Stand-up comedy films set to hit theaters

Caroline Rhea will host seven live-recorded features

NEW YORK -- How about experiencing a night of Big Apple stand-up comedy on the big screen to take your mind off the recession -- without a two-drink minimum!?

The programming network arm of cinema advertising firm Screenvision has partnered with production firm Waggingtail Entertainment for seven original stand-up features set to hit theaters across the U.S. starting in May under the series title "Stand-Up 360."

Caroline Rhea serves as the lead host of the live-recorded features, which typically include 100-plus minutes each of stand-up from six headline and up-and-coming comedians as well as behind-the-scenes footage.

The "Stand-Up 360" series also includes special-theme presentations, such as two "Muy Caliente" editions, featuring Latino talent and hosted by Erik Rivera, and "Inside Out," headlined by popular gay and lesbian comics.

Among the featured comics in the series are Roz G, Judy Gold, Godfrey, Modi, Poppi Kramer and Wali Collins.

"Muy Caliente" includes Angelo Lozada, Cristela Alonzo and Sara Contreras, while "Inside Out" puts the spotlight on such performers as Jackie Hoffman, Frank DeCaro, Jaffe Cohen, Hedda Lettuce and Michele Balan.

Carmike Cinemas is among the exhibitors that has scheduled the shows. The circuit will feature some airings on typically slower boxoffice weeknights as well as in late-night spots.

Waggingtail is run by producer Bryan Bantry. Working with him on "Stand-Up 360" are comedy consultant and former comedy talent representative Eric Hanson and Broadway producer Michael Rosenberg.

"Screenvision is committed to providing a range of alternative content entertainment, from documentaries to concerts and sporting events and now in-theater comedy," said Darryl Schaffer, executive vp exhibitor relations at Screenvision. "'Stand-Up 360' will provide moviegoers with unparalleled comedic entertainment that has great potential to be a hit with theater audiences on a national level."

Producer Bantry added: "New York comedy clubs are to stand-up comedy what Broadway is to theater -– the place to see the absolute best performers. Now, we can deliver the experience of a New York club closer to home and at a great price."

He also argued that the big screen will be a popular way for fans of comedy to consume "Stand-Up 360." "Bringing the experience to a cinema keeps the audience dynamic an integral part of the mix while presenting favorite comedians uncensored and without commercial breaks," he said.