New York Comedy Festival brings in funny stars for week of laughs

Some of the nation’s top comedians will be performing.

Some of the nation’s top comedians will be performing around the Big Apple this week for the annual New York Comedy Festival.

Roughly 70 shows are planned from Wednesday until Sunday and nearly 40,000 tickets have been sold for the events, according to the festival’s producer Caroline Hirsch.

Hirsch, who owns the Times Square comedy club Caroline’s, said the city has always been prime with great talent and the festival shows it off in a big way.

“New York is the hub of the world and comedy fits in right there with it,” she said.

The festival, which began in 2003 with 12 shows, will feature performances from Amy Schumer, Bill Cosby, Nick Offerman, Bill Maher and many more stars at 20 different venues throughout the city including Carnegie Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Comedy Cellar, the Bell House and Town Hall.

Hirsch said comics have always lined up for the event because of the chance to take their acts to crowds at some of the most iconic New York establishments.

“What I love about it, is that I’ll go into a crowded theater and watch everyone’s reaction and seeing 2,800 at Carnegie Hall laughing at the same time,” she said.

Up-and-coming comedians will also be performing and the festival helps them get more star power.

“Everyone gets noticed,” Hirsch said. “There are performers who come into the Beacon and they don’t know who they are there but at the festival everyone knows you.”

She added the increase in performers goes hand-in-hand with the surge in attendance and it’s not just the comedy venues that are reaping the awards. The producer said the festival is a major economic boost for the city as the comedy fans take in other sites of the city in between the shows.

“It’s the hotels, it’s the parties, it’s the restaurants, that are just booming and feeding in on the energy we give,” the producer said.

Hirsch said the most anticipated event is tonight’s “Stand Up for Heroes” show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. She said the charity show helped to raise $20 million over the last eight years for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps veterans. She was optimistic that this year’s lineup featuring Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Bruce Springsteen will bring in more than $5 million.

“It’s just been a phenomenal success,” she said.

Ivan Pereira