What Is the Iron Mule?

"The Iron Mule" is a 1925 slapstick comedy by the great silent comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, featuring Buster Keaton. The name also encapsulates the kind of movies we love to show; tough, burly, uncompromising shorts which can't be stopped. The Iron Mule was also an early name for the movie camera (perhaps an allusion to "The Iron Horse," a term for the locomotive).
The Iron Mule Short Comedy Screening Series was founded in April, 2002, as First Sundays, at the Chicago City Limits Theater in NYC and has been screening monthly ever since (with the exception of a hiatus during the COVID-19 epidemic - but we're back!)
In our 20 years we have presented more than 2,000 short comedy films from around the world, including early work from many celebrated filmmakers and comedians (we don't really like dropping names but here are some of them: Stephen Colbert, Lena Dunham, Dan Harmon, Aziz Ansari -- but our favorites have been made by people like you).
We are a collective of filmmakers and film lovers who meet monthly to celebrate funny and inventive short cinema among friends. Join us if you dare!
Hosts Jay Stern and Victor Varnado interview attending filmmakers during the show, and each screening is followed by an after-party. In addition, Iron Mule produces the “Wanna Be a Star” contest, in which an audience member is chosen to star in a new film directed by an Iron Mule filmmaker to be shown at the following month’s screening.
The Iron Mule is a partner with Animation Nights New York, a monthly animation screening event.

The Iron Mule Team

(Producer, Co-host)
Jay is a filmmaker and theater director, and a filmmaking professor at Rider University. Jay has directed four feature films, dozens of shorts, and theater productions in the US and Europe. His latest feature Dead Storage is currently in development. jaystern.com
Victor Varnado
(Producer, Co-host)
Chances are you’ve caught Victor Varnado’s stand-up on Late Night with Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Kimmel Live or even happened upon him on Comedy Central.  Or maybe you’ve seen his comics in Mad Magazine.  But Victor’s not just a comedian.  Varnado’s career spans many roles in the entertainment industry, including producer, filmmaker, writer, and most recently a cartoonist for The New Yorker.  As a showrunner and series creator, Victor had a hand in blessing the world with Eric Andre and Hannibal Buress in Comedy Central’s comedy concert film, “The Awkward Comedy Show.”  Networks such as TruTV, Comedy Central, and The History Channel have relied on his expertise as a senior producer for countless shows such as Leave it to Stevie with Stevie J and Love and Hip Hop.  He has directed 4 feature films, working alongside major studios like Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures.  Varnado’s films have been showcased at South by Southwest and he is the winner of New York Television Festival’s Best Unscripted Category for his pilot “Funny Cause It’s True.”  This year, you can catch Victor’s writing in Orion Picture’s “Bad Trip” with Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery or, if you’re more into comic books, co-authoring a screenplay for Marvel.
Daniel Mahon
is/has been an actor, singer, writer, teacher, editor, puppeteer and filmmaker. As a writer, his work has been selected as a Quarterfinalist in the Nichol Fellowship and The Austin Film Festival. As a performer he’s appeared on Broadway with Angela Lansbury and in dozens of television/radio commercials and recordings. His first short film, MobSpeak Institute, screened at film festivals nationwide. He has made films for the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the National WWII Museum, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and the California Science Center, among others. He is one of the creators of the website RatsIsland.com. He was once a Toys R Us Kid and even sang back-up for Yoko Ono (no, that’s not a joke).


Join us after the show to meet the filmmakers and fellow film fans!