National College Comedy Festival

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Weekend Distractions CXXXI

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

“If you’re lonely on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. I am too.”
–Executive Editor

THURSDAY:
7:00pm – Seeing Sound: Drawing to Music w/ Ensemble ACJW @ Tang
8:00pm – Lecture: “The Value & the Values of the Humanities” @ Filene
8:00pm – Film Screening: Crazy, Stupid, Love @ Falstaff’s

FRIDAY:
6:00pm – Women’s Basketball vs. RPI
7:00pm – NCCF Student Show @ JKB Theater
8:00pm – An Evening of Live Music and Dance @ Dance Theater
8:00pm – Ensemble ACJW @ Zankel
8:00pm – Men’s Basketball vs. RPI
10:00pm – NCCF Pro. Show: Tig Notaro w/ Chris Thayer @ JKB Theater
10:30pm – Winter Dance: RIO! @ Falstaff’s

SATURDAY:
2:00pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Union
3:00pm – Winter Carnival @ Case
4:00pm – Ice Hockey vs. Castleton
4:00pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Union
7:00pm – NCCF Student Show @ JKB Theater
10:00pm – NCCF Pro. Show: Baby Wants Candy w/ Gentlemen Party @ JKB

Missing something? Let us know in the replies!

A Conversation with the 2015 ComFest Producers

Sunday, February 8th, 2015
Adam Fisher-Cox and Becca Baruc.

Adam Fisher-Cox and Becca Baruc.

I had a chance to sit down with Becca Baruc ’15 and Adam Fisher-Cox ’15–co-producers for this year’s National College Comedy Festival and members of the Ad-Libs–to discuss the process for organizing the festival, their favorite ComFest moments, and what to expect from this year’s ComFest. They’re swell folks, and we had a great conversation, so check it out below. And be sure to get your tickets tomorrow at 10am in Case. Facebook event can be found here. And check out our write-up for this year’s professional groups here Click to continue »

Headliners Announced for 2015 National College Comedy Festival

Saturday, December 13th, 2014
You want it, you got it.

No Dane Cook, but I’ll probably go anyway.

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. Click to continue »

2015 ComFest Headliners To Be Announced This Friday (11/12)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Ready yourself.

Ready yourself.

That’s right. It’s almost here, lovers of funny. No, not ComFest itself. That’ll be early next semester, which at this point–what with your seemingly insurmountable pile of work that you probably have yet to put a dent in–probably seems like a couple lifetimes away. I’m talking about the announcement for the ComFest headliners!

For those of you who don’t know, the National College Comedy Festival is a huge comedy festival founded and hosted by Skidmore that brings together some of the best college comedy groups from across the country, as well as both established and up-and-coming professional acts. Past ComFest headliners have included the Upright Citizens Brigade, BriTANicKTJ & Dave, Kate Berlant, Rory Scovel, the Improvised Shakespeare Company, Derrick Comedy, and loads of others. Those names might not really mean anything to you, but they’re huge names in the realm of comedy.

The headliners for this year’s ComFest (Feb. 13-14) will be announced via the festival’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. (Wow! So many social media options! Free market! Laissez-faire! USA! We really oughta torturing people for information!) So follow those sites and keep your ears/eyes posted for the announcement and information on the professional acts (they better have some women in there, because this is the 21st century, and we’re all well aware of the fact that women are, in fact, funny).

Tickets for ComFest will go on sale early next semester, so also stay tuned for info on that. A video of last year’s first college show can be viewed below, which also contains a link to the second night.

Triple Threat Comedy Show & Live Auction

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
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I need sunglasses to look at this for an extended period of time.

(Editor’s Note: Due to some recent complaints we received about our most recent coverage  of the Skidmore comedy groups, we’ve decided to let our official comedy consultant “A skidmore person” offer a more spirited write-up of the event. So if any of this has the potential to bother you, please just scroll down to the bottom and see what a real comedy expert has to say on the matter.)

