Born on the Lower East Side, Seth Herzog’s ‘Sweet’ Comedy Show Moves Out

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 at 5:06 am by

Seth Herzog and Sal Vulcano, December 2018

It sure felt like a final farewell. Downtown comedy fixture Seth Herzog had Slipper Room substitute Chelsea Music Hall at capacity last month for what he dubbed “the last show for awhile.” In the end, this Sweet holiday show was more of an inflection point.

Like so much else on the Lower East Side these days, the weekly comedy show departed its birthplace. The longtime collaboration with the Slipper Room – both iterations of the Orchard Street club – came to conclusion in December, as the Chelsea Music Hall apparently offered such Sweet terms that Herzog couldn’t refuse.

The new home also comes with a change in frequency to a monthly program. First show back after the Sweet hiatus is tomorrow night (January 29), with Michelle Wolf and Janeane Garofalo (among others) on the bill.

Jim Gaffigan at Sweet, December 2018

(You can get tickets here.)

Since September 2004, Herzog has hosted his Sweet passion on the Lower East Side. First at the original one-story Slipper Room cabaret, then a brief detour at the now-defunct Ella lounge, and back to the second iteration of the former. Through it all, the host, who is Jimmy Fallon’s warmup guy by day, always attracts the best comedians, from established stars to up-and-comers.

To those who know, Sweet is one of the best deals in town. For fifteen bucks (no drink minimum), you can catch Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Showalter, David Cross, or Bob Odenkirk share the stage. The format is simple and relaxed. Seth, with his myriad comedy connections, spars with an equally funny co-host through a packed two-hour bill. It’s then topped with the fan favorite segment of “what’s on my Mom’s mind,” in which he interviews (and embarrasses) his mother in front of everyone.

Seth Herzog and Aasif Mandvi at Sweet, September 2008

When asked about hosting Sweet for fourteen years and its legacy, Herzog said, “[I’m most proud of] being a house for grand experimentation for so many comedians for so many years. I’ve been told on podcasts that many comedians talk about how my show affected them and formed who they are as comedians.”

Herzog recounted the origins in an interview several years ago.

In 2004, the Hartman brothers were planning to open Mo’ Pitkins on Ave A, and they asked me if I wanted to host and produce a weekly show there. I jumped at the chance, but they wouldn’t open for another year. I was also regularly hosting burlesque on the weekends at the Slipper Room. James Habacker, owner of the venue, asked if I wanted to do a show on Thursdays. So I said, “Well, I start ‘Sweet’ on Thursdays at the Slipper and then move it Mo’s when it opens.” We never moved it to Mo’s.

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