The city Department of Education hosted a two-day comedy event this month at an Upper West Side theater that costs about $3,600 per night to rent out — while schools still face massive budget cuts amid the city’s ongoing migrant crisis.
The event, billed as an “adult night of comedy for school leaders and families” ages 18 and up, was hosted by the DOE’s Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) — and starred Mike Troy, a comedian pal of Schools Chancellor David Banks.
The DOE and City Hall refused to answer questions about the event, including how much it cost taxpayers.
The yuks took place as schools face budget cuts of around $500 million this school year.
“I can’t imagine any program that’s not going to be affected by cuts of this size. Everything is on the table,” Banks said of the cuts in September.
“Cutting millions from the DOE budget but finding money for a comedy show is no joke,” said a DOE insider familiar with the event.
Held on Jan. 5 and 6 at the Triad Theater on West 72nd Street, the event was a who’s who of city officials and educrats, including First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Banks’ girlfriend; FACE Executive Director Cristina Melendez, and Deputy Chancellor Kenita Lloyd.
They posed for photos with Banks, Troy, and his co-star, Meshelle Foreman Shields, also known as “The Indie Mom of Comedy.”
She and Troy performed their skit “Mothers Know Best, Fathers Know Less.”
“NYC Public Schools, we are so grateful for your support,” wrote Foreman Shields on Instagram. She called the “partnership” with the school system one of the biggest for her and writing partner Troy.
Troy also thanked those who came out to the shows, writing on Facebook, “Some real powerful people showed up … I’m talking about Game Changer type of people.”
Troy posted support for Banks back in 2021 when the chancellor’s appointment was first announced.
“David Banks about to kick in the freaking doors of NYC Board of ED aka Tweed,” he wrote in an Instagram post with a video of Banks making a speech in December 2021. “Let’s keep him prayed up NYC.”
The comedy events consisted of four different shows over the two nights.
To book a single show on a Friday or Saturday night at the Triad, it costs $1,800, according to its website, bringing the cost of four shows to $7,200.
FACE, which is responsible for overseeing school governance structures like Citywide Education Councils and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, sent out invites for the event and directed all questions about it to its office. “You are Invited for a Night of Comic Relief,” an email sent from Melendez read.
It was not immediately clear which school leaders and groups were invited to the event.