By Tammy Reese
Longtime NYWIFT member and 2019 NYWIFT Made in NY Muse Honoree Caroline Hirsch, the founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway and the New York Comedy Festival, is a visionary in the comedy industry. Her keen eye for talent has led her to discover some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reubens.
Now, as the New York Comedy Festival enters its 19th year, Hirsch is once again making waves by expanding the festival from 7 to 10 days. From November 3rd to November 12th, comedy enthusiasts can expect an even bigger and better lineup of shows, performances, and events.
This expansion showcases Hirsch’s commitment to providing audiences with top-notch comedic entertainment. By extending the festival’s duration, she is ensuring that more talent can be showcased, and more laughter can be shared throughout this iconic event.
Whether you’re a die-hard comedy fan or simply looking for a night of laughter in the heart of New York City, you won’t want to miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable experience at this year’s New York Comedy Festival. Mark your calendars for November 3rd -12th and get ready for ten days filled with hilarity and entertainment like never before.
We have 10 packed days of really fun and exciting shows. We’ve put a roster together and outdid ourselves this year. We went from almost six nights to 10 days of nonstop shows. We have close to 150 shows around New York City, so we’re very proud of that.
I’m also very proud, being a member of New York Women in Film & Television, we have lots of women in the festival this year. From Joy Behar to Ilana Glazer, Margaret Cho, Robyn Schall, Nicole Byer, Michelle Wolf, and the list goes on and on. We’re ecstatic about it.
What can you share with us about “Comics to Watch” and “New York’s Funniest?”
“Comics to Watch” is one of our big shows that we do in the festival where attendees get to see emerging talent. “Comics to Watch” is somebody we have an eye on, and “New York’s Funniest” is somebody we know. Jordan Jensen won “New York’s Funniest” recently. She’s doing her solo show this year which I believe is sold out. Ricky Velez has also won one year. He is coming back and is hosting. Ricky is also doing his single show at the Chelsea Music Club. We’re just excited about everything happening.
What does it take behind the scenes to do something this huge as a 10-day festival?
It’s the 19th year, so some things we have down. We went out there, we booked theaters and we saw who’s around. With the help of the staff, we put all these shows together. There’s lots of people behind the scenes and lots of people that come on the week of the festival to help out with everything.
You’ve been honored quite a bit for the iconic and innovative work that you’ve contributed to arts and entertainment. How does it feel to receive your flowers in such profound ways?
Being honored by NYWIFT as a Muse with the Made in New York Award was really flattering along with some other exceptional women on stage.
We were honored to bring Caroline’s up to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York. I must tell you, it’s a very impressive center because there’s lots of interactive displays that all center around comedy such as the stage from The Tonight Show. Every comedy fan should really make a visit there. They will be so delightfully surprised about how sophisticated this center is and what it has contributed to comedy.
Also, this year, I am the recipient of the first Bob Saget Award. After Bob’s passing, they decided that they wanted to do this award because every year we’d have a fundraiser at Caroline’s for the Scleroderma Research Foundation.
What else would you like our readers to know?
I want to let you know that we have a lot of the big shows, but everybody should go to nycomedyfestival.com and scroll through all of the shows that we have around New York City, in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and the island of Manhattan. We have a lot of the smaller shows, and you’ll be tickled pink to go to one of those because they’re really, really great shows.
Everything has been hand-selected, and we go over with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we’re working with a lot of people, make sure we’re filling a need for people, making sure we’re diversified in everything that we present, and I think people will be really, really surprised about the breadth of the festival.
More on New York Comedy Festival:
- The NYCF will Feature More Than 200 Comedians Performing in More Than 100 Shows at Venues Throughout the Five Boroughs.
- 2023 Headliners include Dave Attell, Bill Burr, Nicole Byer, Jimmy Carr, Margaret Cho, Tim Dillon, Giggly Squad, Ilana Glazer, Brett Goldstein, Nate Jackson, Anthony Jeselnik, Matteo Lane, Sam Morril, Nick Mullen and Adam Friedland, Atsuko Okatsuka, Pod Meets World, Donnell Rawlings, Jeff Ross, Robyn Schall, Daniel Sloss, Michelle Wolf, and Conan O’Brien.
