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EntertainmentLong Island

5th Annual LI Comedy Festival kicks off

Comedian John Larocchia, a retired NYFD fireman, will

Comedian John Larocchia, a retired NYFD fireman, will perform at the 5th Annual Long Island Comedy Festival, June 26-Aug. 28 at various Long Island venues. Credit: None

More than 50 comedians - from a "naughty" mother to a boy-next-door type - are set to perform stand-up this summer at the Fifth Annual Long Island Comedy Festival.

The comedians, a mix of local acts and more well-known performers who work the national comedy circuit, will hit the stage in six Long Island communities over the next two months. Each show will feature a handful of comedians; the lineup will be different at each venue.

As with any stand-up act, the key to getting laughs is knowing your audience, says festival founder and host Paul Anthony. In short, this is not New York City.


"Some say that Long Island crowds are the hardest," says Maria Walsh, 42, who calls herself "America's naughtiest mommy." But as a native of Ridge, "I know what works and what makes us tick." Walsh will perform Saturday, the festival's opening night, at Meehan's of Huntington.

Fellow comedian Randy Levin says, "My humor is slanted toward being a neurotic New York Jew, but there is that twinge of anger that works when you are on Long Island or in the city." Levin, 51, is a professional writer who grew up in Oceanside and lives in East Meadow. He will appear in Huntington this weekend as well.


For Deer Park comedian Rich Walker, the difference between performing in New York City and out around Long Island lies in the approach.

"If a Long Island comedian is telling a story about his wife, they will have a laugh every 15 seconds," says Walker, 46. "In the city, they tend to be more long-winded and have a big punch-line at the end." Walker will appear Saturday as part of the festival's lineup in Montauk.


When it comes to comedy, getting the audience to relate is what gets the biggest laughs, says Carie Karavas, 45, of Bethpage. The comedian, who owns a Greek cafe in Merrick, also will be featured at Saturday's Montauk show.

"You have a certain kind of lingo that you use with your home people," she says. "You can say 'Ikea.'

5th Annual LI Comedy Festival

Admission: $20-60

When I Where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Meehan's of Huntington, 371 New York Ave., 631-668-2089, and Montauk Downs State Park, 50 S. Fairview Ave., 631-668-2098. Continues through Aug. 28.



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