Call it comedy al fresco. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Piccola Bussola Italian restaurant in Mineola will host an outdoor comedy show on July 10 (rain date July 11) featuring Long Island comics Chris Monty, Mike Keegan and "Tugboat Manny" Erias.
“People have been saying to me, ‘We need to laugh.’ They are starving for some stand-up,” says Monty, 47, of Floral Park. “There’s only so much Netflix and Hulu you can watch. They want to go to a live show.”
The location has a history of hilarity because the building was the former location of Chuckles comedy club.
“Many Long Island comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie O’Donnell, Jackie ‘The Joke Man’ Martling and Billy Crystal got their start here back in the ’70s and ’80s,” says owner Tony Lubrano, who has hosted comedy shows at the restaurant for many years. “Booking agent Darcy Novick was here for dinner and said, ‘What do you think about doing an outdoor comedy night?’ I said, ‘I’ll try anything.’ ”
Piccola Bussola converted its parking lot and driveway into an outside dining area, which can hold 60 people, with a full sound system.
“The entire space has been blacktopped and repainted. We added plants, strung up lights and tables with checkered tablecloths to give it that Old World feel,” said Lubrano. “Each table is [spaced] more than six feet apart, all our staff will wear masks and there’s hand sanitizer on each table. Guests must wear masks when they are not seated. We are going to do the best we can to make it work.”
The $54.95 ticket (plus tax and gratuity) includes a four-course meal consisting of salad, pasta, choice of entree (flexible due to dietary restrictions) and dessert with coffee. Alcohol is available but not included in the ticket price.
The performance will be family-friendly. However, expect to hear some COVID-19 comedy.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” says Monty. “How can you not mention it?”
But, does stand-up mix with fresh air?
“I’ve done outdoor gigs before. Some have been great and others have been rough. However, I think this is going to work,” says Keegan, 36, of East Meadow. “Until people are comfortable being inside and close together, I think this is what will be happening at least through the summer.”