Four Queens Comics, The Recital Of A Lifetime
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Anyone who was forced at gun-point to take piano lessons knows the answer: Practice.
But up-and-coming comics Alan Chan, Carmine Famiglietti, Craig Geraghty, and Joe Summa,
have found another way.
to let people know that there is more to Queens than just Fran Drescher and Jerry
"We sold out," said Chan. "Theres this notion that real talent can
only be found in Manhattan. So thats where were going."
Actually, the foursomes journey to Carnegie Hall has been no less challenging
than that of the great pianists and conductors before them, even though their June 29
performance will not take place in the main hall, but in the Weill Recital Hall. They have
practiced, they have struggled, and they would be the first to admit that there is only a
fine line between open mikes and open heart surgery.
At the same time, while comedy is their passion, it by no means pays the bills.
When the four are not talking shtick, writing, directing or ad libbing, they perform
for the community as a lawyer, a teacher, a bartender, and the otherwise unemployed.
While much of their material is derived from their outer-borough, outer-body lives,
perhaps their greatest occupational hazard is confusing their parallel personalities.
When Alan Chan isnt taunting spectators, or improvising his way out of an
uncomfortable situation, he practices law in Flushing under his remarkably similar real
name, Richard Chen. He says that the stage name not only helps maintain his double life,
but it protects him from both disgruntled clients and audience members.
Chan, a Flushing native, has been a part of a number of improv and sketch groups over
the years. A seasoned stand-up, much of his humor is at the expense of ethnicity,
duplicity, and life in the city.
His signature bit is an account of the Last Supper if it were to have taken place at a
"I got into comedy because people think that Asians arent funny," said
Chan. "And theyre right."
Craig Geraghty teaches History at Martin Luther High School. While he says that
teaching provides a great deal of his material, "I try to avoid making fun of the
Queens comics (l-r) Carmine Famiglietti, Joe Summa, Alan Chan, Craig Geraghty,
on the road to Carnegie Hall.
Photos By Liz Goff
But since a great deal of his material comes from current events, and his having grown
up in a large family, he cant help but to point out the mish-mash understanding of
history that children are walking around with.
"One time I was told by a student that we won the Vietnam War after bombing Pearl
Harbor," said Geraghty.
Joe Summa is a bartender.
"Hes simple, short, and quick," said Famiglietti. "Of course,
Im not really from Queens," said Summa, who sleeps in Staten Island.
"Of the four of us, I have the best situation," said Famiglietti. "I
still live at home, I currently dont work, and people help me out along the
Famiglietti is less a stand-up guy than a sit-down and type guy. He acts, writes and
directs. His reel includes several short films and documentaries, and he prefers to work
with his own material.
Famiglietti says he first became interested in the business when he saw Star Wars at
the RKO Keiths. To this day, he enjoys espousing the wonders to be found in and
Outer Borough Blues
No matter what stage this eclectic foursome performs on, their Queens roots will always
be showing. Like the rest of the borough, they are ethnically diverse, come to comedy from
different walks of life, and suffer from the standardyet well
documentedouter-borough inferiority complex.
"We are the real New Yorkers," said Famiglietti, who says that he has never
been to any of the tourist attractions, and went only once, reluctantly, to a Broadway
Having orchestrated their gala premiere/one night stand at Carnegie Hall, the foursome
talk of their larger plans which include fame, fortune, and most importantly, television
"We want to let people know that there is more to Queens than just Fran Drescher
and Jerry Seinfeld," said Geraghty.
For one night, and one night only, these four Queens guys will take center stage.
"We want to bring comedy to alternative venues, where no one is forcing you to buy a
drink," said Chan.
And while it is still unclear on whether alcohol is an asset or liability to stand-up
comedy, the June 29 "Comedy Recital," will be as eclectic and as electric as the
As is appropriate, given the setting, the show will be extremely musical. Chan on
piano, Famiglietti on keyboards, not to mention the stirring voices of these fab Queens
The recital will also include a sketch by Famiglietti and Summa, called "Express
way," which weaves in and out of the lovers lanes, taking note of the finer
points of relationships.
"This is a great challenge," said Famiglietti. "But it also means that
we get the chance to call family and friends, and tell them that for one night, the joint
For tickets, which are $20, call the Carnegie Hall box office at 212-247-7800.