For a decade now, some of the funniest comedians in the world and rockers like Bruce Springsteen have asked New Yorkers to "Stand-Up For Heroes."
Together, they've raised more than $45 million for charities benefiting veterans. The event is part of the New York Comedy Festival that has broadened the influence of Caroline Hirsch, who started the club that bears her name: Carolines on Broadway.
Recently, I stood on the stage where so many careers have been made and asked her, "What does a comic have to have to make magic here?"
"You have to have your own voice," she responded, "and through that voice the people in the audience, this community that comes to see you gets what you're talking about on-stage."
Tracy Morgan started performing here before fame came, and here is where he came back to perform after he survived a near fatal accident. In 2016, we met him at Carolines and heard him tell us: there "was a time in my life right after the accident when I didn't think I was ever gonna be here again."
Caroline has nurtured so many comedians she's often called 'The Mother Hen' of comedy, and she told me her compassion began at an early age in Flatbush when she had to help raise, "two disabled brothers, and I had to help a lot so with that I became very independent."
It is that self-sufficiency which has helped her club a fixture in Times Square and part of a renaissance of stand-up comedy.
"This is such a rich, rich art right now," and she reminded me that, "between social media, between cable, between streaming. I mean comedy is the thing."
Proof of what she's saying just came on Instagram. Kevin Hart posted an old performance at Carolines showing him at 19 and asking, "where does the time go?" It's been viewed more than 2.8 million times!!!
Check it out here: