Dani Zoldan, 42, is the owner of the Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY. “I used to frequent the club as a comedy fan in my teens and when I was 27, I purchased it with my high school buddy, Gabe,” says Zoldan, who lives on the Upper West Side. Dedicated to Jewish comedy, he’s also the co-founder of The Chosen Comedy Festival along with Jewish comedians Elon Gold and Modi Rosenfeld. Since their inaugural festival in Coney Island last summer, they’ve produced additional Jewish comedy festivals in Miami and Los Angeles.
For the full list of this year’s 36 to Watch — which honors leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making a difference in New York’s Jewish community — click here.
How does your Jewish identity or experience influence your work?
My Jewish identity influences my work in many ways, including having worked with comedians to create content and promote multiple Jewish causes. The Chosen Comedy Festival unites Jews from all backgrounds over a shared experience. We also carry kosher wine at the club!
Who is your New York Jewish hero?
Jon Stewart is up there for the tireless work he’s done advocating for more benefits for the families of the firefighters that died on 9/11. Also, performers that have entertained New Yorkers during difficult times, like Billy Joel after 9/11 and comedians during COVID.
What’s a fun/surprising fact about you?
I have an unhealthy obsession with cats. We have one at home and one at the club. We were renovating the club basement so I brought home our club cat, Bennett, during the construction. He never went back. I want a third but my wife will kick me to the curb if I bring home another one.
Do you have a favorite inspiring quote?
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin
What is your favorite place to eat Jewish food in New York?
Any place where I can get a good bagel and cream cheese. Is that Jewish food?
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What are 3 spots in NYC that all Jewish New Yorkers should visit?
A comedy club, obviously. Also, Zabar’s and the Yeshiva University campus.
How can people follow you online?
@danizoldan on Instagram
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