About Us

Remember 1997?

Britain gave up control of Hong Kong.

Scientists cloned Dolly the sheep.

But most important:

Lunatic Fringe started to make people laugh!!!

In 1997 Deb Maclean, Jerry Lazar and Paul Murphy were invited to do some improv at Luna Stage in Montclair, New Jersey. We made each other laugh so much that we decided to form a group and make other people laugh. So we started a group and named it Lunatic Fringe.

The first few shows had no piano player, so we played the kazoo and harmonica between scenes. We had no one to run lights, so cast members ran back and forth up and down a ladder to the lighting board. Then came Jan, the laughing lighting guy, and we were always lit and always had at least one laugh. A funny woman named Allison Field wrote an opening number, we found a keyboard player, and we began to do regular shows. One night the keyboard player didn’t show up, so Deb went into the audience and asked if there was a pianist who could play and go get a keyboard and bring it back. Eric Heilner raised his hand. Then he played keyboard with us for 15 years.

For a while a clown was involved. A professional clown. Al Calienes. You can Google him. And for a while a surgeon.

Years passed, we kept doing shows, and people kept laughing. Some cast members came and went and others came and stayed, like the ingenious Harvey Chipkin, who joined in 2000; the stellar Dave Groveman, who arrived in 2010; and the brilliant Gay van Lieu, who first performed with Lunatic Fringe from 1999 to 2001 and then returned in 2017. Thanks to the pandemic, the hilarious Brooke Hoover, who was with us from 2008 to 2012, is able to perform with us from afar. So can the marvelous Annie Higgy, the newest cast member, who comes to us from Rhode Island.

After five years at Luna Stage, Lunatic Fringe moved to 12 Miles West Theater, also in Montclair. Then both theaters left town and the group moved to Pianos in Bloomfield, where we made people laugh for five years. Ten years ago Lunatic Fringe found a new home at the Glen Ridge Train Station Performance Space and we also started to appear at 23 Skiddoo Café in Bloomfield, NJ.

We can't wait to get back to making people laugh in person, but for now, like everyone, we'll see you on Zoom!

So come and laugh. Just laugh.

It's not deep.

It's rarely thought-provoking.

It's just funny!