From 2007-2009, Carolines devoted one night per week in March to its own form of "March Madness" as 64 stand-up comedians paired off in timed competitions before a live audience.
That's happening again this coming March, with one major difference. The guys who brought "March Comedy Madness" to Carolines — Bryan Kennedy and Josh Filipowski — have taken their act down from Broadway and Times Square to Comix comedy club in the Meatpacking District. But that's not stopping Carolines, who announced dates for its own "Final Four" competition next month. One part comedy nerd drama, one part good old fashioned business war! It's on.
March Comedy Madness at Comix starts on March 10 and winnows its field from 64 down to four over the course of four Wednesdays. Last year's "Elite Eight" finalists got automatic invites to return (for reference, Myq Kaplan won this contest in 2009 at Carolines, with Reese Waters and Julian McCullough its previous winners), and online votes at Like2Laugh help determine the rest of the field. Host/referee Bryan Kennedy talked a little bit about it after an open call at Comix last month:
As for the Carolines "Final Four," it starts on March 2 and takes place over five consecutive Tuesdays. It'll be hosted by Josh Spear, and its field of 64 also was collected via open call auditions. Here's a quote from the Carolines press release that takes on added meaning once you realize the history. Or not.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre thrilled to launch this exciting new event and are confident that it will generate the same kind of thrills and cheers on the comedy stage as the men‚Äôs college basketball tournament does on the basketball court,‚Äù said Louis Faranda, talent producer for Carolines on Broadway and the New York Comedy Festival and creator of the ‚ÄúCarolines Final Four.‚Äù ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre confident that the ‚ÄòCarolines Final Four‚Äô will quickly grow into one of the city‚Äôs premier annual comedy events.‚Äù
Anyhow. It's a gimmick show that has worked in the past, so it'll be interesting to see if it can work twice in one city at the same time. There certainly are enough aspiring stand-up comedians in this city to make it work.