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If You’re Coming From The Moth Podcast, Welcome!

August 6th, 2015 by Jeff Simmermon

Wow. It has been a long time since I posted here. This blog is basically an abandoned lighthouse on the Internet now: it’s the first thing you’d see from the ocean, but a bunch of kids smashed all the light bulbs a long time ago.

You’re probably here because you heard my story on The Moth’s podcast this week, and I couldn’t be more glad that you showed up! If you want to see more performances, contact me, or sign up for my mailing list, you can do that at the preceding links, or at my personal website, here:

You can also reach me on Twitter: @jeffsimmermon

This is a video of my performance from that same Moth Grand SLAM that you heard on the podcast, if you’re inclined:

I teach storytelling and do tons of standup in NYC and the surrounding areas. I’m always looking for more work, more shows, and would probably love to come to your town and perform. I’d also love it if you were to share this video of my story on your Twitter, Tumblr, or incredibly well-trafficked blog.

Get in touch!

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‘And I Am Not Lying’ at UCB East Thursday, Sept. 12, 11PM

September 9th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

You don’t pay thousands of dollars a month in rent and breathe poisoned air all day in New York just so you can stay home and watch TV at 11PM on a Thursday like some kind of a chump in Indianapolis or something. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is something that other people do, people who live in boring cities.

This Thursday at UCB East at 11pm, it’s time for another installment of ‘And I Am Not Lying,’ featuring brand new monthly cast member Corvette LeFace!

You can get tickets right here, details below this flyer:

The show features storytelling by:

Jeff Simmermon (The Moth, This American Life)
David Crabb (The Moth, Bad Kid)

Standup comedy by:

Brooke Van Poppelen (MTV’s Girl Code, John Oliver’s Stand-Up New York)
Brian Jian

Burlesque by

Matt Knife

and featuring Corvette LeFace with a burlesque tribute to ‘The Big Lebowski.”

I’m really excited to have Corvette as a regular cast member with ‘And I Am Not Lying.’ I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, and I’m really excited to see what she’ll bring month after month. She burns up the burlesque scene here in town, and every show she’s in is better for it. And she rocks a fake beard like NOBODY else.

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New Folk Art Genre: Dick Drawing on the NYC Subway

August 1st, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

The graffiti sub-genre that is dick drawing on NYC subway ads is really a folk art unto its own. It’s a very specific, but broadly interpreted genre, not unlike screen-door painting in Baltimore or low-rider culture in the American Southwest. I captured this gem at the Lafayette stop on the C train in Brooklyn:

NYC's unique folk art

I was really struck by the intensity of this one, particularly the profound use of negative space/cutout technique married with the brutal facial expression and aggressive take-no-prisoners type: “In your living room, in your face,” INDEED.

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I’m Doing a **BUNCH** of Shows February 5th – 10th

February 1st, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I just checked my calendar and realized that I’m doing a blur of shows next week, lined up like a long row of shots. The process is likely to be equal amounts of fun and exhausting, enough to leave me whimpering on the floor – just like a long row of shots. But if you’ve been reading this thing wondering when you can see me perform, consider yourself told.

There’s some really exciting stuff in here – an appearance with Michael Showalter, the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying, and I’m the only white dude in a tribute to Richard Pryor at BAM. Check out these listings, and if you come to any of these, come up and say ‘hi’ afterwards!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM (doors at 7:30) – I’ll be appearing on Kerri Doherty’s “Geeking Out,” with headliner Michael Showalter
at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I’ll be joined by my friend Juliet Hope Wayne and Carolyn Castiglia
Get tickets here

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:30 PM (doors at 9) – will be the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying with Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, burlesque by Magdalena Fox, comedy from Sasheer Zamata and sideshow by Abigoliah Schamaun.

The show will be at UNDER Saint Marks’ Theater, 94 Saint Marks’ Place (between 1st and A). Click here for tickets (then click the blue 6 in ‘February), and check out the fun poster below:


Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in Caroline Creaghead‘s ‘Get It Out There’, a monthly comedy series at BAM, sponsored by IFC. This month’s show is a tribute to Richard Pryor.

