Friday 5: Comic Relief + A FREE! copy of 7Upper: Writing from Riker’s Island

Need a good laugh? This Tuesday, June 4, you can get your chuckle on at Inside Jokes: A NYWC Benefit Comedy Show at Gotham Comedy Club.  All proceeds support NY Writers Coalition’s Justice Writing Program, which serves writers in New York City prisons and jails and those rebuilding their lives as they re-enter society. The show features Angelo LozadaEddie BrillShaina Feinberg (a NYWC workshop leader!), Mark NormandMike Vecchione, and Rena Zager! In honor of Inside Jokes, this week’s Friday 5 delivers the punch line with some of the most influential comedians of our time.

As our number 5 funny man, Bill Cosby said, “You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” Cosby’s style of comedy worked to pull his audience together by poking fun at the things we share instead of separating one another by race, creed, and color. He single-handily defined a generation and touched people’s hearts with “The Cosby Show.”


Rodney Dangerfield


Even though our number 4 comedian famously “don’t get no respect!” his monologues are nothing less of hysterical. Rodney Dangerfield’s self-deprecating style of comedy gives life to the idiom ‘never take yourself too seriously’. It also spawned a generation of comedians including, Roseanne, Chris Rock and Jim Carrey, all of whom performed in the comedians namesake club, Dangerfield’s.




Lucille Ball


Even though our number 3 isn’t known for stand-up comedy, no list would be complete without America’s original funny woman, Lucille Ball. With five decades in film under her belt, Lucy has had one of the longest running careers in Hollywood. Determined to make it big, in 1948 she and husband, Desi Arnaz toured as a vaudeville act. Lucy playing the zany housewife and Desi starring as her husband the musician who is always trying to keep her out of his hair and his shows. The tour was a hit and “I Love Lucy” was born.




Lenny Bruce


Our number 2 is often referred to as the grandfather of stand-up comedy. Lenny Bruce introduced us to free-form comedy. While his style of comedy was obscure it also pushed the limits, had no boundaries and set forth the groundwork for comedians like Richard Pryor and George Carlin.






Bill Hicks

Lastly, but certainly not least, our number 1 reminds us “it’s just a ride.” Bill Hicks was undeniably funny but his comedy also discussed current events and issues in our society. From politics to personal issues Hicks was nothing short of controversial but there was always a lesson to be learned in his stand-up routines. Listening to his comedic delivery many of his fans have compared his style to having an honest conversation with a friend. Hicks challenged the balance of power as often as he could.


7Upper-Thumb31Whether you’ve been reminiscing or Googling these classic acts, your funny bone is all warmed up and ready for Tuesday!  You can purchase your tickets to Inside Joke here — and to give you peek inside NYWC’s Justice Writing Program and the incredible cause you’re supporting, click here to download your FREE! copy of 7Upper: Writing from Riker’s Island through the Fortune Society, published by NY Writers Coalition Press.

See you at the show! 


  1. daniellesmith says

    Thank you, Tory!!

  2. Such a great Friday 5, Danielle! Love these choices. And the Cosby quote is gold.