Before you know it, it’ll be February, and with the coldest and most depressing month of the year (s/o to Valentine’s Day) comes one of the most beloved events here at Skidmore: ComFest. This Friday, you’ll be able to get a sampling of what to expect with Triple Threat, annual showcase of all three three of the four Skidmore comedy groups and ComFest fundraiser. The evening usually goes like this. The Ad-Libs, Skidomedy, and The Sketchies each come out and perform 10-15 minute long sets (during which you may writhe with bitterness at them taking “those schmucks” instead of you). After that, they’ll bring all the comedians out on stage and will hold an auction in which you can bid for the comedians to do “weird things.” (No, not that kind of “weird things.”)

It’s pretty hilarious. They’ve auctioned off some pretty sweet stuff in the past, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • shaving a comedian’s facial hair on stage
  • being tucked in to bed by one of the comedy groups
  • the chance to appear in a group’s sketch/set
  • a dhall date with the comedian of your choosing (they used to do a legitimate town, but apparently some dude was hella creepy about it and ruined it for everyone)
  • a long-winded compliment from one of the comedians
  • a $5 bill
  • having any two comedians make out on stage (this usually ends up being two dudes, because guys kissing is still pretty funny, I guess?)

I’m sure the list this year will include some of the above, but they generally do a pretty solid job of switching things up. And before you roll your eyes and sit down to write a SkidNews Op-Ed thinkpiece about how Skidmore students throw so much money at meaningless shit and demonstrate the economic privilege encapsulated by small liberal arts colleges, you should probably know that all of the proceeds go toward producing the National College Comedy Festival, which annual brings college and professional comedy groups from across the country–and has received shout outs from the New York Fucking Times. So it’s a good cause.

Of course, the auction is only the icing on the comedic cake, as the evening’s main highlight will be the short and sweet sets from the comedy groups. First, we have The Ad-Libs, who never fail to impress with their quick humor and endless flow of one-liners. You definitely remember seeing them at Freshman Showcase back when you were a bushy-tailed freshman and thought, “I wish I could do that. Maybe people would like me then.” Or maybe that was just me. Either way, odds are the Ad-Libs will milk every one of their 15 minutes and produce some improv gold. Check out their set from ComFest last year and get excited about what they have in store.

Next up is Skidomedy, always displaying a wide variety of comedic styles filled with smart (yes, smart) humor and well placed pop-culture references. They also consistently manage to inadvertently (or advertently?) rattle the cage with a healthy dose of controversy. That “Crustacean” sketch from ComFest is still legendary. And last year they faked someone’s death for like 30 seconds. Both were hilarious and resulted in a some people complaining to SGA or something. So you know they’re doing something right. They’re also roughly the size of the Treblemakers, so odds are you probably know someone in the group and should go to support them. Here’s their set from last year’s ComFest.

Lastly, we have The Sketchies. You’ve probably been very unsettled by their patented brand of rude and off-beat humor. You’ve probably found yourself thinking “Yo that’s pretty fucked-up” after one of their sketches. But that never stops the group from consistently producing hilariously enjoyable sketches exhibiting strong writing, bizarre premises, and humor as dark as their all-black attire. Check out their ComFest set for a small sampling.

Regardless of which comedy group best fits your bag, the evening’s sure to deliver, and we’ll have three correspondents covering it for our first installment of “Drunk, High, and Sober” (pretty self-explanatory, but more on that later). So show up at 10pm in Filene, bring cash (no credit card or Skidcard accepted), and start the weekend off right.

Hi Skiddies. User “A skidmore person” here. I love the comedy groups. No. You don’t understand. I FUCKING LOVE SKIDMORE COMEDY GROUPS. I get aroused just thinking about them. And the acapella groups. And just Skidmore in general. I consider myself to be something of a Skidmore comedy aficionado, so take it from me: you should really go to Triple Threat tomorrow night at 10:00pm in Filene. They’ll be doing funny things. I’ll be there in the front row, so come say hi. You’ll know me when you see me because I’ll be rubbing one out during the sets.

What’s So Important About Comfest Anyways? Oh, Yeah, All This Stuff

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Shouts Out Garrett Evans

In 1990, Skidmore student and Ad-Lib David Miner hit on something really very special: he invited a bunch of other comedy-addicted college kids to jump around on the JKB stage and try to make people laugh. Twenty-five years later, the National College Comedy Festival has outlasted the Soviet Union, the Macarena, two and a half Bush administrations, and the college careers of nearly everyone who helped make it what it is today.

