Comedy Central partners for N.Y. fest

Carlos Mencia, Sarah Silverman part of lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Comedy Central has signed on as the national TV partner for the fall's fifth annual New York Comedy Festival.

The multiyear partnership was unveiled Wednesday as the festival announced a chunk of its talent lineup, including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.

Comedy Central will produce a special at the festival that will premiere in early 2009, provide digital-media support and look for other content opportunities.

NYCF co-founder Caroline Hirsch, who also owns the venerable Carolines on Broadway comedy club, said the Comedy Central partnership will "extend the festival's audience even further and provide even more content and programming."

Comedy Central helped with the original launch of the festival in a smaller and more passive role. "Now we are committing to a much bigger push on air, off air, online and production-wise," said Mitch Fried, senior vp promotion marketing at Comedy Central.

The NYCF mainly targets consumers with shows at such major Big Apple venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Apollo Theater and Carolines.

It also will again feature panel discussions -- on the schedule this year is one with the writers from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and another with "the most insightful and hilarious political minds working today."

The festival is produced by Carolines and United Entertainment Group. Presenting sponsors include News Corp.'s MySpace, the New York Post and the local Fox and MyNetworkTV stations and Time Out New York.