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Big Terrific reunites Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate, and Max Silvestri at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Los Angeles comics return to their homeland

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s bigger and bound to be even terrific-er.

Big Terrific, arguably the best free weekly comedy show in the city, is celebrating its fifth birthday with an event at the 425-seat Music Hall of Williamsburg, a much larger venue than the series’ usual space at Cameo, located behind a cozy bar down the block.

Despite the $15-tickets for this special show, the vibe will be fairly similar, said Brooklyn-based comedian Max Silvestri.

“We wanted it to feel as an audience member that you’re at a fun party,” said Silvestri, who will have his friends host the March 15 evening with him — which will be a refreshing return to form for the show.

Though Big Terrific was originally hosted by three comedians — Silvestri, Gabe Liedman, and Jenny Slate (of “Bored to Death” and “Saturday Night Live”) — Liedman and Slate since moved to Los Angeles, leaving Silvestri to fend for himself every Wednesday night.

But on birthday of the show, Slate and Liedman are returning, and bringing along special guests, as well, proving the borough has come a long way since they started the series about seven years ago, when comedians rarely performed in Brooklyn. Back then, Slate, Liedman, and Silvestri were all regulars at an East Village alt-comedy venue called Rififi, but even prior to the venue’s closing, the Brooklyn-based comedians wondered why they had to leave the borough to perform.

“Why are we doing a show in the Lower East Side where none of us live when there’s this venue three blocks from here?” Silvestri said of their discussions then.

The three friends eventually decided to start doing a show together at the Williamsburg venue Sound Fix in 2007 — moving to Cameo after Sound Fix closed in 2009.

Things changed again last year when Silvestri’s co-hosts moved to LA, giving him more to do each week, but that isn’t the hardest part, he said.

“The main thing is that I really miss hanging out with Gabe and Jenny,” said Silvestri. “My favorite part of the show was always just sitting on the side of the stage with them. I just do that alone now.”

“Big Terrific Fifth Anniversary“ at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 638–4400, www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com]. March 15, 8 pm, $15 advance, $20 doors.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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