Arts & Entertainment

Meet Big Rich From Jersey, Founder of Garden State Comedy

August 18, 2013 at 8:51 PM

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Rich McDonald, a.k.a. "Big Rich From Jersey" is a man on a mission.  Not only is McDonald a seasoned sergeant with the West Orange Police Department, he's also an Improvisational and standup comic who recently launched, a website that provides information for comedy fans to get information on live comedy shows in New Jersey, and provide a place to showcase videos and articles on the best and brightest comedians in the Garden State.

McDonald began working with the WOPD in 2000, and has been a sergeant since 2005.  He is currently assigned as records bureau commander and accreditation manager. In 2009, as part of his yearly "new goals and resolutions" McDonald decided to learn how to do improvisational comedy.  He began honing his craft at The New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts in Bloomfield and has continued to enjoy performing in front of thousands of people.  With close ties to the community, McDonald also performs at fundraisers for organizations like the American Cancer Society and benefits for children with life-threatening illnesses.

As he built his confidence with Improv, McDonald decided to start his own standup comedy routine in 2010. Since then, he has performed in major New York clubs like New York Comedy Club, Greenwich Village Comedy Club, and Broadway Comedy Club. He most recently performed at the Cape May Comedy Festival, being chosen out of hundreds of comedians to compete in a national stand-up contest. He has also opened for acts like Jim Gaffigan, Uncle Floyd, Todd Barry and Rev. Bob Levy.
"Big Rich" prefers keep his stand-up routines clean and relatable for audiences of all ages.  His comedy focuses on life in New Jersey, being divorced and childless amid his married friends with children, and his unhealthy relationship with his best friend - his dog.  He also comments on life as a police officer.
In 2011, McDonald added acting to his resume, performing in several web series and local theater.  He was also cast in an independent film "Eternal Damn Nation," which was recently featured in three film festivals.

Looking to expand the concept of comedy, in 2012, McDonald co-founded the Dumb Kids In The Back Comedy Troupe, which combines both improv stand up comedy in a unique way. The group has been accepted into three different national improv festivals to date.
As if all this was not enough, McDonald launched the website in the spring of 2013 and has begun to produce local comedy shows at places like Egan' in West Orange, SuzyQues, and Starlite Restaurant,bringing headliners from New York to the suburbs of West Orange.

Rich McDonald and Garden State Comedy will be hosting a free event on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Egan's at 104 Harrison Ave. in West Orange. The Stars Under the Stars outdoor comedy show begins at 8:30 p.m. and will be headlined by Mark Normand, who was most recently seen performing on Conan O’Brien on TBS and was featured as a “Fresh Face” at the world’s most famous comedy festival, the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.   Mark has also been seen on Comedy Central’s John Oliver stand up show and Inside Amy Schumer. He has been named by Time Out NY as one of “The lynch pins of comedy”, by Esquire as one of the Hottest Comics of 2012, and by Comedy Central as a Comic to Watch in 2011.

The other performers on the card include West Orange resident Kevin Garifo, (The Stress Factory), Joe Carney (MTV, TruTV, and ID), and Jerrold Benford (Levity Live).

For Rich McDonald, police sergeant, comedian, and actor, it's all in a day's work.  

Go to  to see what the fuss is all about. You can "like"  the Garden State Comedy Facebook page at‎.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Deadline Announced for 2017 Essex County Legacies Writing Contest

January 14, 2017

ESSEX COUNTY AREA, NJ — The deadline for Essex County seniors to submit an original story focusing on a special person, life-changing experience or significant period of their life to the 2017 Essex County Legacies Writing Contest is Monday, March 27.

Seniors ages 60 and older are encouraged to participate, as Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo these individuals have led ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, January 17, 7:30 AM

Apa Hotel Woodbridge, Iselin

ACG Breakfast Meeting January 17, 2017

Business & Finance Food & Drink


Thu, January 19, 12:00 PM

Convene Midtown East, New York

ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit

Business & Finance Food & Drink

Thu, January 19, 7:00 PM

Fire Station #5, West Orange

West Orange CERT Monthly Meeting

Giving Back

Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Offers Summer Internships for High School Juniors

January 10, 2017

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray announced this week that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (ECPO) is seeking high school juniors to participate in the ECPO’s annual summer internship program.

The five-week program is designed to expose high school students to careers in law, law enforcement and government. The summer internship program will ...

Man vs. Waze

A lot of strange cars are traveling through my quiet neighborhood these days.  They are not driven by my neighbors.  Some mornings I even have trouble getting out of my driveway.  


Ever since bridge repair closed a major thoroughfare near my house, the traffic on my sleepy street has increased dramatically.  And it is not by accident that commuters have figured out ...