Comedy Festival Features Local Stand-Ups
Who is the funniest comic in East Texas? That's for the audience to decide at Liberty Hall tonight.
Populated with comedians selected by a panel of judges, the East Texas Comedy Festival will feature performances by a dozen comedians from around the area and beyond. The inaugural, two-night event will feature both stand-up and improvisational comedy with tonight's portion featuring stand-up comics with five minutes each, competing for the title of "East Texas' Funniest Comic." The winner will be given the opportunity to perform a full set Saturday evening.
The idea originated with Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel but was placed into the hands of Liberty Hall Manager Anne Payne and Jamey Whitley, one of the founding members of Tyler's improv comedy troupe, Card 53. Ms. Payne said this is a chance to show people they don't have to drive to Dallas or Shreveport, La., in order to find this sort of entertainment.
"To grow the comedy community is a big part of our intention in doing this event," Ms. Payne said. "We want people to come out and experience something funny that they'll tell their friends about. And then they'll realize that we do have good comedy here."
Originally, the event began as an open-mic night. But Ms. Payne said they wanted to make sure that this was an event that was essentially guaranteed to be enjoyable, something the rather random nature of an open-mic might prevent.
"We don't want it to be something that's not hilarious. We don't want it to be someone who just thinks they're funny getting up there," she said. "We don't want to have Steve go up there and talk about what his dog did today. We also don't want someone to come up on stage with a bunch of profanity and a piece of string and think that's funny."
In addition, to the stand-up winner's performance, the Saturday session will feature performances by Card 53 and Dallas-based improv group The Fourth Wall. Nikki Pierce and Ross Bryant, of the Safeword improv duo, will also conduct improv workshops on Saturday.
Each show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for one night or $30 for both nights. For more information about the event or the workshops, call 903-595-7274, or visit www.liber tytyler.com.