Have you heard the joke about the two women who share an awkward moment when they meet an acquaintance in a subway station, and one of them, rather than endure pathetic stabs at conversation, abruptly says she’s going to move to the other end of the platform? No? Well, the punch line, which involves the three of them seated on the train, has to be seen rather than heard.
That sort of “you had to be there” punch line, this one from the short movie “Broad City,” is the raison d’être of the Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival, a monthly screening at 92YTribeca. The festival challenges the notion that audiences prefer comedy in feature-length format or as short tales delivered by lone performers under the glare of nightclub lights.
“At a comedy show the audience is expecting a stand-up pace,” said Jay Stern, who helped create the festival in 2002. Instead, Iron Mule offers its audience several shorts interspersed with interviews with the filmmakers, as well as funny banter from Mr. Stern and Victor Varnado, who is both a filmmaker and an actor. At the end of the evening, audience members vote for their favorite short.
The lineup on Saturday is typical in that it is atypical: there is a mix of surreal animation (“Lapsus”); a music video that Mr. Stern worked on; and sketches that seem ripe to go viral (“Ad Men” and “Broad City”).