Kids 'N Comedy Presents CHRISTMAKWANZUKAH at Gotham Comedy Club Tonight
Kids 'N Comedy, New York's leading presenter of young comic talent, will present "Christmakwanzukah," their holiday show, tonight, December 16 at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street.
Wait, do you hear that? Is that church bells in the distance? Oh, wait. No. It's just a bunch of teenagers making fun of their Christmas sweaters and complaining about the worst gifts they ever received in the winter holiday season. Come see if that pair of socks you sent them made the list!
Kids 'N Comedy maintains a high standard of creativity by an emphasis on new work. It's shows feature exclusive material and each show contains new writing by its young comedians that is created expressly for the varied topics of the shows. Kids 'N Comedy's monthly shows at Gotham Comedy Club offer a turntable of talented teens and 'tweens from the tri-state area. In the company's shows, each comic performs his/her own material, which is screened to be free of profanity and abrasive or crude "low" humor. They do, however, venture into edgy comic terrain: politics, getting old, even death.
"Christmakwanzukah" will feature Val Bodurtha, Connor Carroll, Leo Frampton, Rachel Kaly, Eric Kurn, Zach Rosenfeld, Lee Wolfowitz and others.
Valerie Bodurtha hails from Stamford, CT and is a tenth grader at Horace Mann. Her mom is a reporter and her dad works in finance. She has three siblings and no pets ("Had a toad but he's dead now.") Her hobbies are belly dance, tap, Irish step dance, tuvan throat singing, improv, yoga, playing guitar, banjo, and ukulele, debate, basketball and fencing. She's been in nine plays and four dance concerts and has worked as a camp counselor. She speaks English and Hebrew and is learning Spanish. Her passions include preventing the spread of fast food corporations in other countries.
Conor Carroll recently completed filming in "Ender's Game," a sci-fi thriller by Gavin Hood starring Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin and Ben Kingsley, which is currently in post-production. He hails from Brooklyn and is the son of a retired NYPD Sergeant and a Grant Consultant/Homemaker. His hobbies include drawing comics/anime, impressions and annoying his 16 year-old brother. He has been acting since he was four years old, performing in commercials, movies ("Away We Go," "Phoebe in Wonderland," "Perfect Holiday"), TV shows and voiceovers. He's a seventh grader at Professional Children's School and something of a language lover: he's studying French, Russian and Italian. His pets include a Great Pyrenees named Luna and a Russian tortoise named Boris. He's allergic to incorrect grammar, puns and basic idiocy. His sports are Weight Lifting, Swimming and Channel Surfing.
Leo Frampton, an eleventh grader at Winston Prep in Manhattan, is the son of a teacher and a director of Art Therapy. His hobbies are video games, comedy and school. His siblings are two cats ("Not much words are exchanged, but the peer-pressure is palpable.") He has starred in a few school plays, but mostly it's comedy for him. His passion is comedy. His only sport is comedy.
Rachel Kaly, of Queens, is an eleventh grader. Her mom is a French teacher and personal trainer. She has a pretty sweet Pez collection and a younger sister. She appeared on Sweepstakes week on Conan O'Brien and has modeled for toys like Barney. She baby sits pretty frequently. Asked if she has any languages, she claims fluency in English, but calls it a close second to Sarcasm. She is allergic to bad jokes, the Tea Party and really furry cats. Her passion is making people laugh. Her sports are Basketball and juggling her dignity.
Eric Kurn, of Jericho, NY, is the only child of a Creative Director and a Kitchen/Bath/Closet Designer. He's a tenth grader at Jericho High School and his hobbies include Xbox and Volunteer Community Service Programs. He has a beagle named Buddy and no allergies. His passions are comedy and hanging out with girls. His only sport is watching the Yankees.
Zach Rosenfeld hails from Brooklyn, where he's a ninth grader at St. Ann's. His mom's a filmmaker and his dad's a businessman. His hobbies are Computer, Trumpet, Comedy, Golf and Tennis. He has a younger brother (Noah, age 8). He did lighting for a school play and a bit part in one of his mother's films. Job experience? "Casting Assistant. Shoveling snow." He owns a Labradoodle and has no allergies. His passions are Comedy and World of Warcraft; his sports are golf and tennis, formerly soccer.
Lee Wolfowitz, of Manhattan, is an eleventh grader at Bronx Science; his parents are an investment banker and a full time Mother. His hobbies are video games, TV and music. He has a younger sister. He makes money by babysitting and giving computer assistance. His passions are material possessions and his adorable dog, Charlie.
Host of the show is David Smithyman, the dry-as-a-bone Australian-bred comedian who is Emcee, Producer and Senior Instructor of Kids 'N Comedy. Smithyman's book, "Young, Funny and Unbalanced: a Stand-Up Comedy Guide for Teens," was recently awarded a Silver Award by Literary Classics. It is available through Amazon (ISBN: 1478161752). The book outlines methods for summoning material organically out of your soul and explains the Kids 'N Comedy method of comedy training, which is an unconventional education for unconventional kids.
Kids 'N Comedy originated in 1996 as a talent show for kids at a The West End Gate restaurant on the Upper West Side that was owned at the time by Associate Director Stu Morden, Art D'Lugoff and Manny Roth (Cafe Wha). The talent of the kids caught the attention of BBC-TV, which filmed a documentary about them, which resulted in more media attention. Demand spiked among kids wishing to perform and this prompted Morden and his wife, Artistic Director Jo Ann Grossman, to establish Kids 'N Comedy to serve these budding comics through classes taught by a rotating staff, an intensive summer comedy camp, and professional gigs. Their performance series started at The Knitting Factory in 1996 and moved to Caroline's in 1998 and to Gotham Comedy Club in 2000. The founders point out that there's a ten year ramp-up to a comedy career and stage time is essential to becoming a good performer. Before there was Kids 'N Comedy, getting that stage time was nearly impossible, since Comedy Clubs are primarily bars and therefore off-limits to teens.
Distinguished alumni of Kids 'N Comedy include Josh Peck, star of Nickelodeon's "Drake & Josh," and Lucian Maisel, who can be seen in the film "The Ex" with Zack Braff and Amanda Peet. Last Spring, ensemble member David Thompson made his film debut in "WIN WIN" with Paul Giamatti (directed and written by Tom McCarthy).
Beside their regular shows at Gotham Comedy Club, Kids 'N Comedy performers have appeared at a variety of benefits and charity events, including events of the WB11 Care for Kids Fund, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation (supporting needy families, including teen mothers, homeless families and at-risk youth), Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation (it brightens the lives of seriously ill children and their families) and the Toyota Comedy Festival.
Pictured: Conor Carroll imagines himself as a Christmas present. Photo by Julia Slaff.