Jersey comedians shoot for comedy record
With many comedy clubs closed or running light due to the pandemic, more and more comics are turning to podcast to get their funny out. Two such comics, Richie Byrne and Mark Riccadonna are taking their "Drinks, Jokes, and Storytelling" podcast to Twitch in a big way. They are attempting to break the world record for a standup comedy show and raise money for two charities.
The "comedython" will launch Jan. 22 at noon until Jan. 25 at midnight.
Among the comedians who will be performing include Jersey's own Julia Scotti, Dena Blizzard, Jessica Kirson, Judah Friedlander, Sam Morril, Kurt Metzger, Anthony Rodia, Rachel Feinstein, Bobby Collins, Tony Woods, Mike Vecchione, Rich Vos, Adam Ferrara, Jaime Kennedy and Tony V, plus 200 National Touring Headliners.
The idea was the brain trust of show producer Tom Bannis, who tells me via email:
"We were trying to adapt to the current situation with clubs and stages being closed throughout the world we made our way to a virtual platform and started connecting with fellow professional comedians on our podcast."
He went on to say, "We thought what better way to go give comedians the mic and ability to connect with fans while raising money for some incredible children’s charities which also could not have live events to raise funds. So to launch our twitch channel that gives comedians a space to connect directly with fans and provide quality content. What better way to bond than sharing some drinks jokes and stories setting a world record."
Part of the proceeds will go to two different charities Star Treatments and Children's Brain Tumor Foundation.
"Star Treatment is an organization that provides a VIP transportation experience to medical facilities for children receiving ongoing medical care, startreatments.org," Bannis said. "It was started by Matthew Diritto, the bassist of Pop Evil, and he along with other rock stars, may pop in time and time again throughout the show to laugh and cheer on the comedians that are on. I am a proud member of their board."
"The other is the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, cbtf.org. Performing with us, a survivor of a brain tumor is one of their board members, Kyle Kratzke."
Viewers will be asked to donate throughout this three-day happening. Half of all money raised will go towards two charities that are unable to run the traditional fundraisers they so desperately need to operate during this unique time. The other half of the funds brought in will be split among all of the participating comics equally, as we all recognize the current state of events that has hindered so many of us from practicing our craft in a live event environment.
Comics, like musicians, are having a tough time surviving in this pandemic that we're living in. They are their own business and like many businesses in New Jersey, they're either shutdown or trying to hang.
Due to the low attendance allowed at the comedy clubs that actually are open, they are forced to work for much less money. Richie Byrne says, "It’s impossible! Comedy, in its purest sense, involves the audience more than any other art form I can think of. Zoom shows are nice and maybe you can make a couple of dollars but the give and take between a comic and audience is so important in stand up!"
"Doing a show from your living room while some guy is doing the dishes as he watches you just doesn’t cut it. I think that’s why the few shows I have done in person since the pandemic began have been so rewarding. The audience is so happy to be out and seeing a show the vibe has been astounding. Unfortunately, those shows have been few and far between because of all the rules for social distancing."
The fact that these great comedians who are working for so much less than they're used to are still out raising money for charity really says something.
To see "Drinks, Jokes, and Storytelling," click here.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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