Like most sequels, this yearâs East Texas Comedy Festival is going bigger. More nights, bigger names and, organizers hope, more and bigger laughs.
Over the course of tonight and Saturday at Liberty Hall in downtown Tyler, the festival will feature a wealth of stand-up comedians both local and from out of town. Tyler Morning Telegraph Social Media Coordinator Brandon Davidson will take the stage once again, as will Tyson Faifer, last yearâs winner of the âEast Texasâ Funniest Comicâ title. Daryl Felsberg, who regularly performs in East Texas, and who has opened for the likes of George Carlin, will also have a slot.
âWeâve got Linda Stogner, who owns Back Door Comedy. Weâve got David Jessup, who performs regularly at the Addison Improv, Back Door and Hyenaâs. Clint âPacoâ Werth was voted Best Comic in 2012 by the Dallas Observer,â Jamey Whitley, event organizer, said. âSo weâve got some really strong talent from our stand-up comics in our Stand-Up Showcase.â
Whitley said the large, positive response seen at last yearâs event notably and visibly empowered them to make this yearâs event even bigger.
âOne thing that was great about last year was that it put us on the radar for bigger comedians. The comedians last year would go back to Dallas and say, âYou gotta go back to this theater in Tyler, itâs incredible,ââ he said. âSo the talent pool this year is crazy. I think weâre going to have one of the best events with some of the most talented comics from the Southern portion of the United States.â
Tonight performances by Faifer, as well as nine other stand-up comics, each competing for this yearâs âFunniest Comicâ title, will be featured. Following their acts, will be perÂforÂmances by Tyler-based improv group Card 53.
Saturdayâs portion of the festival will include a performance from the previous nightâs title winner, as well as Davidson, Vinny âThe Mulletâ and Felsberg. Dallas-based improv troupe Fourth Wall Comedy also will perform.
Whitley, who also performs with Card 53, said the comedy scene in Tyler has evolved significantly, even just in the last year.
âI think last yearâs festival put more awareness out that there is live comedy happening in Tyler. And each show that weâve done since then just gets bigger and bigger,â he said.
Events such as the East Texas Comedy Festival are important, Whitley said, as it empowers the local scene to expand, both in terms of comedy and other entertainment as well.
âIt creates more opportunity,â he said. âIt allows us to have more shows regularly, but it also pushes us to become better and better. Weâre bringing people who have been doing it (for a while). We have to keep on our toes and make sure weâre putting on a good show.â
Additionally, workshops will also be taught on Saturday, June 14th by Fourth Wall Comedyâs Chad Cline and Jason Folks for anyone wanting to pursue comedy or just wanting to get out of their comfort zone. Improv techniques will be taught at 9 a.m., âBuilding Charactersâ at 2 p.m. Cost is $35 for one class or $50 for both.
The East Texas Comedy Festival begins at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are $20 per night or $30 for both nights via online purchase. Tickets at the door are $25 per night or $40 for both nights. Suggested for adult audiences only. For more information, visit www.libertytyler.com .