Williamsburg’s Cinder Block Comedy Festival charges straight, white guys more

Bro away! New comedy fest charging straight, white guys more to apply

Brooklyn Paper
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Did you hear the one about the comedy festival that is charging straight, white dudes more to apply?

There is no punchline — just the set-up of a new Williamsburg gala, whose organizers are hoping the gimmick will attract a more diverse lineup of performers than the average bro-median heavy bill.

“The discount is a tongue-in-cheek way of inviting people who may have been previously booked as the token comic to have a spotlight on them as well,” said Coree Spencer of the Cinder Block Comedy Festival, which will run across several yet-to-be-determined venues from Sept. 15–18.

Stand-ups and sketch troupes who are women, people of color, disabled, transgender, or queer can pay $19.25 to apply for a slot in the fest through the end of March. Starting in April, straight, white able-bodied guys can apply as well — but they’ll have to shell out for the “regular” sticker price of $25.

The small markdown — a nod to the 77-cents-on-the-dollar nationwide pay gap between men and women — is mostly for laughs, Spencer said. And Cinder Block applicants won’t actually have to offer any proof of their minority cred — although they will have to submit headshots with their submission.

“This isn’t Trump’s America,” she said. “We don’t need to know everything about you.”

But Spencer does think the stunt will have a serious impact on the final festival by catching the attention of comedians who wouldn’t otherwise apply.

“You need to go out of your way to attract diverse comics,” she said. “Women, people of color, and everybody we’re offering the discount to — those people don’t apply to festivals, and we’re giving them a reason to.”

Spencer isn’t the first borough joker to proffer facetious mark-downs for minority groups. Mo Fathelbab, the owner of Williamsburg’s Experiment Comedy Gallery, famously offers free admission to fellow Muslims who can recite the opening verse of the Koran — though it is mostly a middle-finger to presidential candidate Donald Trump and his views on Islam than an actual policy.

But Fathelbab — who will host a few of the Cinder Block shows at his club — says he hopes Spencer’s shtick helps break down real barriers in the comedy scene.

“There’s some sort of wall that’s being built around people that are not the norm right now,” he said. “People are regressing, so it’s good she’s doing this.”

Comics can apply to the Cinder Block Comedy festival at

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Zed from Nyack says:
Ahhh. Equality and understanding. Way to make the divide even bigger Coree Spencer.
March 3, 2016, 11:58 am
Spencerelle from Greenpoint says:
No Coree Spencer, you are not cool.
March 3, 2016, 12:39 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
A violation of state and federal law. Hope that get sued.
March 3, 2016, 3:39 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
White liberals are the most racist divisive people of all.
March 3, 2016, 6:50 pm
Tallyho says:
She's not a white liberal. She's an adolescent.
March 3, 2016, 7:14 pm
John S. from The Woodlands says:
Does that mean businesses run by whote guys can charge her a twenty three percent premium.? You know, all in good fun.
March 4, 2016, 8:15 am
Janet from Crown Heights says:
As a comedian, I guess Coree Spencer doesn't realize the joke is on her.
March 4, 2016, 9:45 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
I hate effin' moonbats
March 4, 2016, 12:58 pm
NicRoy says:
——ing Sexist Racism. White Men are the new discriminated racial minority. Equality for All. So sad too see continued bigotry in this age.
March 6, 2016, 5:49 pm
NicRoy says:
Sorry about your "white" abusing father.
March 6, 2016, 6:04 pm
Connie s from Washington says:
Proud of you ..stand up do this ..just a bunch of sniveling sissies!
March 7, 2016, 10:53 pm
NicRoy says:
Proud of you,. telling us your name, where you live, and what you look like, you dumb Kuunt..
March 8, 2016, 2:10 am
Marianne from Al says:
About time straight white men got a taste of their own medicine..this should be extended.
March 13, 2016, 4:43 am

Comments closed.

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