BWW Reviews: IDAHO LAUGH FEST, The Name Says It All
What do you think of when you hear Idaho? Boise, maybe? Potatoes? Well, now you can add comedy to that list. Idaho now has it's very own annual Laugh Fest. Megan Bryant took it upon herself to create and do the arrangements for the First Annual IDAHO LAUGH FEST, with the help of a few local comedians and personal cheerleaders. She should be commended for putting together such a GREAT comedy filled event.
It took place on January 10th and 11th. It was the perfect time for this type of event. It wasn't too cold this year and most of the venues were near enough to each other to walk. Comedy Sportz was a drive away from most but not too far away and definitely worth it.
I think I will recommend a shuttle for next year. Most of the venues had drinks offered, and some had food. The venues were Liquid, The Reef, The Egyptian Theatre, Comedy Sportz (which had Brown Shuga Soul Food Truck), and China Blue. So, if you went for as many venues and events as you could, you could get something to eat as well, it would be bad form to make the audience starve; the comedians do enough of that for everyone.
Magan was able to gather up around 70 artists from the east coast to the west coast, from the north to the south. There is sure to be many comedians who meet your particular tastes. They ranged in talent from just having started 6 months ago (well, one admitted to that anyway) to well seasoned and improv.
All of these comedians were spread over 20 events over 2 days. Of those 20 events, 5 were workshops. Oh, and there was a "pre fest" show on Thursday night at Liquid Laughs and a "post fest" show on Sunday night, too. I think it's equivalent to warm ups and cool downs when you exercise, and you will get plenty of exercise if you come to any number of the shows. I hit 10, which is probably the largest number you can go to without the "pre" or "post" shows without being able to duplicate yourself.
I managed to hit 2 of the 5 workshops, I could have made another but there were logistics involved that I was just unable to manage. But after going to the two I managed I would have loved to only have workshops the entire Fest, but that is not what it is about. The two I managed to attend were "The Business of Stand Up" (Jen Adams & Matt Bragg) and "Storytelling"(Jessica Holmes). As a teacher, these two alone were terrific, inspiring, motivating and I would love to invite them to come and speak in my acting classes. It is amazing how every subject is related. The other topics were "Musical Improv", "Stand Up Comedy Seminar" and "Intro to Improv" taught by wonderful instructors (Pat Short with Comedy Sportz-Portland, Eddie Brill from The David Letterman Show, and Steven Zunich from Boise Improv Theater, respectively)
Great workshops, that was how I started this whole thing. I got off work at 5 pm from a second part-time job and headed over to Liquid for the first workshop. That was a wonderful start to the unwinding that Fridays bring with it and comedy makes it all better. I next hit one of the shows at China Blue, headlined by Kelsey Cook. The shows were an hour and a half, and each had around 12 comedians. So even if you only went to one show, you still saw a range of styles and levels of hilarity. After a kind gentleman bought me a drink (Thank you!) I was finally able to relax into the rhythms that the comedians set (each one had their own, but it all seemed to flow). They all made me either laugh, smile, chuckle and gawffaw. Then it was a breather outside, to meet my husband after he got off work and hit The Reef with the headliner Ultra Sex Laser. I saw a few more comedians from the local area that I hadn't seen or heard from yet, made notes to catch them in the future and continued having fun.
Many of the venues have drinks for those over 21 years of age so by the end of this show (no I didn't drink) the audience was having more fun than they should. It was then off to Liquid laughs to finish off the night with the 'R' rated show that ended at 1:30 am. This Fest was almost an all nighter! But it was fun! I was getting sore, my feet for walking twice as much as I am used to and my sides from laughing so hard. Saturday was going to be fun!
Saturday started a little late, but I made the story telling workshop and so enjoyed it. It would be great for anyone who has to do any kind of public speaking (Story Story Night). Then the Family Friendly improv show at The Egyptian. OMG! Too much fun with the youngsters! They were wonderful! Recycled Minds Improv, Comedy Sportz, and Chicks n' Giggles had representatives at this event. They were so great with the kids. The show ran from 2:00-3:30 pm, and even doing the show for children at the peak of their energy, they handled the children like experts. They had all the right diversions and activities for the entire theatre no matter where they sat. I give kudos to those that work well with children.
There was a break for everyone to catch their breath and the main show with Megan Bryant (a bit frazzled which I think was funnier), Heath Harmison, Eddie Brill and Dennis Regan at The Egyptian. Oh, the fun and hilarity that ensued. It was wonderful even for me to hear that many people laughing so hard at one time. You could tell that Eddie and Dennis were pros. They just had that essence about them. It seems like the more seasoned one gets, the more material they have to fall back on. But they did not feel like they were using their "fall back" material. Much hilarity was had!
There was one last show with 13 comedians to "wrap up" the weekend. My sides were sore by this time. I didn't want to laugh any more. I had all the laugh torture I could take. But, they were funny as well and I just had to laugh more. The headliner for this last show was Ryan Wingfield. Then it was time for "the after-party". But I am older now, not necessarily wiser, but older and I only stayed for a short time. It was still fun! An exhausting weekend but at least it was fun exhaustion, almost like after too much....... Well, too much laughter!
I am looking forward to next year's 2nd ANNUAL IDAHO LAUGH FEST. I am sure it will just get better with age, like wine. It was a great way to get introduced to many of the comedians who might come through town, and many of the ones who are already here. Now, when you think of Idaho, you need to think-comedy.
Performers in Alphabetical Order:
Marty Archibald Logan, UT
Shawn Armistead Boston, MA
Emma Arnold Boise, ID
Brett Badostain Boise, ID
John Betz, Jr Raleigh, NC
Eddie Brill New York City, NY
Ray Chung Irvine, CA
Dylan Cole Boise, ID
Kelsey Cook Seattle, WA
Laniea Dominquez Los Angeles, CA
Tara Egnatios Los Angeles, CA
Carlos Escobar Pica Rivera, CA
Jonathan Falconer Salt Lake City, UT
Wallace Osborne Fetzer Salt Lake City, UT
Delanie Fischer Simi Valley, CA
Jahnavi Goldstein Los Angeles, CA
Kendale Hamlett Salem, OR
Tim Hanlon Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Heath Harmison Boise, ID
Ed Hill Vancouver, BC
Jay Hollingsworth Seattle, WA
Kane Holloway Seattle, WA
John Howard Missoula, MT
Nick Johnson La Grande, OR
Brian King West Hollywood, CA
Bemo Laizure (Brian Moore) Salt Lake City, UT
Gavin McCaleb Boise, ID
TIm Messenger Denver, CO
DerRick Murray Ontario, CA
Ryan Noack Boise, ID
Chris O'Clair Newmarket, NH
Dylan O'Neill Layton, UT
Jordan Pease Los Angeles, CA
Christian Pieper Salt Lake City, UT
Dennis Regan Los Angeles, CA
Emily Richman Richland, WA
Peter Sers Los Angeles, CA
Jimmy Shaw Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Neeraj Srinivasan Boise, ID
Olek Szewczyk Boise, ID
Heather Turman Los Angeles, CA
Alex Velluto West Jordan, UT
Jason Ward Kuna, ID
Dan Weber Portland, OR
TJ Wharry Boise, ID
Sean Williams Los Angeles, CA
Ryan Wingfield Boise, ID