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Big Names Take Stage, Up-And-Coming Comics Square Off at NYCF

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If you love to laugh, get ready for the New York Comedy Festival. Some of the biggest names in comedy will take to the stage the first week in November. There will also be some up-and-coming talent trying to prove their stuff. NY1's Stephanie Simon introduces us to some comics competing to be crowned New York's Funniest.

A good comedian will do just about anything for the laugh.

"The other day I walked into a store the other day and I saw two other fat bearded guys and the minute I walked in they both nodded at me at the same time,” said comedian Sean Donnelly.

Donnelly is one of more than a dozen comics from across the country competing in the New York's Funniest competition at Caroline's On Broadway. Donnelly has an interesting plan to win over the audience during the semi-finals.

"When interacting with the crowd I usually make fun of what they look like right off the bat even though because I’m an Adonis. I don’t know if you can tell,” he said.

The finals take place Saturday November 8th as part of the New York Comedy Festival. Both are organized by Caroline's On Broadway.

"We jam-pack 60 shows from you know, from Wednesday to Sunday, November 5th through the 9th, so that’s a lot of comedy,” said co-owner of Caroline’s Caroline Hirsch.

And this competition is a big deal.

"Two years ago Michael Che won this. Now Michael Che went on the be a host of and a Daily Show commentator and now he’s also on SNL,” said Hirsch.

Leah Bonnema hopes to kill, but knows what to do if the laughs don't come.

"You know sometimes I used to try and fake it and be like ‘this is going fine we’re going to keep going,’ but I feel like if you stop and you’re like ‘Oh, you hate me let’s talk about this,’ it’s so much, everybody relaxes and they’re like ‘Okay, she gets it’ and then you can sort of move forward,” said Bonnema.

Gary Vider tries to contain his enthusiasm on stage and off.

"To have the opprtunity to prove yourself is just exciting,” said Vider.

Of course it's been said many times and the folks here say it's true, there is nothing is harder than comedy.

"I'm short. I'm 5-foot-6. A lot of women can't look past that. Well they can because I'm 5-foot-6,” said Vider.

For more on the New York's Funniest competition and the full Festival schedule go online to ClientIP:,,, UserAgent: NING/1.0 Profile: TWCSAMLSP