Taking Laughter to the North 40
With the Frisco Comedy Festival, the northern reaches of the Metroplex have a new reason to laugh.
published Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Dallas may lack the funding for a mega comedy fest like Moontower or Out of Bounds in Austin—are you listening, Mark Cuban?—but what it lacks in bucks it makes up in spunk. Following on Dallas Comedy Fest (March) and Big Sexy Weekend of Improv (June) comes the Frisco Comedy Festival, running Sept. 20-22 at the Frisco Arts and Discovery Center, located at 8004 North Dallas Parkway.
The event offers shows of stand-up, sketch, improvisational comedy, and comedy short films, plus workshops in the art of comedy, much like the Dallas Comedy Fest. It’s a good formula. “We are pleased to provide a variety of creative performances along with workshops geared towards all age groups at the Frisco Comedy Festival,” said Celeste Seitz-Davis, executive producer.
We’re pretty darn proud here at TheaterJones that one of our features inspired this festival.
“When I returned to DFW after training at Second City in Chicago, I saw no reason that DFW couldn’t have the same love and respect for improv and stand-up that Chicago has cultivated,” says Seitz-Davis. “I made it my mission to support live comedy here, but I lacked direction until I read [Amy Martin’s article] “Laughter Through a Megaphone” on the heels of the Dallas Comedy Festival. The message resonated with me, and I took it as a call to action. The next thing I knew, I was securing permits and venues in Frisco, my home of eight years.”
The festival’s location is significant. Except for Locked Out Comedy games-based improv and occasional forays of the Alternative Comedy Theater to Café Bohemia, Plano, Frisco and other northern suburbs are devoid of comedy offerings. “It is my hope,” says Seitz-Davis, “that this festival will remind suburbanites that DFW is home to some of the most talented comedians in the country, and that no TV show, no movie, nothing compares to the live comedy experience.”
Thursday night kicks off with an early show featuring improv from Victory Point, the staff ensemble at the Dallas Comedy House, and Fourth Wall Comedy. The second show is a competition between 10 new stand-ups, with two winners chosen by the audience to perform on the weekend.
Dean Lewis holds down the early Friday show with old-timer Dave Little and some new to established comics. A middle show features Fourth Wall Comedy. The Friday late show should be a riot with Dominic Harris hosting a number of young comedians who are likely to say anything.
The early Saturday show with Dean Lewis and friends is one to watch out for. The middle show of improv should also be hot, as Pavlov’s Dogs and Victory Point are the cream of the crop from Dallas Comedy House and work extremely well together. A Best of the Fest Show concludes the evening.
I would have liked to see more from Alternative Comedy Theater and from the theatrical improv scene such as FTP Comedy and Fun Grip. Someday it would be good to challenge the assumption that stand-up fans only go to stand-up shows and mix that with improv. Vaudevillian physical humor is on the comeback and spliced between improv and stand-up helps keep the audience engaged. But this festival has legs and there is time for that.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
- 6:30pm Improv with host Erik Niewiarowski featuring Fourth Wall Comedy and Victory Point
- 8:30pm 10X10 Stand Up Comedy Competition with host Richard Estrada
- Adrian Lara
- Alison Egert
- Angi Ullrich
- Byron Stamp
- Dan Danzy
- Joseph Carr
- Spencer Harlan
- Traylor Parker
- Tyson Faifer
- Usama Siddiquee
- 2 Winners will be chosen by the audience to perform Friday & Saturday Night
Friday, September 21, 2012
- 7:30pm Stand Up Comedy with host Dean Lewis
- Dave Little
- Chris Brown
- Rudy Rush
- Todd Justice
- Bobby Friske
- Barry Whitewater
- Ross Day
- 9:30pm Improv featuring Fourth Wall Comedy
- 11:30pm Stand Up Comedy Late Show with host Dominic Harris
- Raj Sharma
- Chelsea Hood
- Cris Lehman
- Seth Cowles
- Jeffrey Jay
- Ed Hill
- Blayr Nais
Saturday, September 22, 2012
- 7:30pm On The Spot Comedy with Dean Lewis and Friends
- 9:30pm Improv with host Byron Stamps featuring Pavlov’s Dogs and Victory Point
- 11:30 Best of the Fest Show and Awards