Craig Geraghty's association with the Craic Fest goes way back to the days when it was known as the Film Fleadh when his debut feature "From Woodside, Queens" led to his first manager and agent.
That's the kind of association that makes the Craic Fest such a special event on the Irish calendar in the city, you can always catch new talent on the rise in every yearly presentation and be sure that talent will go far.
Hailing from Woodside, where he was the son of Irish immigrants, Geraghty, 49, now has recurring roles on HBO's "The Gilded Age," Showtime's "Ray Donovan," and Marvel's "Iron Fist." As a standup, he's played Caroline's on Broadway, The Comedy Store, and even the prestigious Carnegie Hall.
“Although these days I work predominantly as an actor,” Geraghty tells IrishCentral, “I started with stand up in 1996 at a place called Stand Up New York. Then I started doing improv, working with a group for a while until little by little I just started to act more.
"And when acting took over I did less and less of the stand-up. But I still, to this day I still write plenty of standup and make sure I get up enough times to keep my credibility.”
So what can fans expect on the night? “I think that it's just going to be a good time to help kick this whole event off. Terrence, the Craic Fest festival director, has lined up some great Irish and Irish American comedians.”
Geraghty's own long-running association with the festival is a thing that changed his life, he says. “I've had three short films that played at the Craic Fest. The first one was my first time really being the lead in something because I wrote it for myself. So I can trace back almost all the success I've had to that short film 'From Woodside, Queens,' which I look back on and see all the flaws but also see what it brought me.”
“I got my first manager, which led to my first agent, which led to my first paying job and it all goes back to that film. Even Bruce Springsteen cut me a break and allowed me to use three songs for free!”
These days people could use a good laugh, Geraghty adds.
“What I want to help them do is be able to get there and kind of exhale. That is what good comedy does. And then after they've heard some great jokes, then they'll get some great music.
"I think it's just an idea start to the 25th Craic Fest, which is a big deal in itself, and so you know we want to make it the best kind of kickoff on the night, making it an official start the start of St. Patrick's Day season."
Although Geraghty has recently moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he is co-raising his daughter, Woodside and New York City are forever in his blood, he says.
“My mother and father grew up in Woodside and I grew up in Woodside. And my daughter is not going to know about walking off the street and smelling a Donovan's cheeseburger from two blocks away. She's not going to know the sound of the 7 train. She won't be buying socks and underwear from a table set up outside of a bar on Roosevelt Avenue. She'll actually have to go into a store to buy clothes. I think she'll miss something.”
This is the kind of local detail that makes his standup so good, it's also a first-generation eye for the things that have become gold to them.
“I'm excited for her to have something different than I had,” Geraghty continues. “But I also lament what she won't have. I don't know if she will have the same closeness to her friends that I have. I'm still friends with the people I went to kindergarten with. That's the Woodside Irish immigrant experience for you. We don't forget.”
The Craic Music/Standup Fest concert will be held at Rockwood Music Hall on February 24 at 7 pm. Tickets are now available online. For more information or to book tickets, visit TheCraicFest.com.