, people enjoyed it, people wouldn’t stop talking about it, how there’s nothing like that in the area,” said Eliassof.

On Dec. 5, they hosted their first show under the NoMa Comedy banner, featuring Johnny Watson, a Saturday Night Live writer. Their host for the evening was comedian Tommy Gooch. Despite it being a somewhat slow Thursday night, Lucy’s management enjoyed hosting and asked them back for a Saturday night, Eliassof said.

Each show will also have a philanthropic component with some of the proceeds going to a charity or nonprofit.

Both being big fans of comedy clubs and having plenty of comedian friends, gives Pellegrino and Eliassof a good head start to book talent. They also know what a typical audience enjoys.

Gooch, who will host the March show in Mount Kisco, said with the glut of comedians more venues are always welcome.

“I think their effort has been outstanding,” Gooch said. “Frank loves comedy, he understands everyone’s needs. What they’re doing is great.”

Eliassof and Pellegrino are hopeful that they can steadily become known booking shows throughout Westchester. They’re working on a show for February in the area. They also hope to eventually schedule them more often.

“We want it to become a gathering place for communities in Westchester,” Pellegrino said. “‘Where’s NoMa this weekend? Where are they next weekend?'”

For more information about Saturday’s show and upcoming events, visit




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