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New York Comedy Festival: First lineup announcement lacks female comics

The 15th anniversary lineup boasts big names in comedy.

Yvonne Orji is one of two female comedians

Yvonne Orji is one of two female comedians performing at this year's New York Comedy Festival, so far. Photo Credit: Getty Images for HBO / Peter Forest

It takes some of the biggest names in today’s stand-up scene to create laughs that’ll last a week during the 15th annual New York Comedy Festival.

This year’s headliner lineup was unveiled on Monday, with comedians like Conan O’Brien, Tracy Morgan and David Cross. Spanning seven days in November, the festival will bring more than 100 shows to the city’s clubs (Carolines on Broadway), theaters (The Beacon, The Hulu at MSG) and large-scale venues (Madison Square Garden).

The festival, held in partnership with TBS, promises the “very best stand-up” in a wide array of forms, from podcasts to improv sketches to screenings and panel chats to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Not as diverse? The lineup, so far.

Of the 17 events announced Monday, only two feature female comedians.

Yvonne Orji, who’s portrayed Molly in the HBO’s “Insecure” since 2016, is the only woman currently on the lineup set to perform stand-up with a four-night run at Carolines, Nov. 8 through Nov. 11. Comedian Erin Gibson, of the podcast “Throwing Shade,” will give her “fresh take on women’s issues, LGBTQ issues and pop culture with hilarity and vulgarity” at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on Nov. 9, alongside her co-host Bryan Safi.

The low number of female performers doesn’t come as a total shock either. Previous lineups, over the course of the last five years, were maxed out at four headlining female comedians, according to Gothamist.

The 11th annual fest featured 60 female performers, the highest number to date. And in 2010, the festival took major heat after a HuffPost article drew attention to a headliner ad that featured 10 men and zero women.

But this year’s lacking lineup may change. More than 200 comedians are slated to take part in the 2018 festival, with several performer announcements still to come, the NYCF stresses.

Until then, here’s a look at the other headliner events (held on Nov. 10) worth keeping your calendar open for.

Tickets for the fest, running Nov. 5 through Nov. 11, will be available at starting Aug. 13 at 10 a.m.

Tracy Morgan

The New York comedian returned to his roots last fall to tape the first season of his TBS series, “The Last O.G.” He’ll boast his city pride once more when he returns to the stand-up stage. (Beacon Theatre, 10:15 p.m.)

Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski

“Queer Eye’s” grooming and dining experts will chat up the crowd — without their avocados and hair dryers — during this panel discussion. Van Ness is no stranger to comedy, though. Aside from bringing the laughs on the Netflix series, he’s been tied to the Funny or Die series “Gay of Thrones” since 2013. (Town Hall, 7 p.m.)

David Cross

David Cross set out on his “Oh Come On” comedy tour after reprising his role in the Netflix series “Arrested Development.” If you saw him during his sold-out run at Union Hall in March, you may have gotten a preview of his NYCF set. The comedian said he used the Brooklyn stint to try out new material. (BAM, 7 p.m.)

Marc Maron

If you don’t know Marc Maron from his “WTF” podcast, you definitely know him from “GLOW.” (The Beacon Theatre, 7:30 p.m.)


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