WILLIAMSPORT — Everyone can use a good laugh from time to time and “The Plus-Ones, A Night of Standup Comedy,” promises to deliver a heavy dose of humor Saturday at The Pajama Factory.
The show, hosted by New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake, will feature national comics Gastor Almonte, Kenice Mobley and Jess Salomon, as well as local favorites Billy Kelly and Rasheed Wesley.
“This is something new we are trying,” said Sally Ludwig, who books entertainment for The Pajama Factory. “Emily and four other female comedians were here two months ago and did a show on a first Friday, so we decided to try to make it a little more regular.”
This show will feature five comedians and while the first go-around had a good turnout, despite being pulled together on short notice, Ludwig said that this time she expects the turnout to be much higher.
Mobley is a standup comedian and filmmaker who lives in Brooklyn. She performs stand-up comedy around the world and recently made her late night debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Almonte is a comedian and storyteller, also from Brooklyn. He has twice appeared on Comedy Central and the PBS featured “Stories From The Stage.” His appearance on “Stories From The Stage” won the 2020 Webby People’s Voice award for Best Individual Performance and Timeout Magazine named him “One of your new comedy obsessions.”
Wesley, of Chester, Pa., began his comedy career as part of Millersville University’s Improv Molotov comedy troupe while earning his degree in English and journalism. After graduating in 2017, he began standup comedy, working out of the Williamsport comedy scene.
Since then, he has performed all along the east coast as well as at regular spots at Broadway Comedy Club and Greenwich Village Comedy Club in New York City.
Now after filming and recording his debut special and album, Sheed’s Perfect Day, in Lewisburg this year, he looks forward to spreading more laughs throughout the country.
Kelly is a Grammy-nominated family entertainer who also performs for grown-ups (with cusswords). Over the course of his career he has opened for President Barack Obama, duetted with Davy Jones of The Monkees, and created a family-friendly stand-up comedy album for Audible. His Audible Original, “This Is a Family Show!” is a stand-up comedy experience that parents and kids can enjoy together.
Kelly describes his act as “comedy toast with the crust cut off, if the crust was all that pesky talk about dating, politics, money, and the Department of Motor Vehicles so common in today’s stand-up.”
However, he joked, “I understand we are allowed to say bad words at this show, so I plan to learn a few of those between now and Saturday. My set should be really darn fun, sorry for swearing.”
Kelly got involved in Saturday’s showcase thanks to his friend Flake.
“The incredibly funny (Emily) Flake and I have crossed paths (and swords) at various Central PA comedy shows, and apparently I somehow tricked her into thinking that I am funny enough to be included on this amazing bill,” said Kelly. “Either that or there is another Billy Kelly, in which case I’ll leave quietly like last time.”
Humor writing residency
Kelly describes Flake as “a relentless bringer-together-er of funny people” and is sure anyone who comes out Saturday will have a good time.
“This is a great time for the Central PA comedy scene — to have someone (Emily) bringing New York comics out to this area and putting them on shows with local talent, and also with me, is a boon on many levels,” he said. “And boy howdy do I love a good boon!”
Flake is also the proprietress of St. Nell’s Humor Writing Residency for Ladies, “a writing residency for women and non-binary people working in any comedic discipline in Williamsport.”
“I started coming to Williamsport in 2020 because (as a freelancer) every job dried up that summer for obvious reasons,” explained Flake. “I was just sitting in Brooklyn and everything upstate and in New England was crazy expensive and packed, so I decided to start looking in Pennsylvania. An ad for the Genetti Hotel popped up.”
She decided to take a chance and visit the area with her husband and daughter and Flake said she fell in love.
“I immediately loved the town and we started coming out as often as we could,” she said. “We both freelance so it was up to us as far as what to do with our time. I’d always wanted to have a place where I could run an artist’s writer/residence, and the more time I spent there the more I knew this could happen.”
She started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the downpayment, bought a house, and started doing trial run residencies for women writers and non-binary writers.
She is excited for Saturday’s show.
“This will basically be a showcase of five comedians having 15 minutes each,” said Flake.
The line-up has been changed twice since the original plan for various reasons, but Flake is hopeful everything goes smoothly from here on out.
“Line-ups change all the time even when we’re not a pandemic,” said Flake. “Hopefully this will be the last of the line up changes.”
Regardless, Flake said people can “expect a good couple hours of laughter.”
“Hopefully they’ll come and have a good time,” she said. “People can expect a good couple hours of laughter.”
Tickets for the show are $15 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. To purchase online visit https://www.facebook.com/PajamaFactory. The show starts at 8 p.m. and doors open about 7:30 p.m.
While it’s a great opportunity to get out and release some stress, you’ll want to leave the kids at home for this one, said Flake.
“I don’t recommend this one for children,” said Ludwig. “There will cussing and a bar.”