Palm Coast, FL – Tackling a bucket list wish item a decade ago, Cristy Barnett Barrick has gone from funny business to Flagler’s First Lady of Comedy.
Sitting in the green room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday night, Barrick is finalizing the last minute touches as she prepares to host the very first comedy show in the hotel’s ballroom.
It’s a common occurrence in big cities and a mainstay in places like Las Vegas to have live entertainment at the hotels.
But in a sleepy community where nightlife winds down in most areas of town by 9 pm or so, Thursday night’s 7 pm show was sold out and Barrick fielded calls from friends looking for tickets to the late show at 9:30, before welcoming her headliner and kicking off a night of high energy entertainment.
Christy B’s love of comedy began at an early age and she recalls seeing Rita Rudner on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson at the age of 14.
“I just fell in love with her – she was elegant, gorgeous dress, and she just talked and made people laugh, and I was like ‘I just want to do that’,“ said Barrick. “I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh.”
As an adult, personal changes in her life led the Palm Coast resident hundreds of miles away to Atlanta, Georgia where she talked her way onto the stage at The Punchline, a dream beginning for the mom of three.
“I got up there and nailed it, and it was the greatest feeling in the world,” she said.
A confidence booster, she skipped rehearsing for her second show, and when the lights went up, she went down, and shelved her jokes for over a year.
Getting back on the horse with the help of St. Augustine comedy queen Jackie Knight, Barrick found her place in the spotlight and developed her talent for booking talent.
“Jackie Knight has been a big influence on comedy, running rooms and booking for a long time. She’s been a big part of me learning how to do what I’m doing now,” said the owner of Cristy B. Comedy Productions, LLC.
Later, working with Nick Kimble at Fuego del Mar to start comedy nights in Flagler Beach, she’s followed it up by creating a long-running comedy night on last Wednesday of every month at Break-Aways, and expanded it with a recent addition of open mic nights on the first and third Wednesdays.
Fast-forward to 2021, and her relationships built over the past seven years have begun to yield fruitful returns including booking a big name for Florida’s northeast circuit featuring global funny man Carlos Mencia for 31 Supper Club in Ormond Beach, and America’s Got Talent national touring comedian Preacher Lawson to fill seats on Thursday in Palm Coast.
“This year I decided I’m going to bring them here,” she said, and local venues are eager to welcome them.
Ryan Crabb, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn, was excited to host the live entertainment, and on Thursday night the atmosphere was electric as patrons headed in for an evening of laughter.
“We are super excited. We’ve never done anything like this,” he said, looking to the future. “We can start drawing people from other cities and bringing out of town people to Flagler County and to our hotel.”
Arriving in his red Tesla, headlining comedian Preacher Lawson said he was glad to be back in the Central Florida region.
“I’m really excited to be here because they love to laugh in this area,” said Lawson.
“I used to perform here a lot when I was in Florida. When I wasn’t on the road and I would stay in Orlando, they would give me a lot of stage time in this area, so it’s really cool to come back here and have a little bit of a name, and get to do some jokes.”
Thursday’s family-friendly show featured comedians from Orlando and Tampa to warm up audiences for Lawson, and as she stood at the back of the room and watched the audience shake with laughter, she knew the night had been a success.
“When I’m standing in a room full of people, laughing and having a good time, that’s my second favorite part,” said Barrick.
Visit www.cristybcomedy.com for upcoming show schedules.
Featured Photo: Comedienne Cristy B hosts national comedy artist Preacher Lawson at the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Coast on Thursday evening with the help of hotel general manager Ryan Crabb.