Every year when the weather starts getting chillier and the leaves start changing, New York seems to host nonstop festivals — but few can claim the same level of diversity and inclusivity as Cinder Block Comedy Festival.
In March 2016, the fest made waves with its announcement that it would use “wage gap” pricing for its submission process — meaning that female, queer, gender nonconforming and trans performers would pay 77 percent of the fee their straight white male counterparts would. The idea worked, and last fall’s fest brought talented folks of a wide array of experiences and identities to Brooklyn.
That same welcoming atmosphere is back for the 2017 edition. Starting Thursday, and running through this weekend, the fest features dozens of performances including stand-up showcases, game shows, panels, film screenings, improv, storytelling, music and more to venues in Bushwick and Williamsburg.
Here are five shows you won’t want to miss.
Women of a Certain Age
This all-female lineup includes sets from “Last Comic Standing’s” Nikki Carr, Emmy Award-winning writer Judy Gold and “Wet Hot American Summer” star Janeane Garofalo. Bar Matchless, Fri., 7:15 p.m., $15
Relive those early ’90s spent in front of a television at a busy bar when comedians perform a live staged-reading of a “Saved by the Bell” episode with no rehearsal, or preparation — screwy line readings are part of the fun. Pine Box Rock Shop, Fri., 11 p.m., $5
Astronomy Club Improv and Sketch Show
One of the NYC’s top improv and sketch groups Astronomy Club (“A Journey Through Black History”), teams up with Philadelphia’s fantastic team Barbara Bush for a night of pre-written and off-the-cuff comedy. Hell Phone, Sat., 6 p.m., $7
Tell It: Brooklyn
Five funny New Yorkers share real live stories full of humor and heart in this storytelling show led by Susan Kent (“Risk!”) and Victoria Scroggins (“Mortified”). Hell Phone, Sat., 8 p.m., $7
Hosted by two of city’s most promising rising stars, comics Lynn Bixenspan and Morgan Pielli, this show includes real stories, advice and a real therapist to dive deep on why relationships are so hard. Pine Box Rock Shop, Sun., 8:30 p.m., $5
If you go: For a full schedule of events and ticket information, go to cinderblockcomedyfestival.com