By Tammy Scileppi
At least he didn’t lose his virginity at 40!
Queens native Brian Schiller is a veteran of stand-up comedy who has lived in New York and Los Angeles for the duration of his career. And he has no qualms about telling everyone he meets — well, almost everyone — about something that most people would consider private and personal: “How I Lost My Virginity at 29 & Other Embarrassing Tales.”
It’s what he calls his tell-all, one-man stand-up comedy show, which is making its New York City debut next week at Q.E.D. in Astoria — located at 27-16 23rd Ave.
So, if you’re feeling in the mood for a multi-layered, no holds barred, laugh-filled evening, grab your tickets now for the July 18 special edition of “My First Time: A Stand-Up & Storytelling Show,” presented by comedian and host, Angela Cobb (Sirius XM Radio/BET), a former Astoria resident. The show starts at 9 p.m. and there is a $10 cover charge.
Be warned: You’re probably going to blush when Schiller shares juicy details about his private journey of self-discovery as it relates to his social and sexual development. Get ready for a show that is unapologetically chock-full of TMI, as the comic takes you through this coming-of-age story, sharing a slew of awkward experiences and unexpected revelations.
The comic grew up in Rosedale. He calls his comedy style “autobiographical,” and believes his personal story is humorous because “even if people haven’t had the same exact experience(s), they can relate to the universal qualities of the experience.”
While he has many fond memories from his younger days spent in Queens, it’s apparent from his jokes that life hasn’t always treated him kindly.
“Back then, Little League was a big part of my life. I loved playing sports out on the streets year-round and the block parties were always fun,” Schiller said. “But it wasn’t great all the time, however, and this show is actually about a serious incident that happened there when I was a kid and how it impacted my life.”
Since 2013, the roaming comic has performed his show over 130 times to audiences all over the United States and Canada.
“This show at QED is a kind of homecoming for me as I’ve lived around the country for many years,” said Schiller, who has an entire week of shows coming up at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City from Aug. 7 through Aug. 11.
“I love that I can mix edgy comedy with a serious subject and sometimes, even help people,” he said. “Most audience members are there to laugh and hear a pretty wild story, but I’ve also had adults and college students alike, who have dealt with abuse issues, come up to me afterwards and tell me that the show resonated with them, and in some cases even inspired them to be proactive in terms of seeking help. Ultimately, it’s a life affirming show.”
Talking about his favorite funny people, the comic mentioned several but said John Turturro, a former Rosedale resident, was his favorite comedic actor.
Five years ago, following the deaths of his parents and brother, Schiller entered grief therapy and began writing “How I Lost My Virginity at 29 and Other Embarrassing Tales.” The stand-up memoir is dedicated to their memories and it also served as an emotional outlet for dealing with his loss, while the humor helped him heal.
One joke goes like this: “My brother’s death was incredibly sad. But at least the Shiva at his funeral had some funny moments. A Jewish Shiva is similar to a Christian wake, but it typically lasts for seven days, during which family members gather in the home of the deceased. But since we’re a Reform family, we just did it by Skype.”
For more laughs, bring your friends and spend an evening at Q.E.D. each month with Cobb, who hosts her innovative comedy experience, “My First Time: A Stand-Up & Storytelling Show.”
The comic has performed at The Standing Room and The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, and like Schiller, is very autobiographical in her stand-up routines as she shares her own unique take on life with stories that capture the audience’s attention.
Along with several other talented comedians, both she and Schiller are helping to transform Q.E.D. into one of Queens’ coolest laughspots, and Astoria into a comedy destination.
“My comedy is inspired primarily by my real-life experiences. I feel that is the style where I can be most honest, genuine, and articulate,” Cobb said. “My comedy is funny, I think, because I do share so much of my personal experiences on stage, and people find that very relatable, even if a lot of what I am joking about may be unique to me. I think audiences like the sense of connection they feel with me while I’m on stage, too.
Here’s a dark but funny joke: “I struggle with depression. I was talking to my mom about this recently and I was like: ‘Ma, have you ever been suicidal?’ And without missing a beat she just goes: ‘No, Angela, but I’ve been homicidal many times.’ And I was like: ‘Wow, my mom’s such a giver.’”
This funny gal’s comedy influences weren’t stand-ups. She said her biggest heroes and favorite comics are Mel Brooks, The Three Stooges, and Marty Feldman, who have informed a lot of what she does. Surprisingly, she even saw The Beatles as a comedy influence.
“I just love having the opportunity to get on stage and make people laugh. I also like the amount of confidence and empathy comedy has given me, as well as the amazing people I have met from doing it,” she said.