Last week the Brooklyn Comedy Festival filled Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s bars and music venues with top names in both local and big-time comedy. It was the festival’s third year to take over our hilarious borough, and we caught up with one of the founders, Chris Nester, to see how things went and what goes into making the fest a success.
Greenpointers: So, the festival is over! How’d it go?
Chris Nester: Oh my god it’s over? Really?! How did it go? JUST KIDDING…We’re really happy with how this year’s festival went. We were trying to pull off a lot, and I think we did it without letting anyone know how tired we were.
GP: I don’t know about that. You look pretty awful.
CN: They sent a comic to do the interview. Perfect.
GP: (Sorry). What made you decide to start the Brooklyn Comedy Festival in the first place?
CN: Julian [Kiani] and I were performing and going to shows in Brooklyn every night. We saw that something special was happening in NYC comedy, and that it was happening in Brooklyn. One night after a show, we had a candid conversation that basically went, “Is there a Brooklyn comedy festival?” “No, I don’t think there is…” “That’s crazy. We should start that.” Then we pitched it to Ashleigh [Walker], our producer, and less than a year later we had the first Brooklyn Comedy Festival.
GP: How long have you been in Brooklyn?
CN: I’ve lived in Brooklyn for six years. Moved here Sept. 10, 2010.
GP: Have you seen a change in the Brooklyn comedy scene since you moved here?
CN: Mostly, I’ve just seen it grow – not only in the amount of performers getting up every night in BK, but also in the number of shows happening and the number of people coming to watch those shows. In many ways, the festival has grown with the scene and the borough, and I think that has helped us a lot.
GP: Your team works out of the Pencil Factory in Greenpoint. What made you choose that space as a home base?
CN: Free coffee.
GP: Sounds about right. What’s your favorite place to watch comedy in Greenpoint?
CN: I am a huge fan of the show Broken Comedy that happens at Bar Matchless every Monday night. They’ve tapped into something there – there’s always a good crowd and a full room, and the line-ups are always killer. It’s FREE. It’s become a great Monday night spot for comics to hit before they run off to Whiplash or wherever, and also for comics to hang if they’re done for the night.
GP: What’s Whiplash?
CN: It’s a great showcase at UCB’s mainstage every Monday night. Also free.
GP: Back to the festival: What venues were added this year that weren’t a part last year?
CN: We had a few this year… Bell House, Threes Brewing, Dizzy’s Backroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg… As the scene continues evolving, with certain weekly [and] monthly shows ending and new shows always popping up, I think we’ll have new venues every year. A lot of our new venues are for shows that already exist and we attach to the festival.
GP: Did you notice a difference in the turnout this year?
CN: Every year we add more shows and bigger venues…it’s amazing that every year people continue to pack out almost every single show. It blows my mind, every single year.
GP: There were some big names on the roster like Reggie Watts and Vanessa Bayer, to name a couple. How do you get the larger acts on the lineup?
CN: I’ll just say that we have a lot of friends doing amazing things in comedy, and sometimes the stars align and we get to work together.
GP: Can we be friends?
CN: I sent you a friend request like five min before this interview even started, soooooo ball’s in your court.
GP: Score. What would you say is the biggest factor in the success of the festival?
CN: One huge factor in our festival’s success is the growth of its namesake borough. There are so many more people in Brooklyn now, and that mixed with the comedy boom we’re currently living in… I think people wanted this type of festival and they’re responding to it. We also work our asses off year-in and year-out to put on a good festival.
GP: Reggie is magic. So, what are your plans for the future of the festival?
CN: 1.) To make sure Trump doesn’t get elected….not sure how but we’re really working hard on that.
2.) That’s a tough question, and we try to make changes every year based on what we’ve seen and learned from the year before so we’re kind of just starting to look at next year. Our main goal has always been to lift up our scene, its fans and performers however we can, so we’re going to try and continue to do that as best we can.
Check out the Brooklyn Comedy Festival on places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for highlights from this year and info on the next!
