The hype is over, or maybe it’s just beginning. The professional headliners for this year’s National College Comedy Festival have been announced, and boy is it gonna be a steamy one.
In case you didn’t know (I didn’t), comedy has this whole “scene” to it, like music and film and shit. There’s a layered culture surrounding it: you have your popular mainstream stuff, you have your well-but-not-super-well-known comedians, and then you have your up-and-coming comedians. And they have, like, schools you can go to and all that. And ComFest usually does a really solid job of bringing a variety of comedians at different levels of success and popularity–in addition to some great college groups.
So if you’re into comedy (or want/claim to be into it), read on and learn more about this year’s lineup (which should make for one fuck of a show) so you can have one more thing to be pretentious about. After all, claiming to like comedy and finding yourself unfamiliar with names like these (especially after they come to our school) is kind of like claiming to like music and then believing that Macklemore deserved to win Best Rap Album at last year’s Grammy’s. It means you’re wrong and you need to change the way you see the world, because you’re racist. (Okay, maybe that example doesn’t really hold up, but you get it.)
On Friday, February 13th, the professional show will begin with Chris Thayer, a stand-up comedian currently based in LA. In addition to appearing at a slew of comedy clubs, Thayer created and hosted the NERVES and Warm Regards stand-up series, co-created the comedy variety show Funny Party, and co-founded The Business LA. You also may have seen/heard some of Thayer’s work with Pete Holmes, as he was a Digital Writer for The Pete Holmes Show (in addition to being featured on the show) as well as a writer on the pilot for The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes. He’s also a fairly regular on the podcast You Made It Weird with Pete Homes–and you can listen to one of Thayer’s episodes here and check out one of his stand-up sets here.
Friday night’s show will round off with Tig Notaro, is probably generating the most buzz for this year’s ComFest. Notaro is arguably one of the biggest names in stand-up these days, as she’s been featured on Conan, Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program; has appeared on Community, The Office, Bob’s Burgers, and has written for Inside Amy Schumer, the Emmys, and the MTV Music Awards. Notaro’s most notable achievement, however, is her 2011 stand-up album Live (pronounced like the verb, not the noun), performed only a couple days after Notaro was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts–which took place during a really, really awful year in her life that culminated with the diagnosis. The set’s absolutely incredible and hilarious while being pretty shockingly personal, and it’s been deemed by many comedians as one of the most “legendary” stand-up sets in recent years. The day after seeing it, Louis C.K. tweeted “In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.” So yeah. For the time being, you can listen to the entire set here, but you can also purchase it on Amazon and iTunes. And you can watch her on an episode of The Moth if you’re more into that sort of highbrow fuckery.
Starting things off on the Saturday night professional show will be the improv/sketch troupe Gentlemen Party. I don’t know much about them (and info on the group is pretty slim on the web from what I can gather), but their video sketches are pretty good (like this one), and they have a sampling of a recent live show that makes me pretty excited to see what they have in store for us in February.
Topping off Saturday night’s show will be improvised musical group Baby Wants Candy. Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. The audience gives them a show title, and they improvise an entire (usually hour long) musical around it. Everything’s made up on the spot: the music, the story, the lyrics, the “choreography.” The group has featured performers from SNL, and MadTV, and they currently feature Jack McBrayer, who you probably know as Kenneth from 30 Rock. I don’t know if he’ll be there in February, but be sure to send your prayers to the gods of comedy, because that shit would be unreal. Anyway, Baby Wants Candy has received rave reviews from The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Onion (though do we know if it’s a good thing to receive a good review from that last one?), so they’re pretty acclaimed on a national level, and it’ll be pretty fucking awesome to have them in the little ol’ JKB Theater. Check out this video from a couple years back of them doing “Sarah Palin, the Musical!” and get fucking stoked.
So that’s what will be in store for this year’s ComFest. As we said earlier, tickets will go on sale early next semester, and this always sells out way quickly–though you can stand a decent chance of getting off the wait list if you show up way early, kidney in hand. Still, best not to risk it, so stay posted on the ComFest Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for specifics on where/when to acquire tickets.
Major props to this year’s producers, Adam Fisher-Cox ’15 and Becca Baruc ’15, for slating up a solid lineup for this year’s ComFest. Those of us who try to be funny here at Skidmore Unofficial salute you.