Let me just bear down on this a little here: I am the only white dude in a Richard Pryor tribute show at BAM. This is a colossal honor, and a little intimidating as I’ll be sharing the stage with Jeffrey Joseph, Jermaine Fowler, and Hari Kondabolu – all incredibly gifted, hardworking and funny comics. Jeff and Hari both appeared at ‘And I Am Not Lying’ when we were at Union Hall, too.

The show is free, in the BAMCafe – doors at 8PM.

Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 8:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in “Sharkbite Sideshow,” a bimonthly sideshow featuring some of the finest storytellers, burlesque performers, sideshow artists and pole dancers in New York City. The show will also feature performances from Cherry Brown, Ember Flame, Kryssy Kocktail, Lucille Ti Amore, Moxie Sazerac and fire dancing from Sasha the Fire Gypsy.

Get tickets for Sharkbite Sideshow here.

Sunday, February 10th at 5:00 PM - I’ll be telling two stories in Miz Stefani’s House, Live. This streams live, over the Web – so click this link at 5PM on Sunday if you happen to be ignoring the Super Bowl.

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“Hooray For You,” Wise Words From “Paris is Burning”

December 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Barry Bless sent me this video from the end of “Paris is Burning,” and I just can’t stop watching it. It hits me really deeply as an artist and performer — I hope I have the wisdom to accept what Dorian Corey is saying here one day, but I don’t think I’m there yet:

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Social Media Exhaustion

June 27th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I didn’t sleep enough last night, and I’ve been flicking around the Internet more than I care to admit right now. And my God, the Internet is such a nonstop envy machine. I’m not blaming anyone in particular here, but it sure manages to resonate against my personal insecurities pretty well.


If only there were a way to make a creative living without hunching in front of a computer all day…

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Wonder Woman Ties Up the Cheetah at And I Am Not Lying Live

June 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Well, I’m tickled to all hell right now. We’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying live show to the Black Cat in DC on Thursday, June 14th, and I’m told that we’ve sold out the 8PM show. We’re adding a late show that night, with doors at 10PM. You can see more info on the Black Cat’s site here and get advance tickets here: And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat, 10 PM show.

This is a photo from a show that we did last year at L’Etage in Philadelphia, just to give you folks at home a taste:

Runaround Sue, Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman 3 (by Ryan Collerd)

This is Wonder Woman apprehending the Cheetah while Steve Trevor looks on with a stupefied, dreamlike amazement. I’ve never seen someone be more hesitant about their rescue in all my life. Cyndi Freeman/Cherry Pitz is Wonder Woman, Runaround Sue is the Cheetah, and Brad Lawrence is Steve Trevor. Photo is by the genuine, warm and spectacular Ryan Collerd.

As it turns out, we’ll be coming back to Philadelphia on August 4th, too. So keep watching the skies, people – we hope to see you really soon.

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More Naked Ladies and Comedy! Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tuesday May 15th @ R Bar 8pm

May 13th, 2012 by Cyndi Freeman

I took a year off from producing my monthly Burlesque show and I missed it! Storytelling is certainly one of my favorite things but I also really love performing naked (or in g-string and tassels)

If You were at the last And I Am Not Lying Live, my story was about that and also about the difference between exploitation and fun in sexy art-forms. This month my Hosty Totsy show makes fun of that same struggle.

Hotsy Totsy is an ongoing burlesque soap opera. Each epsisode takes place during the “monthly fundraiser at The Home For Wayward Girls and Fallen Women” and in each show there is some back stage drama that plays out between the burlesque acts. This month gangster Nickles Lugo (Played by Nelson Lugo) attempts to take over the Home and to turn it into a money making venture (AKA a strip-club and brothel.) The girls fight back wanting to keep things playful and sweet the way we like it!

When asked to describe my burlesque show HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE, I tell people it is like the Muppet show if you substituted puppets with naked girls. Read the rest of this entry »

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Storytelling Validated in the Times: A Guide to Shows and Open Mics in New York City

April 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Street View from 768 Delancey

The New York Times gave me a tiny shout-out this evening in a piece about the storytelling scene in New York City. I am referred to as “imposing,” which is confusing, but I’ll take it as a compliment. I strongly encourage that you run right out and read the whole thing. Cyndi Freeman gets a mention in there, too, as well as a bunch of other folks that I am honored to consider peers. The mighty Adam Wade gets some serious ink, too.

