First NYC Improv Festival, fourth annual Women in Comedy Festival, begin tonight

If you’re in Boston or New York City this week, then you can join in the fun as two different comedy festivals kick off tonight and run through the weekend.

The PIT hosts the first-ever NYC Improv Festival from March 21-24. Festival organizers have described their mission:

“Over the past fifteen years the improv community in New York City has grown from humble beginnings to one of the premiere cities for improvisation and sketch comedy.  With three long-form improv theaters boasting some of the best improvisers and sketch performers in the country, our local improv community offers a uniquely diverse and exciting comedy scene featuring a wide variety of comedic styles and philosophies.  To showcase this, the New York City Improv Festival was created. It will be a festival that not only celebrates this diversity of talent but also fosters a link between improvisers in New York City with improvisers from all over the world, as well as members of the entertainment industry at large.”

In addition to live performances each night at The PIT — which does include improv troupes from other cities, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston and elsewhere — the fest also offers a selection of improv comedy workshops. Thursday’s schedule includes an all-star improv team with The PIT’s founder (and former UCB original player), Ali Reza Farahnakian, alongside Rachel Dratch, Scott Adsit, Eugene Mirman and surprise co-stars.

There’s also a free improv comedy symposium where the following class leaders will any questions you may have about the art form:

Megan Grey – Magnet Artistic Director
Scott Eckert – PIT Performer and teacher
Ari Voukydis – UCB Performer and teacher
Peter McNerney – Magnet/Story Pirates – Performer/Associate Artistic Director
Jodi Lennon – Second City, Annoyance Theater and iO.
Ashely Ward – PIT/UCB Performer and teacher

Speaking of Boston, the fourth annual Women in Comedy Festival starts tonight and runs through Sunday, with most shows across the Charles River in Cambridge. The festival naturally celebrates women in comedy, with an emphasis on showcasing the Boston comedy scene, but the schedule also includes male comedians, improv, sketch, panels and workshops. This year’s national headliners are Carol Leifer and Wendy Liebman.

Longtime Boston TV reporter/critic Joyce Kulhawik also will moderate a free panel discussion on Saturday afternoon about women in entertainment, featuring Leifer, Liebman, Erin Jackson, Kelly MacFarland and Erin Judge.

So get out there and support some live comedy this week!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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