A week long festival celebrating people of color in comedy

The Harlem Comedy festival is a series comedy events, stand up showcases, and a competition happening all over Harlem annually the last week of September. 

Harlem has been an entertainment, arts, and culture hub for over one hundred years yet there’s never been a comedy festival celebrating the impact Harlem New York has had on the comedy world. There are currently twelve comedy festivals of all sorts happening all year long in the five boroughs of New York City and this is the only one taking place in the historic neighborhood of Harlem New York. 

Because of the lack of diversity in television and film. The Harlem Comedy Festival was founded to shine a light on the comedic talent that exists in our community that otherwise might go overlooked. And hopefully in turn inspire others to develop their own comedic skills and achieve their own goals.

Components of the Festival

  • 4 Stand-up Competition Events 

    • 15 competitors

    • Awards  1st Place $100/ 2nd Place $50/ 3rd Place $25 

  • Multiple All Star Showcases 

  • Improv Showcases

  • Finale Show

Executive Director

Neruda Williams

Black, and Colombian-American comedian, Neruda Williams was born and raised in Harlem, New York. After pursuing a B.A. in Media Studies at The New School University he began comedy in '08. He was Co-producer and co-host of the "Three A-Negroes" podcast, Co-producer of the "Under The Table Comedy Show" at New York Comedy Club, and Co-producer of the "Birthday Show" (formerly at the Creek and Cave) now at the The Stand and Standing Room Comedy Clubs.  

Community Liaison 

William Allen 

Manhattan Deputy Chief Clerk at New York City Board of Elections, Co-founder & Board Vicechair at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School and Lecturer in Leadership and Decisions in Crisis, Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. 

Creative Consultant

Frank Pellegrino

Executive Director of the Yonkers Comedy Festival 

Coree Spencer

Executive Director Cinder Block Comedy Festival 

Legal Counsel

Kristin Grant 

Grant Attorneys at Law PLLC

Alex Barnett

Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP

Art Direction

Geoffrey Krawczyk

Zach Garner 

Video Production

Brad Wagner

Ben Miller

HCF-2  2017


Nabe Harlem Restaurant & Lounge

Harlem Nights

Shrine World Music Venue

Harlem Heritage Tours

The National Black Theatre: Institute for Action Arts


The artists:

Shanna Christmas

Victor Varnado

Marquis Sadler

Quantel Brooks

Kenny Woo

Juannell Riley

Pudge Fernandez

Gabriel Pacheco

Zilla Vodnas

Melissa Diaz

Sharron Paul

Christian Polanco

Alex Carabaño




David Del Rosario

Momoh Pujeh 

Jim Search


Chemda Hennessy

Joe Hill

Frank Pellegrino

Modesto Jimenez



1st Place Winner: Alvin Irby

2nd Place Winner: Usama Siddiquee

3rd Place Winner: Mickey Housley

Kandyce August

Alex Fleming

Chewy May 

Thiago Macklin Lima

Sal Coladonato

Aaron Decker

Rhonda Hansome

Camille Theobald

Erick Hellwig

Khalif N. Boyer

Tina Barro

Maddy Smith


Mystery Blaxploitation Theatre 3000: 

Tammi Cubilette

Momoh Pujeh

Oniyide Francis

Daniel Ahrens


Finale show:

Hosted By: 

Rashad Bashir

The Nat Turner Revue

My Momma's Biscuits

Dejen Tesfagiorgis

HCF-1 2016


Angel of Harlem

Denny Moe's superstar barbershop

Gin Fizz Harlem 

The Corner Social

Harlem Nights

The National Black Theatre: Institute for Action Arts

Maysles Cinema

Word Up: Community Bookshop - Libreria Comunitaria


The Artists:

Nore Davis

Kerry Overfab Coddett

Pat Brown

Leighann Lord

Rell Battle

Darien Sills-Evans

Comedian Chris Clarke

Chloé A. Hilliard

Seaton C. Smith

Tim Alexander

Omar Thompson

Rondell Hartley

Calvin S. Cato

Le'Ronn McGowan


Astronomy Club

Affirmative Action


2AM Comedy 



 Keith Garsee

Coree Spencer

Marianne Ways

Jeffrey Gurian

Luisa Díez

Sean L McCarthy

Amy E Hawthorne



1st Place WINNER: Pedro Gonzalez

Adrian Davidson

Benel Germosen

Victoria Hoffman

Katie Barbaro

Sam Mushman 

Mike Brown

Peaches Rodriguez

Janet Hyde

Laura Michelle

Tom Delgado

Daniel Ahrens

Carl Samuels

Melissa Diaz

Ashley Gavin

Shanna Christmas


21 Years & up to be eligible  

Register @

Videos should be between no more than 6min minutes long.
Not everyone who submits gets chosen. Submissions are non-refundable, so make sure you're eligible before you submit.
In the "video" field, do not use the "embed" code - use the URL for the video.
Early submission $15 Deadline 7/1/18. 

Submission $20 Deadline 8/1/18. 

Late submission $25  Deadline 8/25/18

Selections will be announced by 9/3/18.

1st place winner $100

2nd place winner $50

3rd place winner $2