10 comedians to compete for the title of New York’s Funniest Stand-Up on November 11 at The Venue at Hard Rock Hotel; winner to receive a cash prize 

Tickets Available at www.NYComedyFestival.com 

The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) announces the finalists for “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” Presented by Death Wish Coffee. The event, which marks its 15th anniversary and has become a staple of the New York Comedy Festival and the city’s premier stand-up comedy competition, will take place at The Venue at Hard Rock Hotel (259 West 48th Street) on Saturday, November 11 at 3:30 p.m., and will shine a spotlight on some of stand-ups’ top up-and-coming comedians.  2014 New York’s Funniest Stand-Up winner Ricky Velez will host the show.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Pat Burtscher – As a New Yorker,Pat Burtscher regularly performs at The Comedy Cellar and New York Comedy Club, and has also performed during the New York Comedy Festival, Just for Laughs Montreal, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival and Singapore Comedy Fringe. @patburtscher
  • Peng Dang – Born in China,Peng Dang is a regular performer at the Comedy Cellar. His comedy focuses on adapting from his traditional Asian upbringing and life in America. @pengdangcomedy
  • Julio Diaz – As a Dominican-American stand-up comedian, born and raised in Brooklyn, Julio has performed at NY clubs for half a decade and was recently featured on the Netflix “Comedy is a Joke“ festival in Los Angeles. His podcast “TJ Squared” is on Apple, YouTube and Soundcloud.@juliodiazcomedy
  • Matt Koff – Matt Koff is an award-winning TV writer and standup comic, who has won an Emmy for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Matt has appeared on Comedy Central, WNYC, WFMU, and The History Channel and has also written for The Onion and The White House Correspondents’ Dinner hosted by Trevor Noah. He co-created the Twitter sensation TrumpComedyNerd, which was named one of the 207 Top Comedy Moments of 2010s by Vulture. @mattkoff 
  • Gavin Matts – A New York-based writer and stand-up, Gavin was the winner of Canada’s Top Comic in 2017 and was named a TBS comic to watch in 2018. He has made stand-up appearances on Bill Burr Presents: The Ringers, CONAN, and Comedy Central’s Stand Up Featuring. ‘progression’, his debut special, premiered on All Things Comedy on October 27, 2023. @gavinmatts
  • Paris Sashay – From Washington, D.C., Paris was named a New Face at the 2018 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. Her stand-up was also featured on Epix’s UNPROTECTED SETS season one, produced by Wanda Sykes. She can most recently be seen on BET’s 50 CENTRAL. She recently headlined at Caroline’s in New York and has appeared at The Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, Howard Theatre, DC Improv and Carolines on Broadway. @ParisSashay
  • Tre’ Stewart – As a Detroit native, Tre’ has a relaxed, laid-back comedic delivery where the punch lines come in an intimate and conversational style. Stewart is based in NYC and is a regular at The Comedy Cellar.@trestewart1 
  • Jake Velazquez – Born and raised in the Bronx, Jake Velazquez is son of a Jewish east village artist and a Puerto Rican musician and has been featured on New York Comedy Festival’s Comics to Watch, Rogue Island Comedy Festival, and Red Clay. He also is a regular at New York Comedy Club and performs around the country opening for Jordan Jensen. @jakevcomedy
  • Maddie Weiner – Maddie Wiener has been a “New Face” at the Just for Laughs Festival and filmed stand-up sets for Comedy Central and Don’t Tell Comedy. She has appeared on You Up with Nikki Glaser on SiriusXM and was a semi-finalist for Stand Up NBC.  On the road, Maddie has opened for Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, Robert Kelly, Anthony Jeselnik, and Joe List.  You can listen to her on the hit podcast “We’re Having Gay Sex,”  which she co-hosts with Ashley Gavin. @maddietwiener
  • Vishnu Vaka – Originally from India and moved to the U.S. as a teenager, Vishnu Vaka is a standup comedian who has performed all over the country. He has opened for Canadian stand-up comedian Russell Peters and can be heard on the ‘In Godfrey We Trust’ podcast. @vishnuvakacomedy

Launched in 2008, the “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” competition is open to any and all comedians who think they have what it takes to be New York’s Funniest and previous winners have gone on to become some of the biggest names in comedy. The ten finalists will perform a ten-minute set in front of a panel of comedy industry judges.  The winner will receive a cash prize.

“New York’s Funniest Stand Up is one of the highlights of the New York Comedy Festival,” said Caroline Hirsch, Founder and Owner of the New York Comedy Festival. “I’ve always been passionate about spotting up-and-coming talent and finding the headliners of tomorrow. The competition is a great opportunity to experience such talent first-hand.” 

Past winners of “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” include Nate Bargatze (2010), Michael Che (2012), Ricky Velez (2014), and Tim Dillon (2016), among others.

“We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with The New York Comedy Festival,” said Samantha Siegal, CMO of Death Wish Coffee. “Death Wish Coffee is all about fueling bold souls — people who are out there grabbing life by the beans and ‘Living With a Death Wish.’ I can’t think of a group that embodies this sentiment more than the bold artists standing up on stage, ripping jokes, and bringing an audience along for the ride.”

Headliners for the 2023 New York Comedy Festival include Dave Attell, Bill Burr, Nicole Byer, Jimmy Carr, Margaret Cho, Tim Dillon, Giggly Squad, Ilana Glazer, Brett Goldstein, Nate Jackson, Anthony Jeselnik, Matteo Lane, Sam Morril, Nick Mullen and Adam Friedland, Conan O’Brien, Atsuko Okatsuka, Pod Meets World, Donnell Rawlings, Jeff Ross, Robyn Schall, Daniel Sloss, and Michelle Wolf, and the 17th annual Stand Up for Heroes. 

In addition, most recently, more than 100 additional shows were added to the 2023 lineup.   See the full lineup HERE.

Hard Rock Hotel New York is the official host hotel for the NYCF this year.  With music and entertainment at its core, the hotel will once again be home to various festival performances, events, and after-parties along with exclusive overnight experiences for those in the audience or commanding the stage.

The NYCF is made possible by its sponsors Bread Financial, Peacock, Hard Rock Hotel New York, Death Wish Coffee Company, Straight Talk Wireless, Dr. Squatch, ABC7, iHeart Radio, MTA Away, Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, New York City Tourism + Conventions, New York Magazine, the New York Post, SiriusXM Radio and Vulture. 

To purchase tickets for New York’s Funniest Competition or New York Comedy Festival shows or for more information, visit https://nycomedyfestival.com.  Follow on social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeNYLaugh. 


Launched in 2004, The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) is produced by Carolines and created by Caroline Hirsch. NYCF brings together the country’s top comedians including Judd Apatow, Bill Burr, Margaret Cho, Larry David, Kevin Hart, Jo Koy, Nick Kroll, Bill Maher, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Tracy Morgan, and many others to venues throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In 2007, NYCF launched the “Stand Up for Heroes” event to benefit The Bob Woodruff Foundation, which has featured performances by Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, John Oliver, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jeff Ross, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and many others. To date, Stand Up For Heroes events have raised over $65 million. For more information, visit https://nycomedyfestival.com and follow on social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeNYLaugh. 


Founded in 2012 in Saratoga Springs, New York, Death Wish Coffee Company has long been an innovator and disruptor in the coffee category, with its unique, rebellious attitude and bold personality. Death Wish Coffee refuses to compromise on quality and taste, roasting Fair Trade Certified™, USDA Organic beans roasted the right way for a bold, never bitter, brew. Death Wish Coffee® can be found on the company’s website (deathwishcoffee.com), Amazon, and in major US chains including Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Albertsons/Safeway.

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