Irina Ginzburg, who goes by her stage name Upa, has been doing stand-up comedy for 12 years and founded the Coney Island Comedy Festival in 2019. The festival is held at Ruby's Bar and the Coney Island Brewery. "People find their way into stand-up comedy for a lot of different reasons. I do it because when they laugh, I know I'm not alone. They understand me," says Ginzburg, who adds that if there had been an open mic in Coney Island, she would have done it as a teen. Ginzburg and her family were Jewish refugees from Latvia in 1989 when it was part of the Soviet Union. When she was 12, they settled in Bensonhurst where she was the first Russian speaking student in her school.