Comedy in DC: Bentzen Ball Preview

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So, this Bentzen Ball thing. Everyone’s talking about it, but they keep talking about Tig Notaro and Patton Oswalt’s involvement in a show that’s about “alt-comedy” without even mentioning the numerous local comics interspersed throughout the various shows. Patton Oswalt was in a Pixar movie, for God’s sake. He’s hilarious, but he’s there so that the up-and-comers can benefit from the glorious halo of his fame, okay?

I’ve talked about some of these locals before: Seaton Smith, Hampton Yount, and Erin Jackson are all appearing at one or more of the shows, along with Aparna Nancherla, official comic of the We Love DC Commentariat. But there are many others preparing to wow DC with their joke-telling prowess, people I haven’t talked about as much here not because they aren’t funny (because they are), but because they don’t send me news about their shows as often. *cough* So plug in your headphones for a preview of some of the Bentzen Ball comics.

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Rory Scovel at Hotel Topaz on N Street

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John McBride at the DC Improv

Tim Miller at the DC Improv

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Eli Sairs on Comcast OnDemand, taped at Solly’s U Street Tavern

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Andy Kline at the DC Improv

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Bryson Turner at the Palace of Wonders for Live Humans in DC

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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10 thoughts on “Comedy in DC: Bentzen Ball Preview

  1. I know there are limited slots for local comedians, but how did Jimmy Meritt, Jon Mumma, Brian Parise, Mike Way, Herbie Gil, Chris White, Jared Stern, and others get passed over while Justin Cousson and Vish Bhatt(who?) are in this thing?

    And while Bryson, Rory and John McBride are great comedians I would hardly consider them local since none of them even live here any longer.

    Sour grapes? Absolutely.

  2. I think if it were possible to “make it” as a comedian while staying in DC, I think a lot of the comics you mention would still be here- the fact is, if you want to make a living at comedy, you pretty much have to move to NYC for at least some time. I don’t want to deprive people of the “local” label just because they moved to where their careers took them.

    I agree with you that there are reams and reams of really hilarious locals not appearing in BB, but I don’t want to leap to the assumption that every one of them was “passed over.” For example, Jimmy Meritt posted an updated show schedule just this morning that shows him out doing college shows the weekend of the BB. Maybe he was passed over and that’s why he was available to do those shows, but for all I know he had to turn down a spot in the BB.

    (Speaking of which, if any of you local comics or show organizers want to provide some insight into the selection process, my email address is tiffany -at!- welovedc dot com.)

  3. Even as far as there being “limited slots for local comedians,” I have to say that the area was exceptionally represented.

    Seaton Smith, Aparna Nancherla, Hampton Yount, Eli Sairs, John McBride, Andy Kline, Randolph T., Courtney Fearrington, Tim Miller, Jason Weems, Jeff Maurer, Justin Schelgel, Rob Maher, Erin Jackson, Vish Bhatt and myself make up roughly a quarter of the comics announced so far.

    Vish Bhatt, by the way, simply kills. He was noticed by BYT doing three sets in one night at the Artomatic Festival and was one of the first comedians recruited to come onboard.

    The same goes for Jason Weems at the Baltimore Comedy Factory – another example of a comedian going out there with his best stuff and getting noticed.

    Real people were out there scouting for talent, and when they found comics they thought represented the area well, they asked them who they thought should be onboard. A few higher-ups and nods later, and damn, that is a fine-looking lineup.

  4. Hi, my name is Jeff Jetton and I’m one of the founders of the festival. Most of the comedians were curated by Tig Notaro. The local comics were suggested by Seaton Smith and Justin and Vish we met at Artomatic!

    I’m really sorry that you are bummed that certain folks haven’t made the list. We tried to get as diverse and talented a group as possible. The good news is that this will be an annual festival, so drop by and introduce yourself and we’ll definitely see what we can do about future performances.


  5. Yes, I forgot, I recruited Jason Weems after seeing him in DC. I really did make an attempt to go out and *look* for local people. And Seaton I brought in after meeting him at the Fringe Festival.

  6. I’m just going to take a moment to remind commenters that your IP address is logged along with your comment. You’re free to leave fake info, post under multiple names if not for trolling purposes, etc. But when you do that, *I will know about it*.

  7. Pingback: Comedy in DC: Still Talking About That Same Festival » We Love DC