Monday, August 15, 2011
Michael O'Connell to perform opening night at Sacramento Comedy Festival
As fans of comedy, most folks watch YouTube clips, catch specials on Comedy Central, watch Saturday Night Live or buy a stand-up CD or DVD from some well-known performer. But while this is all well and good and perfectly fine, people don't realize that they're missing out on the real energy of comedy, the raw essence of it, the laboratory where it's birthed (or stillborn). They don't realize that they have access to the very crucible where all those voices and faces from TV and the web start out and pay their dues and become the household names that go on to make movies and blow their noses with hundred dollar bills (if I was Sandler, that's what I'D do when I had a cold...).
This is the arena of live local comedy. And you don't have to go to LA or New York or Chicago to find it. It's right here in Sactown. It's in our local comedy clubs. It's in all of our many open mic rooms that you can find almost any night of the week in the area. It's in bars. Sometimes it's even in cigar lounges (thank you, thank you very much). It's traditional (and experimental) stand-up. It's improv groups. It's sketch comedy. It's every flavor of funny that your heart desires.
And the even better news is that for four days this September/October, you don't even have to look all over town trying to find it. Because it's all going to be in one place.
The Sacramento Comedy Festival is a four-day showcase of the best Sac (and San Francisco, and a little LA) has to offer. Taking place at the Sacramento Comedy Spot downtown, it will feature multiple shows from Thursday (September 29) to Sunday (October 2), allowing you to sample as little or as much as you please. Broken down by genre (improv, sketch, stand-up), these shows will range in cost from $8.00 to $12.00 each, but there are package deals available to let you get great savings for buying all-day passes or the big full-weekend pass. All told, you'll have 20 different comedy shows to choose from, all filled with some of the best and brightest talent from around the region. You like the old stool-n-mic stand-up? Come see folks like Ellis Rodriguez, John Ross and Nick Aragon (and San Francisco treats like Nina G, Mary Van Note and Marty Grimes). More a fan of SNL or Kids in the Hall? Laugh it up to sketch comedy groups like The Syndicate, Uphill Both Ways or Van Full of Candy. Or do you like the Who's Line is it Anyway? frenetic comedy style that only improv can bring you? Marvel to the lightning-quick hilarity of Sacramento's Anti-Cooperation League, LA's Bro Squad 5 or Oakland's Awkward Face.
The stand-up part of the Festival begins Thursday night (9/29) at 9:00 PM, when I'll be lucky enough to be performing with some of my favorite people in Sac comedy world - Keith Lowell Jensen, Ray Molina, Eve David, Josh Barbee and Johnny Taylor. For those of you who've been asking when I'm going to be on stage in Sac again, you now have your answer. Ten bucks will get you a ticket to see all six of us. Or, if you're REALLY smart, you'll grab up that weekend pass and spend four days laughing your arse off at all the amazing acts that Brian Crall - owner of Sacramento Comedy Spot - is bringing together for your knee-slapping pleasure.
For the full schedule for the festival, a full list of performers and a link to grab tickets, just click here for the skinny:
If you've been meaning to delve further into your town's comedy scene, you'll never get a better chance, Sac. Come on down to midtown and see some of the folks you'll be later able to tell your "I saw them when" stories about. Hope to see you there!