New York’s first annual Jewish entertainment festival, “The Chosen Comedy Festival” is coming to the Coney Island Amphitheater on August 16.
What started as a conversation among two friends, comedians Dani Zoldan and Elon Gold, has grown into an all inclusive event featuring Jewish comedians, musicians, influencers and more.
“The focus of this event is to give people a good time in the middle of summer and to put on a phenomenal show that has a very unique perspective and comes from a point of view going back thousands of years of our culture and heritage” Gold told Brooklyn Paper.
Zoldan, who owns the Stand Up NY comedy club in Manhattan, said when he and Gold realized there had never been a Jewish comedy festival, they both knew they had to jump on the idea.
“This is very unique in the Jewish community. There’s a lot of Jewish events but nothing quite like this so we’re really trying to make it a festival that every Jew would feel comfortable going to no matter what their religious level is,” he said. “You could identify as Jewish, your parents could be Jewish, just your father could be Jewish, it really doesn’t matter.”
When the two began recruiting performers to create an elite lineup, they found that many of the artists had always wanted to participate in an event like the one they were planning.
“We just went down the list of all the Jewish comics that we knew in New York and it was just like ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ Everyone thought it was a great idea,” Zoldan said. “It’s come together very quickly and comics have been coming out of the woodworks wanting to perform.”
The lineup includes Jeff Ross, Jessica Kirson, Leah Forester, Nissim Black, Kosha Dill and other special guests.
“It’s the kind of thing that you don’t want to miss. Jews love to tell other Jews what they missed,” Gold said. “So you don’t want to be the one that hears about this, you want to be the one that experiences it.”
Gold also shared that some of the proceeds for the show will go to the Ukrainian Emergency Performing Arts Fund, a foundation focused on supporting Ukrainian artists during the time of war, where they aren’t able to work.
“These days you almost can’t do anything without a cause behind it and for us it wasn’t just ‘Oh we should do this for charity’, it was a genuine idea. We’re performers, they’re performers, we do need to help,” Gold said. “It was an organic, symbiotic relationship and the timing of this horrible, unfortunate war.”
Zoldan has previously worked with the organization, providing stipends for some Ukrainian artists to get basic essentials during the start of the war. During the planning process for the comedy show, organizers knew they wanted some of the proceeds to go to the fund once more.
With a star studded lineup of hilarious comedians, both Zoldan and Gold are excited to bring laughter to the city.
“There’s a real need for laughter during this time and owning Stand Up New York, I’ve been in a fortunate position to help facilitate that,” Zoldan said.
Check out the Chosen Comedy Festival on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6:30pm at the Coney Island Amphitheater, 3052 W. 21st Street between Surf Avenue and Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island.