FEST: This Weekend’s Woodstock Comedy Festival

September 17th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg

There’s plenty of funny stuff going on around Woodstock this weekend, as the third annual Woodstock Comedy Festival takes over the town with a three-day celebration featuring stand-up comedians, films, panel discussions and parties. And while there promises to be boatloads of giggles and guffaws, the fest is also benefit for two charities that are no laughing matter – Family of Woodstock (for survivors of domestic violence) and Polaris (for human trafficking).

The festival opens at 8pm on Friday (September 18) with “Laughingstock! A Night of Stand-up and Improv Comedy” at the Kleinert-James Art Center. Hosted by Jo Firestone, the show features stand-up from Robert Dean, Brendan Eyre, Megan Gailey, Jeffrey Joseph, Cynthia Kaplan, Audrey Rapoport and Shane Torres, as well as Gregory Joseph (the runner-up of the inaugural “New Faces of Comedy” competition). Tickets are $20. Immediately following the show, eatery Cucina will host the opening night VIP celebration. Tickets are $20.

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On Saturday (September 19), a series of daytime panel discussions begins at 12:30pm at the Kleinert-James Art Center with “Joan Rivers: A Tribute” featuring Rivers’s longtime writer and friend Hester Mundis, producer Ed Berenhaus, comedian Audrey Rapoport and a film montage of Rivers’s funniest moments. The afternoon of panels continues at 2pm with “George Carlin: Growing Up Funny,” including Carlin’s brother Patrick Carlin and Janna Ritz, daughter of Harry Ritz of the Ritz Brothers. Shane Torres, Megan Dailey, Robert Dean, Helene Angley and Gregory Joseph participate in the final panel of the day, “The Life of a Stand-up” (3:30pm), giving the audience no-holds-barred insight into what life is really like on the road, in the green room, and in the spotlight as a professional comedian. Tickets for the panel discussions are $10 each.

The laughs continue at 7:30pm Saturday with the festival’s headline show, “Woodstock Comedy Festival Presents Robert Klein,” at the Bearsville Theater. The veteran Grammy, Tony and Emmy-nominated comedian and actor will be accompanied by acclaimed musician Bob Stein. Opening the show is self-described stressed-out mom—comedian-author Karen Bergreen. Tickets are $25, $45 & $75. The show will be followed by an after-party at the Bearsville Complex’s newest restaurant, the Commune Saloon. Tickets are $20.

On Sunday (September 20) the funny stuff moves over to Woodstock’s Upstate Films for a 12:30pm screening of Jason Kovacsev & Matt Mamula’s documentary feature “Just About Famous,” a film that examines the world of celebrity impersonators. Tickets are $10. At 3pm, the fest concludes with the Short Film Showcase of nine short films including Trevor Williams’ “Modern Dating: A Silent Film,” the grand prize winner of the inaugural Funny Eye competition and a filmmaker Q&A session. Tickets are $10.

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2015:
FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/18-20/15
Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, 9/18&19/15
LarkFest @ Lark Street, Albany, 9/19/15, FREE
Jazz at the Lake @ Shepard Park, Lake George, 9/19&20/15, FREE
American Music Festival for the Lake @ Wood Park, Lake George, 9/26-27/15
Bridge Jazz Festival @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy) and Massry Center for the Arts (Albany, 2/26&27/16