Ever find yourself looking for something to do locally on a weekend (that doesn’t involve waiting on a line for a bar?)
A few weeks ago that exact scenario played itself out and this time, Netflix didn’t win.
After thinking a comedy show might be a nice change, I’d decided to google shows in Manhattan assuming going across the river was our best bet. By the time I started looking (Saturday night at 7…) each had a cover charge and most were sold out.
Then I remembered flyers around town for the Hoboken Comedy Festival. My husband and I googled it and as luck would have it, there was a show two blocks away at Birch. The fact that we could pay at the door, coupled with the fact that we could potentially try out the massive milkshakes that have been flooding my Instagram feed, was enough to sell us.
(Bonus non-gluttonous milkshake related points: we read that some of the proceeds went to the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City).
I’m glad we went - the showcase featured a mix of different comedians, each with their own style. None of them held back and each of them were able to capture the full room’s attention. It was a great turnout too.
Since I had such a good time I was excited to learn more about the festival itself. To get this info, I reached out to the founder, Dan Frigolette.
What made you bring comedy to Hoboken?
The nature of the Hoboken population is such that people merely travel to the manhattan and back and use the town for living and occasionally eating. This made it increasingly difficult to make an event that Hobokeners would pay attention to. The solution was a complete and total town takeover and bombardment of talent over seven days. Hoboken has an ever changing identity and I wanted to be part of this town's entertainment legacy. I think we've accomplished that.
If you had to make a distinction, what would you say is the difference between the Hoboken Comedy Festival and other comedy shows?
Well It's more like 12 or 14 shows, with no repeat performances, all raising money for a great cause. You're talking 85 of the best comedians all in one place for one week.
What’s changed from the first show in year 1 to the most recent in year 8? What are your plans for next year?
Talent and the scope of comedy has changed so much over the years; the Top Tier of Comedy has grown so drastically and the beginner level has seen a resurgence. Oddly enough the middle class of comedy has somehow shrunken. So how that relates to an event like this? Huge names that we've gotten in the past are now being given larger and larger opportunities, which makes it harder for those talents to commit to a 100 seat show in Hoboken. Not having a 2,000 room anywhere in Hoboken is the only thing stopping us from attracting talent that can play to that size crowd. We've grown and changed and adapted with the town, the venues, and community. Each year we take a few more risks hoping they'll pay off. We keep reinventing the outdoor performance in the anticipation of having a full weekend of day and night events and we accomplished that this year with the Sunday Block Party.
I see people can apply for the show online -for the most part, how do you get comedians?
The application is for New Talent. We have 24-50 coveted spots on the fest that can lead to future work, not to mention, fun performances on sold out shows. Everyone else on the festival is comedians in the industry that are making an impact in NYC and beyond. We've had our finger on the pulse of comedy for years with most of our past lineups now making huge leaps in the entertainment industry. We pride ourselves on putting up the funniest folks.
Looking for more local events? Check out the link here.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Sound off in the comments with something you’re looking to hear more about in the area. Let us look into it for you, who knows...it may already be out there!
Megan Levy works for Wellness Amplified, where she helps clients develop and execute campaigns with online Influencers. In Megan's free time she enjoys writing, experimental attempts at cooking, and developing her amateur photography skills. Her writing has been featured in Social Media Week, Social Media Today, and Brides.
Photos provided by Hoboken Comedy Festival