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Reading Series Census: Sideshow Goshko Storytelling Series

By on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 9:03 am

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
The name of the series is “Sideshow Goshko Storytelling Series.” It’s a storytelling series where NY’s top comedians, writers, and performers share true, bizarre tales about their lives. We don’t do monthly story themes, just the overall “sideshow” theme of those weird tales we all have.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
The series was founded by Leslie Goshko (convenient namesake) who still runs it.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
“Sideshow Goshko” is a comedic storytelling series. Although we do get the occasional heart-wrenching story which can be just as much of a hit.

What is the format of the series?
The evening features 4 storytellers in total (3 guest storytellers and one story by host and creator Leslie Goshko). There is a brief intermission after the first two storytellers and each story runs 8-10 minutes. You’ll be home in time to not pay the babysitter overtime.

Where does the series take place?
Sideshow Goshko takes place at the legendary KGB Bar (named the “Best Literary Venue in NYC” by NY Magazine) in New York City. 85 E. 4th Street, 2nd Floor.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Sideshow Goshko happens on the fourth Thursday of every month. But audience members should check with the KGB website to confirm, especially around the holiday seasons when we tend to have alternate dates.

How long has the series been active?
Sideshow Goshko has been running since January of 2009.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
Show recaps, photos, and news can be found at

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
The series is a curated event which means that host Leslie Goshko either personally knows or has seen the storytellers perform, or guests have been recommended by previous performers. But potential performers are welcomed to submit a video performance or audio sample of their work. Visit to contact.

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
When the series first launched, it took place in the basement of a comedy club. The stories were shorter, the lineups were more dense, and performers were mostly stand-up comedians. The show has gotten much more stream-lined and taken a more literary/narrative bent. There’s only three guest performers and with stories being curated, audiences can guarantee they’ll be watching a quality show. Sideshow Goshko Storytelling Series has been named a New York Times “Critic’s Pick,” Time Out New York “Critic’s Pick,” New York Daily News “Editor’s Pick,” featured on BBC online and in The New Yorker, named among “The Best Comedy of 2013” by Time Out New York, and also noted as “a well-programmed night” by The New York Times.

What distinguishes the series from others?
I think the awards and accolades that the series has garnered over the years speaks to the fact that audiences get a consistent, quality show. It’s also a really fun evening. In-between storytellers, the audience plays trivia and at the end of the night there’s a free wine giveaway where one lucky audience member walks away with their very own bottle of Sideshow Sauce. It’s quality, engaging storytelling with fun hosting in one of New York’s legendary literary venues. To date, Sideshow Goshko is the only comedic storytelling show to have a home at KGB Bar. We’ve held that honor for the past several years and are happy to continue it.

The next Sideshow is scheduled for Thursday, October 22, 2015, at KGB at 7pm and features Andy Christie, Leona Godin, and Gail Thomas.



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