'Top-Shelf' Comedians Takes Stage On North Fork — For A Good Cause – Patch
NORTH FORK, NY — The sound of laughter will echo Saturday in Southold throughout a beautiful structure, once a church, then an opera house, and now a beacon of hope for the needy — as a new comedy series aimed at delighting audiences and giving back unfolds.
“Bogey’s Comedy Night at CAST,” the next event in the “CAST Presents Art & Culture” series, takes place Saturday at the Treiber Gathering Hall, located at 53930 Main Road in Southold. A reception, which includes beer and wine, takes place at 7 p.m. The show begins at 8 p.m. and features emcee Stephen Donavan, feature act Erin Maguire, and headliner Rachel Feinstein.
The show is presented by “North Fork Comedy,” a new comedy venture produced and co-founded by DC Benny and Jim O’Doherty.
Benny spoke with Patch about how the idea for the comedy events was born. He and his wife Kristina Ivy — Dr. Kristina Ivy owns the RICA Bath + Body Shop in Greenport and the two also own the rental bungalow, Lake, Sand + Sound — were called by the siren song of the North Fork.
“I always felt like the North Fork was a secret place with the best of everything,” he said. “I remember doing a comedy tour in the Middle East, sitting on a beach in Tel Aviv, between shows, a beautiful beach, one of the nicest I’ve ever seen, and the whole time I was sitting there, I was thinking about McCabe’s Beach in Southold. That’s how much I love this place. The only thing that was missing for me was stand-up comedy.”
Benny is a comedian who has spent years honing his craft.
“Making people laugh is what makes my heart tick,” he said. “How do I bring the thing I love to do most to the place I love most? I have 35 years of working with the funniest people in the world, because to me New York is the comedy mecca, and I wanted to bring those folks out here to experience this place and to give the people out here something they couldn’t get — bring a new entertainment option to the table, top-shelf comedians.”
Benny said he’d seen a few shows at vineyards “where comedy felt like it was sort of in the background. And to me, there was an opening for tightly produced, well-booked, next level comedy shows that, like anything really good, people would want more of.”
And so the dream was born.
“I’d started doing small dinner shows at Erik’s,” a cafe in Southold. “Erik would cook amazing dinners, and flex his 5-star chef muscles, and then we’d have an intimate comedy show. It was a great vibe and every single one sold out,” Benny said. “The community came to support, and those shows were one of the things I’m most proud of.”
Then, Covid hit and stages were dark for years.
“Between that, and Erik’s busy schedule, we took a break and started looking for a new venue. During this time I partnered up with a friend I met in Los Angeles, Jim O Doherty, an Emmy-award winning writer/producer who lives out here,” Benny said. “One missing piece that we both wanted was a way to give back to the community beyond providing the laughs.”
The pair approached Cathy Demeroto, the executive director of Community Action of Southold Town, an organization that’s been founded upon the principle of “neighbors helping neighbors” on the North Fork for years.
“We approached Cathy at CAST, and pitched her the idea,” and soon, the vision began to take shape, Benny said.
“CAST launched an arts and culture program in early 2022 and comedy nights are a great way to open our doors to the community for fun and laughter while supporting an important cause — our neighbors in need,” Demeroto said.
“Jim and I always admired CAST’s dedication and hard work helping the disadvantaged —which we both once were— and this partnership became the missing piece, a way to give back to the place we both love and to do it the best we know how, with laughter,” Benny said.
The pair has found humor and joy in preparing for the shows. They write about the laughter found in the everyday on the North Fork.
“Things like traffic stopping for turtles, or farm stand prices, or $80,000 pickup trucks with nothing to pick up but Dunkin’ Donuts, or hipsters from Brooklyn hoarding avocados at IGA,” Benny said. “Then we bring up the comedians who do their acts, and it’s a great contrast — a nice surf and turf of local and ‘imported.'”
The CAST shows have had “amazing turnouts, great responses and feedback, and the comedians we get are the best of the best,” Benny said.
Headliners including Marina Franklin, Rachel Fienstein, Andrew Kennedy, Vanessa Hollingshead have headed east for the shows.
“These are the guys sitting at the table with Chris Rock and Jerry S. and Colin Quinn and Amy Schumer at the Comedy Cellar in the Village,” Benny said. “These are the guys headlining Caroline’s on Broadway, The Comic Strip, Gotham Comedy Club, and every club in the city. You just didn’t get to see talent like that out here before, and now you can — and you are supporting a great cause by doing so.”
Next up, the pair is planning “The Dirty Dogs Of Comedy” show, an adult humor showcase benefitting the animal shelters on the North Fork.
“It’s still in the works, but it’s coming,” Benny said.
Tickets for Saturday’s show cost $75 and can be purchased here.
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