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The future of funny: New comedy show features high school comics alongside pros

Funny ladies: (Back row) Professional jokester Elsa Waithe, organizer Lynn Harris, and teen comedian Avery Lender, and intern Maizie Schaffner (front) shared a laugh backstage at the May 22 debut of Gold Comedy Live at the Williamsburg Hotel.
Photo by Jason Speakman

She’s passing the mic.

A Park Slope comedienne has launched a new monthly stand-up series where teenage girls share the stage with professional funny women. Lynn Harris started “Gold Comedy Live!” happening on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Williamsburg Hotel, to teach female comics who are under the drinking age how to turn their insecurities into laughs, and to elevate the voices of comics who have been traditionally overlooked, she said.

“One of the things we say is: what makes you different is what makes you funny, and what makes you funny is what makes you strong,” Harris said. “We’re changing the face of comedy.”

Each show will feature at least one high school–aged comedian from New York’s comedy scene, or from the stand-up comedy workshops and online classes that Harris has run since 2016 — performing alongside five professional comedians, who Harris hopes the girls can both laugh with and learn from.

“We’re trying to build the ranks and support among the youngest generation of comedy — the future of funny,” Harris said. “The focus of the show is to create that combination.”

The first show, on May 22, featured Brooklyn favorites Jo Firestone, Elsa Waithe, and drag king Murray Hill, among other seasoned pros — cracking jokes before the same crowd as high school junior Avery Lender, who Harris spotted and recruited at a comedy festival. The teens get paid the same as their more seasoned peers, said Harris.

The jokes the junior comediennes write are creating a new narrative, said Harris, poking fun at the power structures involved in prom and the patriarchy alike.

“When you’re doing comedy, you’re the one with the mic, you’re the one on the stage, you’re the one re-framing, re-telling the story your way,” she said. “We’re here to amplify girls’ and women’s voices — literally, with a mic. Our mission is to make sure that girls and women and other outsiders have the tools and platforms they need to take over comedy-slash-the world.”

Gold Comedy Live! at the Williamsburg Hotel (96 Wythe Ave. at N. 10th Street in Williamsburg, www.goldcomedy.com). Fourth Tuesday of every month (next show June 26) at 7:30 pm. $10.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Joker-in-chief: Former stand-up comic Lynn Harris trains teen girls in comedy at her Gold Comedy workshop, and features funny teens alongside at a new monthly show at the Williamsburg Hotel.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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