Comedy is a funny thing. While you used to have to go to New York or L.A. to find quality stand-up – or wait for touring comics to hit your city at high price points – local DIY comedy scenes have started sprouting up across the country. While the American comedy landscape is still dominated by those cities, places like Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and Knoxville have become known as places where comedy thrives.
This weekend, Orlando makes a major move toward being known as one of those places. Thirty comics from around the country are performing at a slew of showcases across the city, from the Geek Easy to the Bull and Bush to Will’s Pub and pretty much everywhere in between. Joining them will be 24 of Orlando’s own brightest comedians. It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment, and it all came together in about five months.
The organizers – Matt Gersting, Tom Feeney, Nick Pupo, Dave Plotkin and Doug McPherson – put out a call for performers via the Internet and received hundreds of submissions. Wading through those submissions to select 30 out-of-town comics took some work. “[The organizers] all checked in and they all gave a number rating system to keep it real objective. They all gave personal ratings on [the submissions] and quantified them at the end,” says Plotkin.
The comedians didn’t need to rank the headliner, though. After a brief and charming attempt to woo Maria Bamford (she was unavailable), they settled on Kyle Kinane, one of the most critically acclaimed comics working today. Snagging him for the festival was a huge get.
“He’s absolutely my favorite comedian. I’ve combed through as many interviews of him as I could to hear his thoughts on how you should do everything from carry out your career to writing. I have his album on my wall,” says Feeney.
While the Kinane show is sold out, each day features multiple showcases around town, with Friday and Saturday nights focused on the Milk District and Mills 50 respectively, so you can walk from venue to venue to check out some of our best locals sharing the stage with some of the country’s best young comedians. Admission is only $5 for multiple venues each night. For a list of featured performers and a complete schedule, check out orlandoindiecomedy.com.
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 25-28
Check orlandoindiecomedy.com for individual show times and locations
$5 per day, except for Kyle Kinane; half of fest proceeds go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Orlando