Get ready to laugh your “ahem” off. The Woodstock Comedy Festival kicks off on Friday, September 15, for a three-day weekend full of folly, all to benefit two agencies that work for the betterment of female survivors of domestic violence.
Caroline Rhea hosts “Laughingstock” that night at the Bearsville Theater, featuring three female stand-up comedians. The rest of the weekend’s events include a panel of comedy professionals who will choose funny scenes from movies and act them out, shows by comedians Mario Cantone and Eddie Brill, film screenings, and “Five Minutes of Fame” — a stand-up contest that may just uncover the next comedy superstar. Throughout the weekend, local merchants will participate in “Our Economy is a Joke,” where patrons can purchase items by telling a joke.
Net profits from the festival go to human-services agency Family of Woodstock, which has been providing shelters, food pantries, domestic violence services, and more to the community since 1970; and to Polaris, an agency that fights human trafficking.
“We are excited to again be a recipient of the Woodstock Comedy Festival proceeds,” says Michael Berg, executive director of Family of Woodstock, Inc. “The funds have allowed us to cover client costs that no funding source will pay for. Attending a festival committed to joy and humor is such a wonderful way to support a critical need, and we are very appreciative of being part of the success of this comedy event.”
The festival was the brainchild of executive director, Chris Collins. Not too long after he conceived the idea, he had a crew of theater, television, and stage professionals volunteering, says Sheila Isenberg, media director and Collins’ wife. “It’s been successful ever since,” she says. “It was serendipitous that we live in a town with very creative people.”
“It’s good to laugh, right?” she emphasizes. “That’s our mission in life, to make people laugh!”