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INTERVIEW: Caroline Hirsch On Bringing Carolines On Broadway To The Beach

Nicole Barylski

Alex Guarnaschelli is a featured comedian. (Photo: Squire Fox)

On Friday, August 5th, Caroline Hirsch of Carolines on Broadway is bringing the legendary comedy club on the road for Carolines @ The Beach, a special show at Guild Hall in East Hampton featuring Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli, Karen Bergreen, and Yamaneika Saunders.

Caroline Hirsch. (Courtesy Photo)

We caught up with Hirsch to learn more about the hysterical happening.

I have to start off by asking do you consider yourself a comedian?

CH: No, I'm not a comedian. I'm the producer of comedians. That's what I've been doing for over 30 years now.

I read that Carolines on Broadway began as a small cabaret club. Why did you transition to comedy?

CH: Well, it was a cabaret venue for less than a year. We transitioned into comedy when we brought in Jay Leno and found out that that was really working. There was a trend going on in the 80s and comedy was just about starting to bud. There was a group of comedians in their 30s that were really up-and-coming.

What do you believe are some of the factors that have helped turn Carolines on Broadway into the iconic venue it is today?

Yamaneika Saunders. (Courtesy Photo)

CH: I think it's lasting power. When you're around for 30 years people get to know the name, and what you stand for, and the quality of shows.

Do you have a most memorable show?

CH: In 2003 we did the 20th anniversary of Carolines at Carnegie Hall and it was very memorable because it brought back a lot of the comedians that I worked with early on, like John Stewart and Lewis Black and Denis Leary. They came together at Carnegie Hall for the wonderful event.

Which comedian do you get most excited about welcoming to Carolines on Broadway?

CH: We've always worked with so much talent. I can't say that I have a favorite.

Who is at the top of your list of performers to book that hasn't appeared at Carolines on Broadway?

CH: What happens is we work with comics when they're about to break. When they come to Carolines that means a lot for their career. That means that they can really sell out a club. It's a big "notch on your belt" about where your career is going to go.

Karen Bergreen. (Courtesy Photo)

Where did the idea for Carolines @ The Beach come from?

Many years ago I used to produce shows at Guild Hall. So, I decided I wanted to do a show "at the beach." I'm working with Alex Guarnaschelli on something that she did with us at the New York Comedy Festival. She has this storytelling about her career in the food industry. Alex has been working very, very hard on her comedy routine.

The evening will also feature Karen Bergreen and Yamaneika Saunders.

Karen I've known for a long time. She is a lawyer that started to do comedy. She's a really, really great crowd pleaser and I think she's perfect for us. Yamaneika was a regular on The Meredith Vieira Show. She did a lot of comedy sketches with Meredith. When they needed a comedic voice, they called on Yamaneika to be a part of it. I'm excited to have her. She's a well-seasoned performer. She's very good at her craft and I'm excited to introduce her to the crowd out here.

And I hear Vince August will host.

He's another lawyer. I've seen a lot of lawyers give up practicing to do comedy. We works a lot at Carolines, he's a real crowd pleaser.

So will this be a typical stand-up show?

Yes, with added value of Alex Guarnaschelli doing her comedy bit.

Carolines @ The Beach will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $75 and $33 to $70 for Guild Hall members.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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