Stand Up Sellers and Seducers

The pests of New York City are notorious. Sewer rats, pigeons (“flying rats”), squirrels (“rats with cuter outfits”), bed bugs, cockroaches,  and the guys who sell comedy tickets in Times Square. Tourists fall for their crafty sales pitches, locals avoid them, I fell for one’s charm and good looks.


[This is the Introduction of the nine part Safa Boy Series]

Like bed bugs in a street curb sofa, they infest the area, preying on all those they come in contact with. A walk on Broadway from 42nd Street to 50th guarantees multiple accostings:  “Do you like stand up comedy?” “Want to be part of a taping of a live show?” “What are you doing tonight?” At best they are obnoxious, at worst aggressive to the point where you buy a ticket just so they leave you alone. That’s probably how they make half of their money. The other half comes from sales made by promises of headliners who never show and exorbitant drink minimums they neglect to mention.

times square stand up comedy
Note: this is NOT the guy I fell for. But he is an example of those who sell tickets out here!

But don’t shoot the messenger, it’s not the ticket seller’s fault, he’s just desperate for money and likely unable to get a job anywhere else. Anyone can get a job selling comedy tickets- it’s under the table and solely commission based. This means a lot of them are total weirdos, lack social skills or social security numbers, and/or have no capacity for any semblance of “professional appearance”.

I know all this because I’ve been working promotions in Times Square. Remember my Disney on Broadway days? Well currently I am promoting an Off Broadway show that is nowhere near as successful as The Lion King yet somehow they pay me as much as Disney did. Thus I am exceedingly familiar with Times Square’s many promoters- the Scientology flier team (also notorious), the slinky Chicago dance team, the sketchy guys who promote strip clubs, the sweet Irish fellow who promotes Pandora jewelry, the comedy promoters who’ve been out there since my Mary Poppins days. You’d think turn over would be high but it’s not. New promoters are obvious and often don’t last long.

The moment I spotted him, I was instantly attracted. If you look up “My Type” in a dictionary his picture would accompany this description:

Male. Above average height, 6’+. Fit, slim build. Ample dark hair, esp. black. Often of Italian ancestry. Positive energy. Bright eyes, tangible “twinkle”. Roommates may describe as “goofy”. Possesses uncanny ability to make questionable statements-“I’m a working traveler”; “I’m couch surfing while I look for a place”; “I’m sorta in between jobs”; “I’m a virgin”- sound romantic. Dimples likely, great smile imperative. Will induce outrageous flirting and impaired judgment.

He’s selling comedy tickets and so, knowing what I just told you, I keep my distance. Best to stay away, not risk temptation, merely admire from afar. Eye candy to get me through a shift sounds better than chocolate anyway. The only chance for failure with this plan is that he approaches me. Given my luck, of course that’s what happens. He flashes a brilliant smile at me before opening his mouth to introduce himself. One word out of his mouth and I’m a goner. Looks that make me swoon accompanied by a British? No. Australian? No. ….uh what then? South African. A South African accent. I’M A GONER.

[To continue The Safa Boy Series, click for Part One]

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

19 thoughts on “Stand Up Sellers and Seducers

  1. Lol! I know exactly what you mean about the SA accent. My boyfriend of nearly a year is from South Africa and I could listen to him talk alllll day long 😉

    1. haha, lucky lady 🙂
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Good luck with your brand spanking new blog- good stuff so far.

  2. You got scammed by one of the few people out there who are dishonest so you chose to insult ALL of the sellers. I run a ticket crew and if they lie they are gone FAST.

    This is one of the hardest jobs there is (sometimes HOURS without a sale) and less than 5% who give it a try succeed. Sellers are “desperate to make money & unable to get a job anywhere else?” If you had done the slightest research for your little smear campaign, you would have realized this is false. The best sellers can make over $2,000 a week in cash, working 20-25 hours.

    I won’t go on. You were naive, did not do your due diligence, and now just fall back on stereotypes.

    Lousy “reporting.”

    1. Dear Paul,
      Thanks for visiting my blog.
      This was never intended to be a “smear campaign” (highly dramatic word choice) nor have I ever claimed to be a reporter- so I don’t know who you are quoting when you say “reporting”, it is certainly not me.

      This is a personal blog. What I write is from my experience. This particular entry is from my observations working along side ticket sellers and also dating one who spoke in detail about his experience.

      In addition, I did more than “the slightest” research. I scoured the internet to see if other people had similar perspectives to this one. I’m sure you must know, seeing as you found my blog, the negative reviews of buying tickets on the street far eclipse positive.

      My blog is called New York CLICHE- yes I fall back on stereotypes, that’s inherent in the title.

      I have heard the “2,000/week” statistic before- I am well aware your seasoned vets do remarkably well in high tourist season. I also know in the doldrums of January they are lucky to scrape by a couple hundred/week. And the “HOURS without a sale” that you noted? That is what makes someone “desperate to make money” as I said. Also, the fact that the job is under the table is, as I said in the post, why it attracts people who are “likely unable to get a job anywhere else” (that is the direct quote. You, sir, misquoted me. That “likely” is important). I suppose I should have been more specific and said “can’t get a job anywhere legally in the USA”.

      If you are going to call me naive, I can say the same about you. You are naive if you think the general business of selling comedy tickets in Times Square is not notorious (I cannot speak for your company- maybe yours is an exception and for that I’d applaud you). You are also naive if you think this little story of mine will affect your business in any way.

      1. This article fails to mention those COMEDIANS, such as myself that rely on ticket sales for stage time. What about us? You’re spitting all this venom with no regard for people’s livelihood. Do you have any idea the amount of comedians that have gotten their start “barking”? Instead of TAKING FOOD OUT OF PEOPLE’S MOUTHS how about helping people be better consumers. If you don’t want to see a show don’t buy a ticket. If you suspect a comedian won’t be there call the club or check the websites.

    2. Paul looking for more info on selling , very interested , please contact me 4017416888….thanks! -garrett

  3. Oh my God. If someone is so easily swayed that they wouldn’t buy a comedy ticket based on a personal blog entry, they’re probably weak willed enough you could bully them into it. Also ugh for not being able to reply to an anonymous comment.

  4. Lol!! I’m actually glad your so-called “experience” and “observation” of what you’re talking about is way off base!!

  5. I am a huge fan of stand up comedy and I got to say a lot of the people that sell tickets times square are a bunch of liars. However some of them are really honest and are good sales people. The problem is you don’t know who to trust! That’s why most people from New York don’t buy tickets from people on the streets.

    My wife and I really like this website called Best Comedy Tickets they have the most up to date schedule and some of the best comedy ticket prices in the city. Here is a link I have been using them for about 2 years and have seen a lot of great shows.

    I hope this helps, and you have lots of laughs.

    1. I don’t appreciate you putting my photo on your site with the negative comment about comedy promoters did you even consider the harm you can do by putting this up with my photo you don’t care as long as you can write bad things about people you don’t know do your research next time and ask can you use someones photo!!!!

      1. Are you the guy in the photo or is it a photo you took? If you left your contact info, I could get in touch with you.

        The photo is from DNAinfo, the source is linked

        This is a column about my personal experience: that’s my research and I did plenty of it.

        Good luck to you.

  6. Broadway Comedy Club uses fraudulent Bait & Switch tactics to sell tickets through an alleged “third-party promotions” vendor. They are scumbags and you should never visit this dump ran by scammers. Comedy Cellar is way better and actually has headliners there on a consistent basis, so don’t waste your money at Broadway Comedy Club!!

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