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Opinion

A new generation needs its laughs, too

I appreciate the opportunity to write about the state of

the Long Island comedy scene. I just wish there were more of a scene to write

about.

There definitely was a scene at one point, reaching its heyday with a boom

in comedy clubs in the mid- to late-1980s. Unfortunately, with the popularity

of VHS tapes, then DVDs, the Web, cable and on-demand programming, the market

for "live" stand-up comedy has diminished considerably.

At this point, you're probably wondering: What exactly is a comedy scene,

and why does Long Island need one?

Here's what a thriving comedy scene could look like:

More than just three full-time venues in Nassau and Suffolk.

More Long Islanders enjoying established stars and especially

up-and-comers. Imagine the thrill of discovering an emerging Jerry Seinfeld,

Eddie Murphy, Rosie O'Donnell, Jackie Martling, Kevin James, Carol Leifer or

Ray Romano - all of whom grew up on Long Island or in Queens - as audiences

here could do 20 or 30 years ago.

More lesser-known but very talented people actually making a living at what

they do best - making others laugh.

Why do we need it? To quote all of our parents growing up: "Because I said

so!" If that's not persuasive enough, here are a few other reasons:

Long Islanders deserve more stand-up comedy within a reasonable distance of

home. We shouldn't have to drive to the city, which has more than 20 comedy

clubs, as often as we do to see shows.

Long Island comics have been leaving the Island to pursue work elsewhere.

We really need to keep them here. Long Island needs to hold on to its bragging

rights as the nation's top breeding ground for comic talent.

How many clubs can the market bear? Nobody knows. Maybe the answer isn't

more comedy clubs, but having existing theater venues offer more opportunities

to less established comics.

There's a new generation of Long Islanders that needs to be exposed to live

comedy. Once they are, they'll be hooked and they'll support it.

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