This Sunday the Brooklyn Comedy Festival kicks off for the third year in a row, this year with plenty of hilarious stand-up, sketch, improv, panel discussions, short films, and an evening with Reggie Watts. For $99 you can get a VIP pass to hit up all the shows all week, tickets to special parties including food and booze, entry into the pool at the new William Vale Hotel, and more. If rollin’ that fancy isn’t your style, many of the shows are free or less than $10 if you buy in advance. After the jump, check out our roundup of everything happening for the fest in North Brooklyn!
There’s something about the segment of Driggs Avenue between N 10th and N 11th streets that attracts a different type of business from other blocks in the area.
First came Fushimi, a super-sized, super-shiny sushi joint that boasts the lingering spirit of a 90s lounge bar. Now, on the opposite side of the street there has sprung up a new mega-restaurant called MP Taverna, the fourth in a string of Greek establishments of the same name, spear-headed by celebrity chef Michael Psilakis.
Psilakis has become known for his appearances on a host of cooking shows such as Iron Chef America and Ultimate Recipe Showdown, but his real kudos came about in 2008 when a Michelin star was awarded to Anthos, an upmarket restaurant he started in midtown Manhattan.
Seven years on and Psilakis is bringing his celebrated Greek food to Brooklyn. Less high-end than Anthos, MP Taverna aims to provide a contemporary take on the traditional Greek tavern, with a focus on mezze dishes that can be shared family style.
Next door to MP Taverna is Psilakis’ next venture called ‘The Hall Brooklyn‘, a giant events venue whose recent opening heralded a flashy party, complete with cordoned-off entrance line and bouncers with earpieces. Continue reading →
A cool new web series called Barmaids hit the Internet last month. You should check it out. Coming from the creative team of Anna Callegari, Caralyn Stone (who both star in the series) and Brett Haley (who directs), this series looks into the life of two female bartenders. Continue reading →
St. Stan’s Athletic League Baseball Team Sign Up @ St. Stan’s Gym (189 Driggs Ave) 2-3pm, Sunday 3/16, $100 (covers sign up fee and uniform), Bring your 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to try out for the Screamin’ Eagles baseball team, which will compete in the Brooklyn Diocese Spring Baseball League season from early April through early June, for more info contact althetic director Daniel Bernatowicz (dbernatowicz [at] gmail [dot] com)
WEDNESDAY 3/12 ♦ OMG #Webcats Art Show Opening @ Dandelion Wine (153 Franklin St) 7-9pm, FREE, Join webcat creator Scott Chase for a celebration of his new works, one of which is most definitely cats protruding from a man’s beard, RSVP • BK: You Sure Know A Lot About Baseball For A Girl with Caryn Rose and Friends @ WORD (126 Franklin St) 7pm, FREE, Talk baseball with author Caryn Rose upon publication of her new book A Whole New Ballgame, RSVP ♫ Imperial Topaz Record Release Show @ Death By Audio (49 S. 2nd St) 8pm, $7, celebrate the debut Imperial Topaz LP with Hex Breaker Quartet / Jerry Paper / Seth Graham, RSVP
THURSDAY 3/13 # Grand Opening Party @ Dirck the Norseman (7 N 15th St) 3-5pm, Celebrate the grand opening of this new gastropub with in-house brewed beers on tap as well as pub eats like candied bacon wedge salad • EL GARDEN Fundraiser @ Tradesman (222 Bushwick Ave) 7pm-12am, Support the new community garden at 120 Jefferson with great raffle prizes from Bushwick’s best restaurants & bars, RSVP * Dog Habitat Fundraiser @ Rosamunde’s (285 Bedford Ave) 7:30-10pm, Free w/ Donation, Drink Ave Cider, eat sausages, and enter the silent auction to win prizes, all while support rescued pups in need of a home, RSVP ♫ Porches / Downies / Little Big League @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow St, Bushwick) 8pm, $8, RSVP Continue reading →
(sponsored) Carnival Concert @ Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) Sunday 2/23, 3pm, $25/$15 students/seniors. If you’re into classical music at an authentic Greenpoint venue, then don’t miss this! String players from the NY Philharmonic & international opera soloists perform the music of Lehar, J.Strauss, Donizetti, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, Oginsky and Jotejko, not to mention a 30 voice choir sings Handel’s “Hallelujah,” PLUS Polish American Folk Dancers, in traditional costume perform “Oginski Polonaise,” Buy Tix
V-Day can be the biggest bitch. She sneaks up on you when you’re single and alone and reminds you to cancel the couples massage appointment you never made.