Here’s an excerpt that I think is the core of the piece, referring to my friend Ophira Eisenberg:

She explores the taboo, but without the persistent relief provided by consistent punch lines. In doing that, she shows how a story can use humor but not be shackled to it, how it can be emotional without pandering, and how difficult ideas can be articulated entertainingly.
What she demonstrates is that storytelling can give a certain kind of comedy a chance to grow.

Storytelling has grown a lot beyond regular Moth slams. The Moth was the Big Bang that coalesced into the sun for this whole thing, but now a bunch of other planets are cooling and growing their own life forms. The following is a list of storytelling shows that I’d recommend checking out in the city. I’ve been in most of these, and am friends with folks that run all of them.

A lot of these shows don’t have a lot in the way of a Web presence. I hate linking to Facebook pages, but that’s the world we live in — crafting stories and running shows takes a lot of energy, and so does running a website. At this point in my life I’d rather have “writer/performer” etched on my tombstone than “blogger”. Anyway, here they go:

Liar Show
Real Characters
BTK Band
Nights of Our Lives
The Story Collider
Ask Me
How I Learned
The Soundtrack Series
Adam Wade has a BUNCH:

I can also see how Moth story slams would be intimidating to people that are new to this. They’re huge, with lines around the block and they sell out pretty much every time. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll even get picked. And if you do get picked, you’re pretty much screwed out of a decent score unless you get picked fifth through tenth. By the fifth storyteller the booze kicks in, scores start to loosen up and judges figure out what the hell they’re even doing.

Frankly, these things should be a little intimidating to first-time performers. Anyone who just thinks “what the hell, I’ll just jump on stage for the first time in front of 400 people and be awesome like I always am, every day of my life” is missing a critical component to their personality and is likely going to embarrass everyone in the room except themselves. I’ve seen this happen. A lot.

You should get on stage and do it anyway, but a little fear is a good thing. It means you’re taking it seriously.

None of the following open mics were around when I started going to the Moth. If they had been, I’d have definitely tried my stories out at these first. I’m not saying that there’s a right or wrong way to do any of this stuff. Any door you find is one you can walk through.

But if you happen to want to workshop a story yourself or test it out in a lower-stakes environment — hell, sometimes the crowd is barely even paying attention — you could do a lot worse than to check these out. In order to win a fight you’ve got to spend a lot of time doing pushups and hitting the bag to get ready for five intense minutes. It’s the same principle here.

The following places are where I go to practice:

Phoning it In – Lukas Kaiser runs this open mic Monday-Thursday in somebody else’s apartment in Tribeca. It’s a warm room, supportive, and sometimes a woman walks straight through with a baby in a stroller and disappears in the back.

Kambri Crews’ “What’s Your Story” held monthly at Luca Lounge. You pretty much have to find this on Facebook or go to Luca Lounge and check it out first.

I Like You, Maude

Oh, Hey Guys at UCB East

Like anything else, there’s an etiquette. If you’re brand new to any of this, I’d recommend showing up and checking a show out first, then introducing yourself afterwards. Get to know folks, connect online. Pretty soon the whole thing will blossom and you’ll be tired of all the emails, updates, and Facebook events. And eventually, your brain will hurt from all of it and you’ll have nightmares abut your own show.

Congratulations: you’ve arrived.

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And I Am Not Lying – Live at Union Hall on Tuesday, April 3rd

March 29th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon
And I Am Not Lying Live 4.3.2012

In all of this SXSW and engagement excitement, I almost forgot to mention:

It’s time once again to cock-rock the NPR crowd with New York’s first, only, and best comedy storytelling burlesque sideshow at Union Hall on Tuesday, April 3rd.

Show’s at 8, tickets are $10, available here: And I Am Not Lying LIVE at Union Hall

AS always, here’s a fun trailer for the thing:

We’re a “Critic’s Pick” in Time Out NY this week, which is pretty exciting! I don’t know if that’s an endorsement or just a button somebody clicked, but we’ll take it.

This month’s show features:

Comedy by
Andy Ross (Real Characters, The Onion)

Burlesque by
Dangrr Doll (Gotham Burlesque, D20 Burlesque)

Belly Dance by
Madame X (a complete mystery)

As well as storytelling by

Brad Lawrence
Cyndi Freeman
Jeff Simmermon (me)

Hope you guys can join us!

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