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Best comedy 2013: New York Comedy festival headliners

We chat with Maria Bamford, Jim Jefferies and more of the best comedy performers at this year’s NYCF


Click the right arrow on the image above to read our interviews with the 2013 New York Comedy Festival headliners.


Maria Bamford

This Arrested Development guest star has an ear for New Yorkers’ erudite speech patterns.

Time Out New York: Is performing in NYC anxiety-inducing?
I haven’t spent more than a few days here, so I don’t think I have a fair sample. I’ve only performed in situations where people know what they’ve come to see, and I’ve definitely avoided opportunities to bomb. I choose to see through pink vintage monocles from Williamsburg.

Time Out New York: What do you overhear while you’re here?
I like that “Fuck you, asshole!” and “Hey, mama bear!” can be used by a deli proprietor affectionately, depending on the customer.

Time Out New York: Any plans to do longer NYC runs?
Well, I always have a fantasy of coming for a month. But I think I’d need to have a dog or two to take care of while in town. Is that on Airbnb? “Combo apartment-and-dog-care”? I will check. [The] dogs can dress up atop each other in a large overcoat. And we can explore the city as newlyweds.

Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Fri 8 at 8pm; sold out.


Bill Maher

Real Time’s Californian host has plenty to say about our politicians.

Time Out New York: Are there any favorite spots you like to hit when you’re in town?
Oh, I wish I was young enough to hit spots. Hitting spots was one of my favorite things before I turned 50. Now I’m just trying to prevent spots.

Time Out New York: What are your thoughts on Gotham’s current political climate?
I was hoping that Anthony Weiner would still be in the mayoral race. So that was a big disappointment. Not just to me, but I’m guessing to all comedians. I’m sure Bill de Blasio is a great politician, but he’s not nearly as funny.

Time Out New York: How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg decrying medical marijuana?
That didn’t sit well with me and my people, I’ll tell you that. I tweeted a picture last night; I think if you look at that picture you’ll get the answer that you were looking for. I’ll leave that as a mystery to you. [Editor’s note: Research reveals it’s a photograph of Maher sharing a massive joint with Woody Harrelson.]

Beacon Theatre. Sat 9 at 8pm; sold out.


Wanda Sykes

The Alpha House actor talks Larry David and Annie.

Time Out New York: Fellow Curb Your Enthusiasm actor Larry David is at the Town Hall on Sunday. Any plans to meet up?
I have to stay home. Mother-in-law trumps Larry David. But I might leave a note for him and abuse him in some way. Tell him to go fuck himself and call him a jackass. He likes that kind of thing.

Time Out New York: Your first musical role was as Miss Hannigan. What’s your take on Jay Z and Will Smith’s Annie remake, currently in production in New York?
Oh, I would like to see it! Hopefully it will have a nice long run and I’ll get to take the kids to see it. It’s funny, though: When I played Miss Hannigan, the kids who came to the play and saw me walking around in grocery stores, they’d run from me. So I guess I did a pretty good job. I scared the kids.

Beacon Theatre. Thu 7 at 8pm; $47.50–$82.50.


Jim Jefferies

This Aussie guns for Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard.

Time Out New York: You’re headlining Carnegie Hall. How does that feel?
Excited. I’m not quite sold out. I think I’m up to the final balcony, but the final balcony’s got, like, 1,000 seats. Eh, I’ve got a couple weeks. I think maybe Billy Connolly’s done it or something like that. Maybe Eddie Izzard?

Time Out New York: He’s played Madison Square Garden.
Oh, he only did Madison Square Garden, did he? Well fuck ’im! I didn’t know he did such a small venue.

Carnegie Hall. Sat 9 at 8pm; $35.50–$49.50.


Nick Swardson

A fart obsessive returns from his stand-up hiatus.

Time Out New York: Have you done NYCF before?
No. I quit stand-up for two years. My mind had gotten so geared toward sketch that it was like my brain had dried out of thinking of jokes. Now I’m in a place where I love doing it again.

Time Out New York: Are you working toward a follow-up to Seriously, Who Farted?
Yeah, I’m looking to do another special. I’m not breaking any new ground, basically talking about drinking and farting. But they’re really solid fart jokes.

The Town Hall. Fri 8 at 7pm; $39.50–$49.50.

The New York Comedy Festival is back, people! To toast the five-day fest, which takes place on stages both huge and small throughout the city, we talked to some of its biggest names. For a rundown of NYCF’s best comedy shows, plus ticket info, check out our New York Comedy Festival guide.

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