The Hoboken Comedy Festival returns this week, with shows happening every night this week through Sunday, Sept. 30. Among the festival’s line-up is an event that seems counter-intuitive to the way stand-up comedy is thought of on a cultural level. That event, you wonderful CHF reader, is the compliment battle, featuring the compliment-stylings of Adam Berg, Christine Berg, Meghan Walsh, Mia Faith Hammond and Jacob Williams – all at the Kolo Club, 1422 Grand St.,10:30 p.m. Thursday.
Comedian and Hoboken Comedy Festival organizer Dan Frigolette says he’s never seen anything like the compliment battle before.
“We decided that in the world where comedy’s trend is becoming roasting and roast battles, we could look on the bright side of things and change the dialogue a little bit,” says Frigolette.
Frigolette has said previously that the compliment battle’s goal is to try and dispel and discourage rivalries among comedians who should view each other as colleagues, not competition.
“The history of roasts were a night of in-crowd, all-in-good-fun,” adds Frigolette. “(But) the one on one battles have positioned comedians and the industry leaders to choose ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’ We hope to make it clear that comedians can coexist, and perhaps thrive among other funny people.”
Roasts are so embedded in a popular notion of stand-up comedy that it would not be entirely unreasonable to think the compliment battle is a sort of challenge – one in which comedians “compliment” other comedians.
“Just like in any art form, especially comedy, we won’t be writing the jokes for the other comedians,” says Frigolette, “so we can’t say that things won’t be underhanded or undercutting. But that is not the current goal.
“We’re not hoping to have a roast battle in disguise. We actually want to make each other feel good if possible.”
Throughout the week, festival-goers can see comedians every night including headliners like Sherrod Small, Sydnee Washington, Myq Caplan, Von Decarlo and Rich Vos. And that’s just a sampling.
Tickets for the Hoboken Comedy Festival can be bought at hobokencomedyfestival.org, where the entire line-up of comedians is listed.
The Hoboken Comedy Festival also supports the Liberty Humane Society, an animal shelter that makes large efforts for stray dogs and cats to be adopted, with $1 donations per head and donation buckets.