The Boston Comedy Festival Returns to Boston in 2023!

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Comedy Festival is excited to announce its return to the city on May 16-20, 2023. We are back in Boston in a big way this year and celebrating the very best of comedy.

This 5-day comedy festival features over 75 artists including: Robert Kelly, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live, Sonja Morgan (of Real Housewives of New York), Todd Barry, Emo Phillips, Zach Sherwin, Corey Rodrigues, Shane Mauss, Raanan Hershberg, Bethany Van Delft, Myq Kaplan, Karen Morgan, Emily Ruskowski, Erin Maguire, Tooky Kavanagh, Will Noonan, Jimmy Cash, Orlando Baxter, Dan Boulger and many more.

The centerpiece of the Boston Comedy Festival is the Stand Up Comedy Competition, a contest to discover new and emerging comedians from around the world and help guide them to successful careers in the entertainment industry. From a field of hundreds of hopeful comedians, forty-eight contestants have been chosen to perform at the festival. That field will be narrowed down over the 5 day festival with eight comedians competing to receive a cash prize and to perform on the main stage, in front of comedy fans and industry insiders.

The Preliminary and Semifinal rounds of the contest will be held at
City Winery Boston, 80 Beverly St, Boston, MA 02114.
Ticket Link
Preliminary Round 1: May 16th 7pm
Preliminary Round 2: May 16th 9:30pm
Preliminary Round 3: May 17th 7pm
Preliminary Round 4: May 17th 9:30pm

Semi Final Round 1: May 18th 7pm
Semi Final Round 2: May 18th 9:30pm
Semi Final Round 3: May 19th 7pm
Semi Final Round 4: May 19th 9:30pm

The winner of the Stand Up Competition will be decided at the
23rd Annual Boston Comedy Festival Gala
MAY 20 at 7:00PM
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
Ticket Link

The show will be hosted by Jim McCue (his DryBar special “nothing personal” which has had over 3 million views , he has been featured on Comedy Central, Comcast Comedy Spotlight, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Live at Gotham AXS TV and “Roughing It” on NESN in his native New England.)

In addition to the Stand Up Comedy Competition we will be presenting awards to our 2023 Honorees who join a distinguished group of previous award winners whose works define the art form and contribute to our rich cultural legacy.

Comedian of the Year Honoree Joe List
Joe List is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor, whose movie FOURTH OF JULY is currently playing in theaters. Joe’s latest 1 hour special, THIS YEAR’S MATERIAL premiered on his YouTube page in April and has over 1 million views. His previous special, I HATE MYSELF was released by Comedy Central in 2020 and currently has over 7.5 million views on their Youtube page. Joe has performed on THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, and THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON and has appeared multiple times on CONAN. He was a finalist on NBC’s ‘LAST COMIC STANDING, he also has his own half-hour special on Comedy Central and he stars in season 2 of Netflix’s THE STAND UPS. His albums ‘So Far No Good’ and ‘Are You Mad at Me?’ (through Comedy Central Records) can be heard all the time on Sirius Radio. List is also the co-host of the popular weekly podcast ‘Tuesdays with Stories w/ Mark Normand. Joe is the host of his own podcast MINDFUL METAL JACKET and he can be seen regularly at the Comedy Cellar in New York City.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Brian Kiley
Brian Kiley was a writer for Conan O’Brien for 27 years. He has been nominated for 17 Emmy Awards. (winning a Primetime Emmy in 2007) When Conan ended, he got a job as a writer on Ellen’s final season and this time won a Daytime Emmy. As a comedian, he made 7 appearances on David Letterman, 4 on The Tonight Show, and 12 on Conan. He has his own Comedy Central special as well as a Dry Bar special. His jokes have been featured in the New York Sunday Times Crossword Puzzle, Reader’s Digest, Prevention Magazine and the Big Book of American Humor.

Lifetime Achievement in TV Award Honoree Topper Carew
American film director, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for such films as Talkin’ Dirty After Dark and D.C. Cab. He is also the creator of such television series as Martin.

The festival’s five-day lineup will include performances from some of the world’s most talented comedians, including these stand out stand up shows:

Boston Comedy Festival All-Stars
Berklee Performance Center
May 19th 8pm
Ticket Link
Bethany Van Delft was named “Best Comic” by Boston Magazine in both 2020 & 2019 and regular host for The Moth and has a story included in The Moth’s book “All These Wonders”.
Corey Rodrigues has been featured on the hilarious Laughs on Fox, and True Tv’s Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks. In 2018 he released his Dry Bar Comedy special, one of TBS’s Comics to Watch at the New York Comedy Fest. In 2019 Rodrigues made his late-night TV debut on the Conan O’Brien show.
Raanan Hershberg has been featured The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late, Late Show with James Corden, and Comedy Central. Raanan performs all over the world and is a regular at The Comedy Cellar.
Emo Phillips was described by Jay Leno as “the best joke writer in America,” by British comedian Gary Delaney as the best joke writer in the world, and by “Weird Al” Yankovic as one of the funniest people on the planet

Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Berklee Performance Center
May 20th 8pm
Ticket Link
The creators and voice talent of AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE open up about the Mooninites and the reign of terror they unleashed upon the city of Boston on one extremely slow news day in 2007

Sonja Morgan (of Real Housewives of New York)
The City Winery Boston
May 20th 8pm
Sonja is coming to your town for an unfiltered conversation that will have you seeing double and feeling single!!! Sit Down with Sonja in your city for a show unlike any other where YOU are the star! Well, Sonja is the star, but she wants to meet you too. Come ready to ask all your burning questions and you know Sonja will answer in her unabashedly unlike anyone fashion. Bawdy and real.

Robert Kelly and Friends
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
May 20th 9:30pm
Ticket Link
Expertly curated by Robert, Robert Kelly & Friends will feature some of the Festival’s hottest acts live on stage for an incredible night of hard-hitting laughter. A line-up of veteran favorites and emerging talents, this jam-packed night of pure entertainment will leave you sore from belly laughs.
Featuring: Robert Kelly (Netflix The Degenerates season 2, Kreeps With Kids, Trainwreck, Maron, Benders, Nurse Jackie, and Inside Amy Schumer. He has a top rated podcast “You Know What Dude?” that can be found on iTunes.
Ron Bennington, (host of SiriusXM’s Bennington Show, Unmasked and Ron Bennington Interviews)

Founded in 2000, the Boston Comedy Festival has become a renowned event in the comedy world. Over the years, it has featured top comedians such as Marc Maron, Bill Burr, Judiah Friedlander, Lewis Black. Steven Wright, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Emmanuel Lewis, Jonathon Katz, Robert Klein, The Smothers Brothers, Shelly Berman, Mort Sol, Norm Crosby, Patrice O’Neal, Nick DiPaolo, Baron Vaughn, Des Bishop, Gabriel Iglesias, Lenny Clarke, Bob Marley, Tom Cotter, Hannibal Buress, Kevin Meaney, Andy Kindler, Todd Barry, Ms. Pat, Michelle Buteau, Kyle Kinnane, Ronnie Chieng and many more.

It gives them a platform to show off their comedic talents, gain new fans, and connect with other comedians.

“We’re thrilled to bring the Boston Comedy Festival back to Boston in May” said Helen DiMarzio, the festival’s executive producer. “We have some amazing comedians lined up, and we’re sure they’ll deliver a hilarious experience for our audiences.”

This year’s festival will be better than ever before, with tickets expected to sell out quickly. Be sure to get in early and secure your tickets to the must-attend comedy event of the year.

For more details and full festival lineup, visit

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