After a last October, the Hoboken Comedy Festival returns this weekend for a second year.
Comedian and Hoboken resident Dan Frigolette founded the festival last year to establish what he declared to be Hoboken's “entertainment independence.” According to Frigolette, for one weekend Hobokenites won't have to leave town to see top-flight comedy.
The festival begins Friday night with a 10 p.m. show at the that will feature headliner Godfrey, the single-named former commercial spokesman for 7-Up, plus two comics with credits on MTV, Thomas Dale and Yannis Pappas, and Frigolette himself.
There will be two shows on Saturday. The first, 7:30pm at , features Chris Distefano, Seaton Smith, Ardie Fuqua and headliner Amy Schumer. Schumer has appeared on Last Comic Standing and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Hannibal Burress headlines the second Saturday show, 10pm at Clearview. He has written for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock and will soon tape a special for Comedy Central.
“I've done a couple of shows in Hoboken before,” Buress said. “It's been fun. People like comedy there, so there should be shows there.“
Joining Buress will be Miguel Dalmau, Nate Bargatze and Hoboken resident Maddog Mattern, who has been appeared on Howard Stern's radio show.
The festival closes Sunday night with a 7:30pm show at Maxwell's with headliner Todd Barry and opening performances from Myq Kaplan, Andrew Schulz and Leah Bonnema. Bonnema was recently touted as a favorite comedian by the Huffington Post.
Schumer, Mattern, Bargatze and Barry appeared at the festival last year. Frigolette said he is happy to have them back, and that they return with higher profiles.
“I feel like the talent is growing,” Frigolette said. “Their talent is growing, but they still signed back on.”
Bargatze recently appeared on Conan O'Brien's show, and the irreverent Schumer has been generating buzz for her set on the Comedy Central roast of Charlie Sheen. She will also appear in a forthcoming movie starring Steve Carrell.
With frequent appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and a recurring character on the FX network's critically acclaimed comedy Louie, Barry is the festival's biggest name. He has performed at Maxwell's several times before and commended Frigolette for organizing the festival.
“Why not have a comedy festival in Hoboken?” Barry said. “It was a good time last year, a good crowd.”
The festival this year will have a charity component. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Hudson County Boys and Girls Club.
While the festival last year was spread over four days and three venues, this year it is condensed into three nights and two locations, though with the same number of shows and comedians. Frigolette dropped his original plan to stage eight shows this year.
“We're not there yet,” he said.
Frigolette said he wants to test this year the feasibility of scheduling two shows in one night. If it works this year he hopes to do the same over four nights next year.
Despite the growing pains, Frigolette said he is hoping the festival will leave a lasting impression on the city.
“I want this to be something to exist for years, and for people to have this view that the festival is part of Hoboken,” he said. “I want people to ask, 'hey, when's this year's Hoboken Comedy Festival?'”
The second annual Hoboken Comedy Festival runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, including on how to purchase tickets, click here.