BWW Interview: Get Ready for Laughs at the BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL
Its that time of year in Birmingham when the magnolias blossom and so do the doors to the first and only comedy festival in the great state of Alabama. THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL is a weekend fest of over 20 of the best national and regional comedians gathering in Birmingham like the Justice League. THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL runs from Friday May 19th to Monday May 21st. at hot venues all over Birmingham for easy access.
The comedy roster below is arranged by comedian's student loan debt, not talent. .Jackie Kashian . Laurie Kilmartin . Sean Patton . Dave Stone . Martin Morrow . Jermaine "Funnymaine" Johnson . The Jackie and Laurie Show . Rob Haze . The Book of Ye . Tim Northern . Reena Calm . Mike Albanese . David Perdue . Mary-Devon Dupuy . Jason Leonard . Dan Alten . Scott Eason . Catherine Savage . Chris Daniels . Ugly Baby . ETC . PFI . Taco Truck Tuesday . Knit Night . Chris Ivey . Wes Van Horn . Tollie Jones . Mike McCall . Chris Davis . Rich Mansfield . Noah Cannon . Darrell J . Hallie Tarpley . Peter Davenport . There are more comics but the ruler broke.
THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL is helmed by comedian Chris Ivey. He is a stand up guy and a stand up comic. (Hey look if you want good jokes you pay for them, this is the free stuff so just deal with my corny puns) Ivey got his start by watching some of the best in the city. He found inspiration seeing great Birmingham comedians like Terry Tee, Scott Gordon and others at open mics around town. "The first time I got on stage was to help the host get paid. It turned out to be a great decision for him and me. I probably owe him a drink for that, so I'm not saying his name." Thankfully he persisted and kept developing material and braving the mic. "Nothing is funnier or stranger than real life, so I use everyday experiences to tell stories on stage." Keeping positive is mandatory for any comic to move forward. Ivey keeps his focus by diving into the work and the jokes. "In comedy like life, there is always someone you see that's way better than you, so it motivates you to keep getting on stage. Comedy requires time and repetition. I'm always focused on when or what the next bit will be."
The boom of comedy talent in Birmingham led him get the Festival up and running. The rich diversity of the city has caused growth in the comedy scene. "People are creating shows that fit their own aesthetic. The more opportunities that comedians create for themselves in Birmingham; the more opportunities for the other comics to get better." The festival delivers a mass about of great comedy and has grown in size and attendance. People come from all over the State enjoy it.. Ivey finds much joy in organizing the event. "I like seeing people having a good time. The best feeling is to walk out of a show and hear someone say that they didn't know we had such funny people in Birmingham. I like our town discovering the hidden gems in the city."
Comedian Hallie Tarpley is hyped to be on the line up at the festival. She has tackled the mic consistently with great material rooted in self-reflection. "The things that I write about are rarely things that I find funny. Funny is the way that I process what bothers me. So I just compile things that stick out to me and try to communicate what/why it stands out. I have a hard time making a joke or telling a story that made me laugh in real life because there is a hacky feeling to it. " For those of you playing the home game Hacky is a weight of bad, stale material that some comics use that eventually pulls them into an abyss of a dead set. Tarpley's focus gets it strength from the influence of the comedians around Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. "They are consistently there and trying to make a show, open mic, or even an entire festival work despite the hecklers of logic and reality. Those are the people that make me remember that stand-up is and should always be fun. "
She is happy to be a part of the THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL and is amazed at the growth of the comedy scene in Birmingham. "The festival brings in all kinds of new comics and audiences. It offers a breath of fresh air that allows comics and audiences to be whatever the less dumb version of "recentered" would be." She is appreciative of the hard work fellow comics give to keep the comedy pulse going in Birmingham. "Honestly, I cannot say enough about people like Chris Ivey, Tollie Jones, and Peter Davenport. There are many others, but those people have really set a reliable pulse that people have responded to. In a city like Birmingham, getting an entire underground comedy scene not an easy task, but their energy and desire to push through regardless makes it all look like child's play."
THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL begins in just a few days. Ivey is ready for a great turn out this year. Tickets have been selling mush faster than previously. It's a great sign that more and more people are tuning in to the high caliber comedy talent in Birmingham. "Hopefully, we'll see more of the newer comics starting shows and next year we will be even bigger."
THE BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL - Friday May 19th to Monday May 21st.
You can find a full festival lineup; venue information and get tickets at www.birminghamcomedyfestival.com
Facebook Event Page
Passes for the entire weekend are only $40. Day passes are $20 each day.