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Long Island Comedy Festival spreads laughter this summer

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First rule of comedy, Paul Anthony says: "You have to know your audience."

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And what tickles Long Islanders' funny bones? Marriage (divorce), aging, traffic and parking, smart phones, voice mail. Marriage. Aging.

Whatever, the four comedians who brought the 9th Annual Long Island Comedy Festival to Great Neck, Long Island's Gold Coast Arts Center, knew just how to tickle those funny bones, because there were great guffaws and even tears of laughter.

Paul Anthony is a comedian and the producer of the festival, which for the past 9 seasons has been performed mainly in Suffolk, but this season is spreading into Nassau County, with the festival's first appearance in Great Neck, to a packed house at the Gold Coast Arts Center, on Thursday, July 17.

One of the comedians even had direct ties to Great Neck, as he made plainly clear in his bit that had the audience (about one-third from Great Neck) rolling: he worked for a time as a teacher at Great Neck North High School - was "excessed" (fired) - and let his feelings be known about public education and No Child Left Behind (some kids should be left behind, he jokes - trust me, it comes off better, not bitter, by the professional comedian).

That's the story, isn't it - a great comedian can get away with saying things like, "You know how you say, 'Til death do you part?' Death takes forever." Trust me, it is hysterical when it comes from Maria Walsh, who is billed as "America's Nastiest Mom." Her talent is that she can get away with anything, even ribbing the couple, married 61 years, in the front row, for their longevity in life and marriage.

The headliner for the night was Chris Roach, who is coming out with his own documentary about comedians, "Umbrellas Kill: The Movie." (It may well be on the schedule for the upcoming Gold Coast International Film Festival in the fall.).

Chris Roach, who stands 6'6" tall, uses his height in his routine, bringing you into his everyday life from that lofty vantage point. One of his funny bits had to do with getting a massage, and you know where you put your face, and how at some point you kind of sink into it? "I had flashbacks of childbirth."

In addition to his stand-up comedy, Chris has been featured in several TV commercials including one he did for Cablevision (he was the green pixel).

Paul Anthony can be found performing at comedy clubs in NYC and on Long Island where he's a regular at the new Comedy Club @ Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. His observational humor about everyday life reminds you of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up.

Remaining shows include:

Friday, July 25, 8:30 pm. Featuring: Keith Anthony, Rob Falcone, Chris Davis, John Santo and Maria Walsh. Hosted by Paul Anthony. Bellmore Theater, 222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore, 516-783-7200

Saturday, July 26, 8:30 pm. Featuring: Paul Anthony, Joey Giarratano, Stevie G.B. Plus Surprise Guest Comedians Too! Martha Clara Vineyards, 6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, 631-298-0075

Friday, August 1, 8:00 pm. Featuring: The Bob Nelson Show - Comedian Bob Nelson LIVE! Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson, 631-928-9100

Saturday, August 2, ​8:00 pm. Featuring: Kevin Meaney, Stevie G.B. & Frankie Pace. Gateway Playhouse, 215 South Country Road, Bellport, 631-286-1133

Saturday, August 2, ​8:00 pm, Featuring: Tom Gilmore, Maria Walsh, Isaacs & Baker and Paul Anthony. The Berkshire Comedy Festival, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230, 413-528-0100

Saturday, August 9, 8:00 pm, Featuring: Isaacs & Baker (Voted Best Improv Duo!), Maria Walsh, and more comedians to be announced soon. Hosted by Paul Anthony. Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main Street, Port Washington, 516-767-6444.

Saturday, August 16, 8:30 pm, Lineup to be announced. Country Fair Entertainment Park, 3351 Route 112, Medford, 6310732-0579

Friday, August 22, 8:00 pm, Featuring: Eric Haft, Teddy Smith & Moody McCarthy. Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson, 631-928-9100

Saturday, August 23, 8:00 pm. Featuring: Comic line-up to be announced soon. Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson, 631-928-9100

Saturday, September 20, 7:00 pm, Featuring: Maria Walsh, Bill McCarty, Richie Byrne and host Paul Anthony. Melville Fire Department Hose Company #2 Adult Comedy Night. Hilton Long Island, 598 Broadhollow Road, Melville, 631-423-2635.

For more information, Long Island Comedy Festival, Email:, Phone: 646-584-7340,

Karen Rubin, Long Island Eclectic Travel Examiner


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