The 2020 New York Comedy Festival Is Canceled

Jon Stewart at the 13th annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit in 2019. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation

The coronavirus has claimed another comedy festival. Today it was announced that the New York Comedy Festival, which was originally slated to take place from November 9-15, will now be “postponed,” according to the press release, until next November due to safety concerns during the pandemic. The NYCF is essentially canceling this year’s event and has now rescheduled dates for November 8-14 in 2021.

“While we were looking forward with great enthusiasm to bringing the very best comedy talent and fans from around the country and the world to New York City this fall, the circumstances presented by the pandemic will prevent us from doing so,” Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of the NYCF and Carolines on Broadway, said in the release. “This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but after extensive discussions with the creative community, our partners, sponsors and venues, we came to the unanimous decision that it would not be possible to try to bring the talent and fans together in New York City in a safe manner. Our top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our fans, talent and everyone involved in the festival.”

The NYCF isn’t the only comedy festival to be postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus this year. In March, Netflix decided to cancel its first-ever comedy festival, the Netflix Is a Joke Fest, which was set to take place throughout Los Angeles in late April and early May. In April, the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which was scheduled to run throughout August, was also canceled. Soon after, Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival announced that it postponed the annual event, which was slated to take place in July. JFL is now scheduled to run from September 29 through October 11. In a July press release, JFL said the plan remains the same, but instead of live performances, the festival will run online for the first time in its 38-year history. The release called it “an opportunity to rethink how comedy festivals can operate in a virtual space.”

The 2020 New York Comedy Festival Is Canceled