Written by Betsy Abraham Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
Life makes Randy Levin laugh. There’s humor found everywhere; whether it’s going to the grocery store, encounters with his relatives, or the adventures that accompany having twin six-year-old daughters. With a sharp observational sense of humor about the absurdaties that come with every day life, the Westbury resident has kept audiences all over the country laughing over his 30-year career as a stand up comic.
Levin got his start in the spotlight doing magic as a teenager growing up in Oceanside. He got his first taste of comedy when a friend introduced him to Paul Reiser, an up and coming comedian who would go on to be the star of the well-known 90s sitcom, Mad
About You. Reiser took Levin to an improv club in the city, where he performed for the first time in front of a handful of people at 2:30 a.m.
“I was horrible, but I caught the bug,” Levin said. “Something about being there made me want to come back. I started making it a regular thing and going into city clubs and Long Island clubs.”
He started doing open mic nights and eventually got good enough to do weeknight, and then weekend shows. He discovered the college circuit and began doing performances at colleges nationwide.
“I got hooked in the spotlight. It’s a powerful feeling to be alone on stage and to be able to make people laugh on cue,” said Levin.
Levin appeared on several television shows and did stand-up all over the country, appearing at several well-known venues including Dangerfields, Governors, Comic Strip, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun. He also did shows at over 800 colleges. Personal highlights of his career include playing NYCB Theatre at Westbury, the Paramount Theater in Huntington and appearing on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv.”
By the early 90s, as the comedy boom of the previous decade started to wane, comedy club gigs became harder to find and required more travel. Levin went back to school and became a high school English teacher for 10 years, before settling into his current career as a college consultant.
Nowadays, Levin doesn’t tour as much as he did in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but still does stand-up as part of the Long Island Comedy Festival, which holds stand-up showcases throughout the year, as well as on cruise lines and other local venues. Much of Levin’s material comes from being the 55-year-old father of six-year-old twin girls, as well as other aspects of marriage and family life. He says he doesn’t go looking for comedy or for funny material, but that it comes about organically from observations about everyday life.
“Some things might hit you in a funny way and you work with that. It’s sort of the ability to pay attention to where you are and what’s going on and the absurdity of the moment,” Levin said. “It’s about staying in the moment of whatever stage of life you’re in and commenting on that.”
What distinguishes comics from other people is that they are chronic observers, and Levin says they often “see the world in a skewed view, kind of from the sidelines.”
“We’re sort of observing the world and noticing all the craziness. The only difference between a comedian and real person is that we’re stupid enough to get up on stage,” said Levin.
While Levin still enjoys doing stand-up he says he doesn’t want to do it forever.
“I’d like to stop before I become a caricature,” he says. “But for now, I still love it and I still do well.”
Find out more about Levin and check out clips from his past shows at www.randylevin.com