Female Comics Get a Voice in CRACKING UP IN RAHWAY

By: Jul. 12, 2017

A platform for emerging female comics to showcase their talents in an otherwise male dominated industry is the driving force behind the original comedy show "Cracking Up In Rahway". To be held on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at Hamilton Stage of the Performing Arts, located at 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway, New Jersey, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., in the Fazioli Room.

Created and produced by actress/director, Mahogany Reynolds-Clarke, the show made its debut in the summer of 2016 at the Union County Performing Arts Center. Reynolds-Clarke is the founder and executive director of Just Be You Performing Arts, the Production Company that produces and runs the show. Initially, Reynolds-Clarke's vision was to create a fun open-mic comedy night for amateur stand-up comics, in the theatre's café. But after a few shows, "Cracking Up In Rahway" quickly evolved into a professionally produced show, featuring on the rise comics from across New Jersey.

"I am thrilled to produce a show that gives aspiring stand-up comics a great venue and a wonderful crowd to perform at. All the comics who participate in the show are totally awesome. Especially our female comics. One of whom is a working mom. I realize the challenges they face in the industry as women. My goal is to help them increase their exposure and maximize their talent," said Reynolds-Clarke.

Sarah Showfety, comedian/author, has performed in "Cracking Up In Rahway" since the first show, held in the lobby of UCPAC. The audience at the time was a small crowd, but that didn't stop Showfety from performing a hilarious set, that touched on topics from motherhood to being a female comedian. Showfety is the author of the funny book of antidotes; "Dear Baby, I'm Sorry: Apologies for Life's Parenting Fails".

"Cracking Up In Rahway is a great community of supportive, hard-working Jersey comics, and a fun local audience that I enjoy being a part of. Comedy continues to be male-dominated, so I enjoy bringing a different perspective and set of life experiences, that I think is refreshing and surprising for audiences. In terms of obstacles, as a female comic who is also a mom, I have faced some dismissiveness at times. Some question or disbelief around why I do comedy, that I don't know a man would face. But, it's just more reason to do my thing and be really good at it," said Showfety, also the author of the popular blog Dear Baby XO.

Another female comic, making her debut at "Cracking Up In Rahway", is Vernita Bostick, an up and coming comedian from New Jersey. She discovered the show on the comedy event website freemics.com and reached out to Reynolds-Clarke. Bostick performed at another Just Be You Performing Arts production in May 2016; to a sold-out crowd, that she had laughing out loud, to her witty and sassy style of comedy.

"This will be my first time on the show, but I performed at Reynolds-Clarke's 'Mother's Day Masquerade', and I enjoyed the intimate audience, and the ability to make both kids and their parents laugh. For 'Cracking Up In Rahway', people can expect to see a more adult focused show, where I'll talk about several topics that may drop your jaw, provoke stares of disbelief, and force you to laugh, whether you want to or not. Female comics are beautiful, intelligent strong, and just as funny (if not funnier) than men. Unfortunately, women are often viewed as inferior, but comedy allows female comics to level the playing field, by expressing our own unique thoughts and feelings about life. As a result, we have to work harder for our voices to be heard; and to be recognized in this heavily male-dominated field," said Bostick.

What makes "Cracking Up In Rahway" a unique show is the variety of acts. In addition to stand-up comics, the show's line-up consists of a sketch comedy/improv troupe; as well as, a comic magician. Reynolds-Clarke has also added an accountant to the show. Not to do taxes for the audience, but to perform. Ed Garber, an accountant with an office in Edison, New Jersey since 1994; will make his debut at the show on July 16.

"I'm excited about performing at 'Cracking Up In Rahway'. I will give the best set I have. Plus, a never seen before addition," said Garber, who also has a weekly radio talk show on ESPN and a bi-monthly Beatles radio show on WPAT 930 AM in New York City.

"I set out to create an affordable, fun show, with a unique line up of comics. Plus, a live vocal performance by aspiring New Jersey vocalist, Waylon James. As an artist myself, I know how challenging it is to develop your career. My mic is free. I don't believe in charging comics to perform. My goal is to help these artists expand and gain momentum. My show is only $10, because times are tough, and that's no joke," said Reynolds-Clarke.

Tickets for "Cracking Up In Rahway" can be purchased at www.ucpac.org/events. To see the complete line-up and pictures from their previous sold-out show in March at UCPAC, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/justbeyouperformingarts. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or cash only at the door.