With over 200 comedians in more than 100 shows over 10 days across five boroughs, the New York Comedy Festival returns Nov. 3-12. Featuring the funniest acts from around the country, it’s a chance to jump from venue to venue to see a mix of established greats alongside rising stars, including some favorites from the Los Angeles comedy scene.
Narrowing down and picking the talent to be involved in a festival this grand isn’t an easy task, but Louis Faranda, the talent executive for the festival, makes it look effortless. “I’m always looking for comedians or shows that are original, something different in a show concept or in a comedian,” he said. Pairing the right comedian with the perfect venue is a skill that Faranda has perfected as well. “It’s an absolutely amazing feeling when we can present 10 days of the best comedy on the planet, presented in the greatest city in the world," he said. "There is nothing like it.”
You can’t really have a proper comedy festival without huge names, and this year delivers heavy hitters like Dave Attell, Anthony Jeselnik, Bill Burr, Michelle Wolf, Jeff Ross and Margaret Cho. This year, Cho will be at Town Hall on Nov. 8, and even after doing it numerous times, she still feels a thrill. “I’m so excited to headline the New York Comedy Festival. My show is a celebration of 40 years of crass and queer jokes in an effort to save drag queens,” she said — a noble endeavor indeed.
Despite being held on the East Coast, this year's festival will have a noticeable L.A. influence. L.A. comedy fans who make the trek to have plenty to laugh about with this top crop of our local and touring comics invading New York. Here are a handful of the best L.A. stand-ups to watch.
Jack Jr. & Steven Ho, “The ASSHO Comedy Tour”
When: Nov. 4, 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Where: Chelsea Music Hall
L.A.’s own Jack Assadourian Jr. and Steven Ho are taking their ASSHO Comedy Tour to the big leagues this year with a headlining date Nov. 4 at Chelsea Music Hall. Whether you know these guys from stand-up or from their viral social media clips, they always draw a diverse crowd, and all subjects are fair game, so everyone is included. If you’re looking for a show to get you into the city early on Saturday, their shows at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. are the perfect kickoff to your weekend. “You’re gonna get your money’s worth. It’s going to be an epic night. It sounds super cheesy, but it’s true,” Assadourian said.
Chad and JT
When: Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Where: the Bell House
Orange County natives Chad Kroeger and JT Parr love repping the 949 and 714 in New York. As a podcast and comedic duo, as well as Borat-style documentarians on Netflix, Chad and JT come prepared to create havoc and catch audiences off-guard wherever they go.
When choosing the venue to headline this year’s NYCF, the guys only had one request. “We asked for a spot that had a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. It's all about Lady Liberty for us,” Kroeger said. “One thing that bummed us out is we couldn't see the Statue of Liberty from the Gramercy Theatre, but we're stoked that Lady Liberty can see us from the Bell House this year.”
NY Comedy Festival X Operation USA Presents: Jiaoying Summers
When: Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
Where: the Apollo Theater
Tickets: the Apollo Theater
L.A.-based comedian, podcaster, mother and Asian Hall of Fame inductee Jiaoying Summers has been blazing trails with her entertaining and uncensored stand-up, and gained fans worldwide with her hit podcast, "Tiger Milf," and by telling us what our American names mean in Chinese. This year at the New York Comedy Festival, Summers will present her biggest show to date at the Apollo Theater. Four years into comedy, anyone would agree that it’s quite an incredible achievement.
“I wanted to headline the Apollo the moment I decided to become a comedian. I want to push myself hard to achieve the impossible," Summers said. "The Apollo is heaven for mega-talent of color, and I'm determined to use my voice to amplify Asian American experiences. I'm proud of myself and I'm pushing boundaries. I'm more than ready.”
Read more: The changing stage of L.A. comedy
New York Comedy Festival Presents: Jade Catta-Preta
When: Nov. 7, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Comedy Collective
Comedian and actress Jade Catta-Preta now calls L.A. home, but back in 2014, she was living in Williamsburg and dove head first into the NYC comedy scene. On Nov. 7, it’s a homecoming as Catta-Preta makes her way back to the city with her headlining show at Brooklyn Comedy Collective.
Catta-Preta's fireball energy delivers loud laughs, dancing, singing, gyrating and serving up humor in two languages — there seems to be nothing this fiery Brazilian can’t do. “I am bringing my new daddy vibes to Brooklyn," Catta-Preta said. "You can expect to laugh, lose yourself and have a magical, visceral experience. Come get some.”
Atsuko Okatsuka: Full Grown Tour
When: Nov. 11, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Where: Town Hall
Recently married for a second time to her husband, Ryan (it’s a long story), L.A.-based Atsuko Okatsuka’s star isn’t just on the rise, it’s fully in the stratosphere. This comedian, actress, writer, fashionista and creator of the “Drop Challenge” is drop dead hilarious, and danced her way into our hearts while simultaneously making bowl cuts cool.
Her debut special, "The Intruder," was named the best debut of 2022 by the New York Times, and with her first show at Town Hall already sold out, her fans definitely know what’s up. “I’m just so happy and honored to be a part of it again, but now at a level where I can reach more folks," Okatsuka said. "It’s some of the best audiences in the world and this is the biggest theater in New York I’ll have sold out (twice) thus far. It’s an honor.”
New York Comedy Festival Presents: Nicky Paris
When: Nov. 11, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Laurie Beechman Theater
Tickets: Sold out
Before moving to L.A. in 2018, Staten Island native Nicky Paris only dreamed of headlining the NYCF. Fast-forward to this year's fest, and that dream is finally a reality. Fresh to stand-up as a teen, his love of Joan Rivers brought him to Laurie Beechman Theater, one of her workout rooms, as an audience member. His talent, passion, sugarcoated spirit and persistence are a few of the reasons he's now headlining a sold-out show on that very stage. “My sold-out NYCF show is going to be the epitome of high-octane comedy meets NYC glamour, and if one person in that room passes gas, we're all going to die,” Paris said.
For fans who missed out on his theater show, you’ll get more chances to see him as he opens for Summers at the Apollo Theater and does sets on Long Time No See Comedy's showcase and on "Paulie's Dinner" at the Cutting Room; he’ll even be hosting on the red carpet. “When I'm not performing, I'm going to be running around interviewing the comedians and stars for the festival's socials, so luckily, I'm going to get to see a lot!” said Paris. “Other than that, my next favorite thing after doing stand-up is sitting and eating.”
Long Time No See Comedy
Tickets: Long Time No See Comedy
Long Time No See has been producing some of the best comedy shows in clubs in and around the L.A. area for years. This “pop-up stand-up comedy venture” also has made its mark nationwide.
With a string of dates that run through NYCF, LTNS is bringing lineups that are going to blow roofs off the Triad Theater, Brooklyn Art Haus, New York Comedy Club and the Delancey. Jam-packed with some of the hottest comics in the game from L.A. and beyond, including Tim Dillon, Rachel Wolfson, Brandi Denise, Jared Freid and Mark Normand, there isn’t one Long Time No See show you could go wrong with.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.