The first annual Irish American Comedy & Film Fleadh is bringing the finest comedic minds from Ireland to the US this Saturday, March 11 as a partnership between the Count Basie Center in Red Bank, New Jersey and The Dublin International Comedy Film Festival (DCIFF).

For the Irish American Comedy & Film Fleadh, the DCIFF has curated eight short comedy films that will make their debut in an American cinema.

The event, which kicks off at the Basie Center Cinemas in Red Bank, NJ on March 11 at 6:30 pm, will also feature a live comedy set by Irish comedienne Katie Boyle, who will spin yarns about living and dating in The Big Apple, her adopted home. 

SATURDAY NIGHT! We team with out friends at @dublin_comedy and comedian @katieboylecomic for our first-ever #IrishAmerican Comedy + Film #Fleadh at @basiecinemas in downtown #RedBank! Tickets here:

— Basie Center Cinemas (@basiecinemas) March 6, 2023

For The Count Basie Center's Chief Marketing Officer Jon Vena, the partnership with the DICFF was a no-brainer.

“We are seeing people slowly making their way back to the theater to see films,” he says. “You’re always competing with streamers and the comfort of your couch, so a special event like this is a great way to engage the film buffs. The Irish community in this area is also very supportive of the arts.” 

Vena is excited to bring great Irish programming to 'The Basie' in March and beyond: “Rhythm of the Dance: National Dance Company of Ireland” takes place on March 8, Irish American comedienne Kathleen Madigan is on March 10, and Clannad’s farewell tour happens on September 15. For the full list of shows, check out The Basie’s lineup online here.

The Irish are known worldwide for their humor, yet a film festival in Ireland dedicated to comedy didn’t exist until filmmaker Mo O’Connell launched the festival back in 2020.

“I am a filmmaker myself, and I noticed that dramas were favored in the film festivals that I attended,” O’Connell recalls. “Comedies rarely won awards, yet there were brilliant actors, writers, and performers doing amazing work.

"I had an idea to do a film festival just for comedy and passed the idea around to the film festival community here in Dublin. Everyone would say, ‘yeah, that’s a brilliant idea,” but no one ever did anything about it, so I just tried it out.” 

O’Connell had the initial Dublin International Comedy Film Festival in 2020, right after the pandemic hit. She focused on spotlighting short films under 30 minutes in length, and the response was overwhelming.

“We got hundreds of entries from all around the world, making this a truly international festival,” she says. Filmmakers from all over the United States and the UK joined the Irish entries. We had comedians like Joe Rooney ("Father Ted") from Ireland join the festival over Zoom, we had Q&A sessions with writers and directors, and it turned out to be a brilliant event! 

O’Connell reasons it was because of the pandemic’s dark days that a comedy festival did so well. “You could tell people weren’t really interested in dramas at the end of the week, they just wanted to laugh.” 

O’Connell and the Dublin International Comedy Film Festival panel have curated the laughs with eight short comedy films, to including “Rip to the Rescue,” a riotous confrontation between an American pilot and an Irish mammy protecting her smitten daughter. 

Trailers for all of the films and ticket information for the Irish American Comedy & Film Fleadh can be found online here