Laughter cures all. Or at least makes for a great night. To channel this particular type of joy, and to showcase some of the rising stars in the cities we call home, Arlo recently unveiled its own ArLOL Comedy Series. The new shows bring together locals and guests of our hotels in New York City and Miami, and a slate of comedic talent taking to the stages of our intimate venues.

New York City ArLOL events are hosted and curated by Flora Manon, a stand-up comedian and actor, known for her roles in The Incantation and Mob Town. She is also the host of weekly comedy series The Irritable B**** Show at the Bee’s Knees Cocktail House. Here, Arlo Hotel’s Director of Marketing, Kristen Daniels, interviews Flora about what makes a great comic, from dark pasts to pre-show rituals and everything in between.

Flora Manon holding a mic at ArLOL

How did you start in the comedy world?

Not to get too dark — although I am a Scorpio. This is a for-real answer: When I was younger, I grew up in a really bad home, and I would always sneak off and watch MADtv.


Yeah, and Ms. Swan! Lorraine! It would change my mood. It had such a power over me that I would go from being sad and scared to just giggling so hard, watching it in my room. It’s such a cheesy answer, but I thought, ‘I want this. I wanna give that to people.’ When I moved to LA, I was an actor, but I was miserable, auditioning. Funnily enough, as a queer person, it was an ex-boyfriend who signed me up for a standup class. Which sounds very… not cool for a standup to be doing [laughs], but I am so thankful I did it. I needed to have some structure, to feel confident doing it on stage. At the end of the course, if you did well, you performed at the Hollywood Improv, which is iconic.


If it hadn’t gone well, I would not be here right now.

So, you nailed it. When did you move to New York?

When I was 28, about five years ago. I felt stagnant in LA. There aren’t as many opportunities to do standup. It’s only major clubs so, as a beginner, you don’t get much room to practice. And I was too comfortable in LA. I had family there. Weed is legal. I was at the pool all the time. I never felt like there was that fire up my ass that I needed. So, one day I just said, I have to go. I have to be uncomfortable and go out every single day. And as soon as I moved here, I immediately made friends with every comic that I’ve ever wanted to meet.

What has changed in the industry since you began in the industry?


A lot more internet comedy?

Yes. But it’s interesting: some people blow up on the internet and then you see them live and it’s not good. And some people do not have an internet presence and they’re incredible live. A few people can do both, which is amazing.

What makes comedic talent stand out enough for you to book them in shows?

I like people who are who they are. Whose jokes are jokes you could only hear from them. I love when comics just be their weirdo selves. That’s what I want, authenticity.

How tough is that in such a saturated comedy market like New York?

It’s difficult. Truly. Because there are so many good people. Similar to what I said: that there has to be something about them that you’ve never seen before. That you want more of.

Like the characters?

The characters, the personalities, the cadence. I’m big on the way that a comedian delivers, especially if I think, wow, I’ve never seen someone speak like that before.

Right. So, who are some of your favorite comics currently?

Zack and Drew, Jorden Jenson, Alex English – so many to name. Talking mainstream, I like John Mulaney. Beth Stelling, I love her. She’s one of my favorite comics, female or male. Sam Morril is one of my favorites. Anyone that does dark humor is gonna win me over a hundred percent.

What about your own comedic influences?

There are so many, but Beth Stelling is inspirational to me. And Jessica Kirson. You can see her all over New York. She always messages me, but she never says she’s available for any of my shows [laughs]. I would say Kristen Wiig is one of my biggest influences and she doesn’t even do standup. I love everything she does.

Why did you start producing shows?

Going to an open mic was never a safe space for me. I wanted to make a show where everyone felt comfortable. If you’re queer, a woman, POC, or anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider, you have a safe space to perform and get paid to do it.

When I moved here, I noticed that everywhere in New York was hosting shows. The gym has a comedy show, the coffee shop has a comedy show. But I wanted to do something special, and collaborate with friends in hospitality. Because I have all this experience in the restaurant industry—17 years of being a waitress—I know people and I know all the venues. My show was the first comedy show at Ray’s. It’s one positive of being in the service industry. I know what space is gonna work for what.  

Who are some of your biggest supporters?

The gays. Honestly, the gays love all the gay comics. They are ride or die for me. I feel very lucky.

What are some of your goals for the ArLOL Series?

I want the comics that I book to have as much shine as possible. I will never book somebody that I don’t want the best for. And I love the fact that they can get a broader audience because the venue is a hotel. People from all over who are staying here can get a taste of New York.

People from all over who are staying here can get a taste of New York.

Yeah, like maybe it’s someone visiting from Boston … or Arkansas.

Right, and maybe they’ve never heard of this comic they’re seeing. Or, they get to see their favorite comic in New York right here, where it’s not the same old comedy club thing. It’s bright, it’s fun.

What are some of your pre-show rituals?

Full meltdown [laughs]. It’s a part of my process.

When our coordinator came up with this question we joked, “She’s gonna say, ‘I take 3 shots’ or ‘I throw up.’”

I start a fight with my girlfriend. She doesn’t wanna be around me the day of a show because I’m in full panic mode. I used to drink before a show, thinking that I killed it. Then I saw a tape of myself and the entire time I was going, “You know what I mean, you know what I mean?” So now I don’t drink before a show. I have diarrhea. I pee 16 times. I tell everyone I’m having an awful day. Full stress. And then I have the best day ever. You gotta start low to get high.

Oh, I like that! Was there ever a time the audience was not vibing?

Oh, yeah.

What do you do in that situation?

The first show I was running in New York, we had a sold-out audience. And it was a successful show. But this was after lockdown, and we were all used to only laughing at home, on social media.

I think I saw you post a video about this once.

Yeah. The audience was all, like, silent laughing, like how you do when you’re at home watching TikTok and you’re dying, thinking, “This is the funniest thing!” But, if someone were to film you, you would be like… [pulls a straight face, with a slight smile]. It was so weird. But at the end of the show, everyone was shaking my hand, saying, “Man, amazing show. So great. So great. Can’t wait to come back!”

Well, we were just saying earlier how comics usually have such a good time at your shows. What do you attribute that to?

I don’t know, because comics do not usually hang out for a full show. Whenever I’m on other people’s shows, I also leave. But you’ve just seen two ArLOL shows at NoMad and the comics all stayed the whole time. I don’t know if it’s the energy of these shows or what. There’s something about the ambiance here. The dark corners feel safe but fun, you know? Or is it me? [laughs]

What’s the best comedy experience you’ve ever had?

I booked my first show at the Comedy Cellar last year during Pride. I was so nervous because the Cellar has such a reputation.

A little intimidating?

Yeah. But I had the best time. And I did really well. It gave me such an emotional reaction when I walked off stage. It felt like such an accomplishment. The vibe was just perfection.

You can catch Flora, and her pick of NYC’s rising stars of comedy, at our next ArLOL Comedy Series show. Click here for all upcoming dates, times and tickets.

Upcoming ArLOL Events