Even when you’re in a relationship, the holiday just puts more pressure on you to do some sweeping romantic gesture that says “I’ll love you forever” like gifting that special someone a bag of heart candies on a rooftop in Paris or proposing to your significant other with 15 French Bull Dogs and heart balloons in the park.
So for those of you watching The Notebook and crying today, I present the web series, Love’s a Bitch, for your anti-Valentines viewing pleasure. Continue reading →
WEDNESDAY 1/15 * Natural Makeup Class @ Brooklyn Groove (102 B Nassau Ave) 6-8:30pm, FREE, learn tips and tricks to create a flawless makeup routine that highlights your natural beauty, More Info ♦ Comic Book Night @ WORD (126 Franklin St) 7-8pm, Get the inside scoop on the comic world with experts Sean Howe (Marvel Comics: The Untold Story) and Time Leong (Super Graphic) with a signing and Q&A, RSVP ☺ Daniel Koren: The Most Important Thing @ The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave) 8-9pm, $10, composer Daniel Koren’s one-man show features piano tunes accompanies by projected figures, paired with stream of consciousness in this bizarre fusion of music and comedy, More Info
♫ Belly Fire / Hard Nips / Roth Bart Baron @ Glasslands (289 Kent) 8:30pm, $10, RSVP ♫ Endless Boogie / Hans Chew / Syphilitic Lust / Ryan Sawyer @ Union Pool (484 Union Ave) 9pm, $9, RSVP
THURSDAY 1/16 ☺ Split Personality: Storytelling and Character Open Mic @ Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) 7-8pm, FREE, Put your name in a hat for a chance to perform a 5 minute story or character sketch, with special guest performers Leslie Meisel (30 Rock, Bachlorette) and Ben Rameaka (UCB, Wolf of Wall St) ♫ Prism House / Foxes in Fiction / Daytona / XNY / Palehound @ Spike Hill (184 Bedford) 7pm, FREE, More Info ♦ Uta Brauser– Human Matter @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave) 7-10pm, Opening Reception for the artist’s collection of line drawings, which explore the nature of matter and the traces of cell life * Beauty Beyond Boundaries @ Villain (50 N 3rd St) 9pm-1am, FREE, Get free cocktails (until 11pm) in exchange for being marketing targets for the new Ricoh Theta spherical camera (which actually looks pretty fun anyway), featuring art installations, live painting, music from Kaoru Wantabe & Motions, a tap-dance bit from Tamango, and DJs all night, plus you get a camera to play with for the evening, RSVP Continue reading →
Are you a freelancer, co-worker, artist, work from hom-er, unemployed? Or maybe you just hate your job. No office? No problem! Just because aren’t chained to a desk doesn’t mean you should let the midtown drone/zombie/suits of the world have all the fun this holiday season.
(It’s not in Greenpoint, but it’s just off the G and worth the trip!)
We’ll have all the trappings of a holiday affair — live-band karaoke from Bunnie England & The New Originals, dance tunes from DJs Brian Blackout & Spoolwork (Head On, YDH2S) and Mr. Nyse, a FREE photo booth by Marofoto, food and a holiday gift items raffle — and some too-cool-for-cubicle bonuses including $3 punch for the first hour ($5 after), sexy Santa and lady Santa, a set from the ladies of Handjob Academy and a special guest comedian!
Come join your favorite blogs and dance like your boss isn’t watching all night long.
Hosted by Jo Firestone, co-creator of Punderdome 3000 and the Tiny Comedy Club.