Val Bodurtha, 16, pulled out a banjo, singing a song chastising classmates who tout views on social issues and politics. She sang: "You should really learn your facts before you begin to speak" and "stop posting pictures of your meals and gratuitous shots of you." At one point, she said "fricking," the show's closest brush with profanity.
During his act, Graham Janovic, 11, said that while other families bought batteries and soup before Superstorm Sandy, his family stocked up on candy and toilet paper, making him worry that every knock at the door was a cameraman from the "Hoarders" television show.
As comics do, Janovic and others highlighted personal flaws, turning the stage into therapy.
"I'm a recovering dyslexic," he said.
"Don't judge me. I have a disease, a disease of the mind: ADHD," 17-year-old Leo Frampton said, reminding spectators that trouble focusing is common for teens. "People used to say, 'I love textbooks.' Now they say: 'I love exciting and interesting experiences.' ADHD is the new rock 'n' roll."
He said he gets annoyed during holiday breaks when adults repeatedly ask him if he's looking forward to returning to school. He said he'd like to counter: "Hey, it's almost tax season. ... Looking forward to going back to the office?"
The sold-out show — the first at Gotham in the history of Kids 'N Comedy — was a milestone for Grossman and a credit to the classes, which cost $595, and comedy summer camps, which cost $1,045.
Grossman said professionalism results from hard work.
"We try to motivate them to write all the time," she said. "If you want to keep it fresh, you have to keep on writing."
Some youngsters have graduated to bigger things, including 26-year-old actor Josh Peck, who recently appeared in the movie "Red Dawn" after playing Josh Nichols in the Nickelodeon sitcom, "Drake & Josh."
"To see these kids, they're funny, they're really funny," Grossman said. "Nobody's doing knock-knock jokes."