If that’s not an argument for staying power, I don’t know what is.

As we triumphantly break the quarter-century mark, it’s hard not to marvel at all the benchmarks: Comfest is now old enough to rent a car anywhere in America without presenting a valid credit card. Comfest is four years more senior than either of its producers. In its two and a half decades, the festival has seen some serious comedy heavyweights come through in their formative years. Pre-hip-hop career Donald Glover performed on the Skidmore stage several years back, as did Chris Himes, a producer on SNL. Mr. Miner has since gone on to produce 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Despite his success, he keeps in regular contact with the festival’s producers each year. It is, as they say, his baby.

But Comfest is less about the people who’ve moved through its gates and more about the ones still standing underneath them, right now, this time around. Comfest means your A-game, and nothing less. This is hallowed ground, and the performers we bring rarely fail to treat it as such. I’ve seen elaborately choreographed dance numbers, improvised acrobatic tumbling routines, and once, a full-body paper mache Ring-wraith costume. The energy that student groups bring to Comfest is palpable. There’s no greater height of anticipation than standing in the narrow backstage hallway of JKB as the group just before you runs offstage, offering high-fives and congratulations as they slip past you, and all the way you’re revving to go.

This could not happen anywhere but Skidmore. Having been to a number of other schools for visiting shows, and spoken with comedians who come to Skidmore from far-flung locales, I have learned that we are uniquely blessed when it comes to our audience. A comedy show at a given school may struggle to bring in forty people. A comedy show at Skidmore fills an entire auditorium with receptive, savvy comedy fans who seem to love the craft of it as much as we do. In an art form where the audience is the medium, there’s no greater gift a performer could ask for.

So, here we are. The big two-five. XXV. The Twenty-Fifth Annual National College Comedy Festival. Comfest 25. A festival that’s grown over the past two and a half decades into the holy grail of amateur comedy, a feast for the funny-bone. Now, as always, on the stage that made it what it is today. I think I speak for all our fellow comedians when I say we couldn’t be happier, Skidmore, so thanks for everything.

Live. From New York. It’s—

Oh. Sorry. That’s the other guys.

-Luke Conley, Co-Director of ComFest 2014

The New York Times Thinks It’s As Excited For Comfest As I Am

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Pffffffft.

“These performers — along with aspiring writers and producers — spent a weekend at Skidmore sitting through panels and performances by a dozen or so groups like theirs along with a professional headliner. The festival is part comedy-nerd symposium, part comedy gantlet.” <NYTimes.com>

Alright fine that was pretty eloquent imagery, I’ll give you guys THAT.

ComFest Is An Incredibly Huge Deal And Everyone Loves It

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Travis Helwig has a fantastic 3000 word piece on Skidmore’s ComFest on Splitsider.com today.

Helwig lays out ComFest’s creation myth, following the history of the festival from Class of 1991 alum David Miner’s 1988 inaugural show to today’s amateur comedy stepping stage. You should probably stop whatever you are doing and read it. Am I the only person that didn’t know any of this? ComFest is this important? Well shit, I feel dumb.

I guess Helwig does get a little hasty when he crowns some kid from Cornell the “King Of Skidmore” but he nails our “affinity towards puns, funny characters and racism” right on the head.  In fact, when you really think about it, “Puns, Funny Characters and Racism” would probably make a better Skidmore motto than Creative Thought Matters.

Did I mention you should read the article? You should. Look at all those famous comedians that have great things to say about our Comedy Festival. How great is that? So great!

While I’ve got your attention I just want to let you know that you should probably bookmark Splitsider.com and its brother and sister sites TheAwl.com and TheHairpin.com because everything they post is super smart.

UPDATE: Also, ComFest parties? how come I never got invited to any of that debauchery? Ayo Dizzy Peoples guys, I ride your dicks so hard and I get no love? Que pasa? Next time you guys are involved in anything where ALLEGEDLY  “a drunken performer takes off his clothes and rides a Razor scooter in the ten-degree night” or  “two college comedians fuck in a bathroom while others watch through a window” I expect an email.