Meet Caroline Hirsch: Founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway Special

Posted Aug 12, 2019 by Markos Papadatos
Caroline Hirsch is the founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway. She chatted about the 16th annual New York Comedy Festival.
Caroline Hirsch  founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway
Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway
Courtesy of Carolines on Broadway
"We are now in our 16th year of the festival and we are extremely happy about the lineup, we think it's very diverse – with both up-and-coming and established stars," she said.
"Taking place at prestigious locations all over New York City, we have over 200 comedians, late-night hosts and podcast stars performing in more than 100 shows. Fans can also expect tons of pop-up events, live improv, panel discussions, sketch comedy and much much more," she explained.
"This year, we also are partnering with The Female Quotient (The FQ), which is a woman-owned business committed to advancing equality in the workplace," she added.
To learn more about the New York Comedy Festival or to obtain tickets, check out its official website. "Tickets are on sale now so go grab them while you can. I am looking forward to all the shows and lots of good laughs! We're hosting several shows at Carolines during the festival and at top venues across New York City like Madison Square Garden, Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall, and many more," she said.
On the impact of technology and streaming on the contemporary entertainment and comedic scene, she said, "Social media has definitely played a role in the comedic landscape and how it’s constantly changing. Comedians focus on what's happening right now."
"Technology has really changed comedy over the years. For example, we started out with radio in the '40s to TV shows in the '50s then you go into basic cable TV and having HBO and all the stand-up specials which brings a whole new range of comedians right into people's homes. Now you have the Internet, which has helped breakout stars across the globe," she said.
On her proudest moments with Carolines, she said, "First, I'd have to say I'm proud of opening up Carolines on Broadway in 1982. From there it led me to book then-unknown talent including Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Sandra Bernhard, Pee-Wee Herman and more."
"I am also very proud of our 20th anniversary of Carolines on Broadway show at Carnegie Hall in March 2003 hosted by Lewis Black. And of course, the New York Comedy Festival which is now in its 16th year. In 2006, we launched Stand-Up for Heroes as part of the NYCF, a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which supports wounded veterans and their families. Over the years, we've raised over $50 million," she said.
When asked what motivates her each day, Hirsch said, "I have such a creative job where you never know what's going to happen. There are new things each day and never a dull moment. There's always something going on in the nature of this business and the nature of being in a creative world."
For aspiring comedy club owners, she noted that the business is hard. "You need to be well funded, you need to be unique in what you want to present. When you open up a physical property, you need to be well funded because it's going to take time to build an audience. You need to have talent at your fingertips that you're going to bring in, you have to know marketing, promotion, and advertising," she said.
On her future plans, she said, "I'm doing a lot of producing right now. I’m working on a film called Ask For Jane that will soon be on a video on demand platform. I also have three other projects in development right now including some stand-up specials."
"I also want to highlight some up and coming comedians to look out for. These include Mandy Smith, Geoffrey Asmus, Yamaneika Saunders, SallyAnn Hall, and Luke Mones," she said.
Hirsch defined the word success as follows: "I think the word success can be measured in many ways. I think that building a brand that you’re proud of is a success. People measure success financially, that's another way. But overall, I think success can be defined as giving back and something you are proud of."
To learn more about Carolines on Broadway, check out its official website.