It’s Saturday morning, just hours away from the Yonkers Comedy Festival finale show at La Lanterna and I had a chance to reflect a bit on our inaugural event. We set out to create something special for Westchester County, for the city of Yonkers, and for comedians near and far to be proud of. On Wednesday night we held the festival’s kick off party at Rory Dolan’s on McLean Avenue and the turnout and reception were truly overwhelming.(Perhaps aside from that crazy heckler!; read about it here)
Rich DeLayo and I have wanted to attempt a comedy world record since we started building NoMa Comedy a few years ago. We were inspired by what Comic Strip Live in NYC and Laugh Factory in LA with their record breaking marathon shows within the past ten years. We thought that over the course of a festival we would be able to accomplish this feat; until Nashville earlier this year. They blew away the record and set the bar at 8 straight days of non-stop comedy.
So Rich and I began to research different types of comedy records until we realized that there was one record that had not been set or thought of in any official capacity. There have been countless shows with packed lineups, marathon long comedy shows, and of course long winded open mic comedy scenarios that had large amounts of comedians on them. But where was the record for most comics on a single traditional show? Of course when we discussed “traditional” we were speaking to a 90 minute comedy show which is most often at clubs and other venues; but since this was not officially used before we had the privilige and responsibility of making sure the record we set had the proper rules and guidelines.
RECORD SHOW RULES/GUIDELINES
– Can not exceed 90 minutes in length
– Must have ONE host who performs the traditional duties of a host; Welcoming the crowd, introducing each comedian coming to the stage from the stage, closing out the show by thanking everyone.
– Only one microphone in use on the stage to avoid future attempts from literally having multiple microphones being passed around, unfairly expediting the process
– One stage with a spotlight on it to make sure the show feels like a “traiditional” comedy show
– Someone filming the event
– Someone with a timer on stage for all to see
– Performers must tell a joke or perform a comedy bit. No walking on the stage and just saying “poop” or another random word just to keep the show moving faster.
– Performers must all be considered comedians to varying degrees; as in each performer has performed at a comedy show before or open mic comedy event.
– Each performer can only be counted once toward the total. (A performer does not count again if they change outfits, go up as a character, do an impersonation, etc.)
– The audience MUST include non-performers who have paid admission to attend the event. Can not be filled with just performers (at least 10 paying or invited non-performer guests)
– Performances MUST be comedy and may include Props, Ventriloquism, Magic, and Impersonations/Impressions.
So after establishing these guidelines and rules, the next thing we had to do was figure out how to pull this off in Yonkers at the festival. What better way than to incorporate it with the Yonkers Comedy Festival kick-off party? So we set that date and had the help of Rory Dolan’s. But how many comedians COULD we get on within 90 minutes? Well to figure that out we held a “trial” show at Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville, NY. On that show we were fortunate to have 26 comedians come out. To test this properly, we asked each comedian to do their shortest joke possible. The result was all 26 comedians got through it in about 13 minutes. We were blown away with the thought that it might be possible that by those numbers we could theoretically have well over 100 comedians perform within 90 minutes!
Wednesday 11/11 and the Yonkers Comedy Festival came. The kick-off party was in full effect and we were checking in comics non-stop. The toughest part seemed to be coordinating and getting comedians to Yonkers, NY. Maryelle Turner was the host of the event and she did an amazing job from beginning to end. In the end she climbed up and down that stage 51 times! We did it! The world record was 51 comedians using all of those rules and guidelines that we cared so deeply about. We are anxiously awaiting word back from Guinness World Records to officially accept it; but we know that this record is legitimate and everyone who was there became a part of comedy history. Whether this record stands for two weeks or two decades; we couldn’t be any prouder of how the comedy community came together for something special, unique, and fun. Thank you all for being a part of it!