In a previous post about where to move the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, I mentioned the trouble with places like Chicago would be is that a comedy festival would just seem like just a better than average night for comedy. That would seem to be a likely trouble with this week’s New York Comedy Festival, but I think the festival organizers have dodged that bullet to some degree.
How? By getting some performers for the fest whose stand-up days seem to be far more rare including Rosie O’Donnell, Denis Leary and Damon Wayans. Although, arguably, the need to be out there performing stand-up night after night might to stay sharp might make for some of these to be uneven performances, if the spark is still there, it’s a great opportunity to see folks that you thought you’d never see again.
Tonight the fest gets kicked off by the finals in the “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” competition, which began with an open call that winnowed down the numbers to 60, which then led to three shows which brought the number down to six. Still in the running: Lee Camp, Joe DeRosa, Joey Gay, Julian McCullough, Wil Sylvince, and Marc Theobald. The winner gets to open for one of Artie Lange’s show at the fest along with a week long run at Carolines. If you got a favorite in those names, you can go root for them at Carolines tonight at 9:30.
Among the shows I hope I get to catch this week is at least part of UCB’s Longest Sketch Show Ever (emphasis on “part” - 24 hours of sketch comedy is too much for even me) and hopefully, I can drop by the ASSCAT reunion show at Irving Plaza. And, if the Writers Guild Strike holds out, I imagine that the Friday seminar featuring the writers from the Late Show with David Letterman may be scathing, hysterical and a little maudlin all at once.
Ticket Information for these and other shows is at the NY Comedy Festival web site.