What does it take to make it as a comedian?
As founder and owner of the world-renowned comedy nightclub that bears her name, and as the reigning queen of the New York comedy scene for the past twenty-five years, Caroline Hirsch has consistently proven herself as an entrepreneur, visionary and innovator in the entertainment industry. As one of the country’s most popular destinations for live entertainment, Carolines on Broadway stands as the crowning achievement of Hirsch’s illustrious career.
Hirsch’s storied career in comedy began in 1982 when she opened a small cabaret club in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. With the popularity of stand-up comedy on the rise, she began booking comedians – including such then-unknowns as Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Sandra Bernhard, Pee Wee Herman, Billy Crystal, and, later, Chris Rock -- to perform at her club.
In 1987, Caroline moved the club to the South Street Seaport where it became a full-fledged comedy nightclub, the first of its genre to offer high-quality entertainment and equally excellent food in a sophisticated, upscale environment. In order to meet the growing demand for business, Hirsch moved her club uptown where it has played an integral part in the revitalization of Times Square.
In November 2004, Hirsch launched the New York Comedy Festival (www.nycomedyfestival.com), a weeklong comedy festival that features comedy’s biggest stars performing in New York’s most prestigious venues.
Hirsch serves as a board member of The Creative Coalition and implemented the highly successful Stand-Up for Class program in both the New York City and Los Angeles public school systems. She is also a board member of the Times Square Alliance (formerly the Times Business Improvement District); NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism marketing organization; the board of The Association for the Help of Retarded Children; and the national advisory board of Count Me In, a micro lending organization for women. Additionally, she formerly sat on the board of the Ms. Foundation. During her tenure with the organization Hirsch was instrumental in launching the Take Our Daughters To Work program.
Hirsch also just stepped from behind the scenes and into the spotlight to co-host a new weekly segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America NOW,” which can be seen on ABC Online and on its cable network ABC News NOW. The segment, called “Carolines on Good Morning America NOW” features lively discussions with many of the top comedians who perform at her club.
A unique voice and material, material, material, says Hirsch.
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- Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
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