- The NYCF announced the addition of more than 100 shows to our 2023 line-up, includingJoy Behar’s Bonkers in the Boroughs November 3–5 at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center; Caleb Hearon on November 3 and 8 at The Bell House; Drew Michael: Hereon November 3 and 4 at Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater; Ariel Elias on November 4 at Young Ethel’s; Alec Flynn and Victoria Vincent Co-Headliner Series on November 5 at Tiny Cupboard; Marguerite: a solo show by Maggie Winters on November 6 at Union Hall; and many more.
- Bread Financialis the Official Card and Sponsor of the New York Comedy Festival.
- Hard Rock Hotel New York is the official host hotel for the NYCF this year. With music and entertainment at its core, the hotel will once again be home to various festival performances, events, and after-parties along with exclusive overnight experiences for those in the audience or commanding the stage.
- The NYCF will be presenting shows at some of the most prestigious theaters and concert venues across the five boroughs, including the Apollo Theatre, BAM, the Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at MSG, Town Hall, and many more.
- Stand Up for Heroes (SUFH), presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), returns for its 17th annual celebration to honor our nation’s impacted veterans and their families on November 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET at David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
- The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) announces the finalists for “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” Presented by Death Wish Coffee. The event, which marks its 15th anniversary and has become a staple of the New York Comedy Festival and the city’s premier stand-up comedy competition, will take place at The Venue at Hard Rock Hotel (259 West 48th Street) on Saturday, November 11 at 3:30 p.m., and will shine a spotlight on some of stand-ups’ top up-and-coming comedians. 2014 New York’s Funniest Stand-Up winner Ricky Velez will host the show. The ten finalists will perform a ten-minute set in front of a panel of comedy industry judges. The winner will receive a cash prize.
In addition to tickets for New York’s Funniest, you can see all of this year’s headliners and more than 100 additional shows that were added to the 2023 lineup on https://nycomedyfestival.com
Welcome to NYWIFT, Aisha Amin! Aisha is an NYC-based writer and director. As a director, her work expands across narrative, documentary, and experimental forms to tell authentic stories built from real experiences. Her past film projects have explored and highlighted overlooked communities particularly in New York City, including formerly incarcerated mothers and communities struggling with the presence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Amongst her directing, Aisha is an emerging screenwriting and was selected to participate in Cine Qua Non’s 2022 Screenwriting Lab. She is a 2022 recipient of NYFA’s Tomorrowland Grant and a 2021 recipient of the NYFA Women's Fund grant. She was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellowship at the Jacob Burns Film Center where she directed two short documentaries. She is also a recipient of The Shed's Open Call Fellowship where she expanded her film practice to installation art. Aisha spoke to us about her favorite styles of storytelling, the intersection of narrative and documentary, and her latest projects.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Lorena R. Valenica! Lorena R. Valencia is a Mexican writer-director based in New York. Her directorial debut and MFA thesis film, Cuanacaquilitl (Dandelion), received the 2022 National Board of Review Student Award and is an Official Selection in several international film festivals, including the Morelia International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the New York Latino Film Festival, and the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival. Lorena is passionate about both narrative and documentary storytelling and is interested in addressing issues such as reproductive rights, identity, and belonging. Currently, she is directing Mi Ranchito, a documentary short film that explores resilience and love for the land, while she is developing her debut feature film, Mayahuel. Lorena spoke to us about inspiring empathy through storytelling, the overlap of narrative and documentary filmmaking, and her latest projects.READ MORE
NYWIFT Member Emily Sheskin’s return to DOC NYC 2023 is particularly meaningful. In 2017, she attended the festival with her short film Girl Boxer, about a 10-year-old champion female boxer and her adoring father. Six years later, Sheskin returns with a feature-length film following the same family, now facing an entirely new set of challenges. In Jesszilla, New Jersey’s own Jesselyn Silva, a three-time national boxing champion, is on her way to superstardom, dominating the junior ranks at the age of 15. With her every step of the way is her father, Pedro, a single parent who helps her navigate coaches, training schedules, and the angst of teenage life. When a devastating diagnosis threatens the father-daughter tandem, the pair turn to each other to fight their greatest opponent yet: cancer. Director and Executive Producer Emily Sheskin spoke to us about her unique journey following this family.READ MORE
Congratulations to NYWIFT Board Member Joyce Pierpoline, Executive Producer of Mediha, which just took home the U.S. Competition Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC! In this immensely collaborative film, a Yazidi teen once held captive by ISIS takes us into her world of grief, pain, and hope. We spoke to Pierpoline (prior to the exciting win) about her involvement in this important film.READ MORE