The Long Island Comedy Festival, which won a thumbs-up from Newsday in 2009, sends laughing fits rippling through southeastern New York with showcases of some of the area's most accomplished comedians. The namesake festival spreads out across Long Island every summer, landing at venues that might range from an old-fashioned playhouse to a family amusement park. Many alumni return to perform year after year, making for a festive atmosphere that executive producer Paul Anthony likens to "a comedy party that the audience members have been invited to," rather than one that they sadly listen to through the floorboards. During the rest of the year, the organizers stay busy producing comedy series at other historic venues and exporting their team of comics to college shows.
Haft2Laugh Comedy Productions, helmed by New York native Eric Haft, beckons comedians from the tri-state area to Hotel Indigo East End’s stage to ignite thunderous guffaws. Haft steers the night into funny-bone-tickling territory with his unique blend of comedy and theater, cracking up audiences with standup bits that have included impersonations of Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro acting in Shakespearean plays. Fellow laugh magnets Jim Gallagher, who has appeared on MTV and Comedy Central, Rich Walker, voted Best Comedian on Long Island by Best of LI 2012, and Stevie GB join the night's reverie, along with an unknown roster of surprise guests. Between chuckle fits and slapping strangers’ knees, audience members sip from glasses of wine to help loosen their diaphragms for more contagious laughter.
In the 74 years between the Paramount Theatre's opening night, when people used to line up to see “talkies” for 50 cents, and 2002, when it was voted Best Mainstage Theatre in a Seattle Weekly Reader's Poll, the palatial venue faded and decayed alongside its Roaring Twenties brethren throughout America. Luckily, former Microsoft Vice President Ida Cole saved it from the rubble heap in the mid-‘90s when she established the Seattle Landmark Association and vowed to render the Paramount "kissable" once again.
Over the course of seven months, the renovation crew expanded the size of the stage wings to accommodate more ambitious live productions. They also cleared decades of grime from the french baroque plaster reliefs, uncovering long-forgotten designs and causing only one long-dormant horror to snap open its eyes dramatically. They also replaced the gold leaf in the floral designs of the wall medallions, repainted all the surfaces in their original 16 colors, and scrubbed each of the 1.6 million crystal beads in the chandelier by hand with a toothbrush. The original Knabe Ampico player piano was returned to its spot on the four-tiered lobby's lush carpeting, and a 21st-century sound system now shares sonic space with the thundering, luminous sonority of the Paramount's fully restored Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Though the Paramount's calendar runs the gamut from rock concerts to standup comedy to Broadway musicals on the scale of Wicked, its decadent Beaux Arts trappings transport audiences to the days when reality was still black and white.
More than a dozen times?that's how often Treehouse Comedy Productions has been voted the "Best Comedy Showcase" by the readers of?Fairfield County Weekly. As the first full-time comedy showcase in Connecticut, Treehouse Comedy Productions has curated stunning selections of world-class standups for more than three decades. The heavy hitters in the Treehouse family tree include Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Gilbert Gottfried, and Jerry Seinfeld, who once bid farewell to standup at Treehouse gig just before his TV show,?That's So Jerry!, became a hit. With roving locations at area restaurants, casinos, and bars, the arbiters of spit-takes continue to cull the sharpest cut-ups in the country for weekly showcases.
Stamford's Palace Theatre's opened its doors in 1927 as a 1,580-seat vaudeville house, designed by acclaimed architect Thomas Lamb. In 1983, the venue began a new life when crews rehabbed the building and live performers once again graced the s