Many professions and art forms have festival events, where the up-and-comers try to get noticed, get to mingle with the Big Names, and where enthusiasts for that particular art form or profession get to geek out to their hearts’ content- Defcon, Cannes, Dragon*Con, at heart, they’re all about the same thing- people who love something getting together to celebrate it. Comedy is no different- there are multiple comedy festivals each year, days-long binges of laughter where comedians get to perform for each other, talk about the craft of comedy, and educate one another. Toronto, Las Vegas, and Aspen are the most famous, so you may not know that here in DC, we have our very own comedy festival that draws some serious talent while showcasing some of our own finest local comics.
The DC Comedy Fest starts next week and the schedule is packed with sketch comedy, standup comedy, panel discussions, and classes. Their site has the full listing, by performer and by event, as well as tickets for individual shows, passes by venue, and a full-festival pass. They’ve got shows downtown, shows on U Street, shows in Arlington. There’s really something for everyone, but here are my picks for particular highlights:
District of Comedy: Appearing at the DC Improv Comedy Lounge on Thursday the 7th and Saturday the 9th, this show features local comics Jon Mumma, Aparna Nancherla, Hampton Yount, Jay Hastings, Kojo Mante, Bryson Turner, Jason Weems, and Diana Saez. I’ve seen all of them at shows around town, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see them at the Improv.
Politics is Funny: Panel discussion on comedy’s relationship to politics, and to what extent comedy influences political discourse. Scheduled to appear are: Pete Grosz, writer for “The Colbert Report;” Joe Medeiros, head writer for “The Tonight Show;” Baratunde Thurston, web editor for The Onion; Michael Cavna, TV Editor and Comics Blogger for The Washington Post; Jaline Quinto, Communications Manager for DC Vote; Eddie Brill, Comedy Booker for “The Late Show with David Letterman;” Lizz Winstead, comedian, writer, co-creator of “The Daily Show.” The panel will be moderated by Mike Allen, chief political writer for Politico. This show will be on Saturday, August 9th at 3:00 PM at Town Danceboutique.
Fresh Voices Industry Audition Show: Comedians from around the country will perform for talent bookers from a number of networks and high-profile TV shows. This show will be held on the mainstage of the DC Improv, Thursday, August 7th, at 10:30 PM.
But seriously, there are a TON of possible events at the festival next week, and these three are just the ones that caught MY eye. Go to their site, check out the listings, and find something that suits your taste. You won’t regret it.