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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bumbershoot fest comedy line-up

There were a few years, back more than a few years ago, when I'd drive down to Seattle every year to catch comedy at the Bumbershoot festival. Haven't been in years now. Don't know why. Maybe it's because comedy is cool now and I can't bother fighting the crowds. Like Groucho said, I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. Maybe it's because the comedy is all of a kind now. That is, it's all the cool kids, that posse of hip alt-comics that are all buddies with each other, that do each other's podcasts. I love those guys as much as the next fella, but I like a little variety, too.

Whatever the reason is, I should rectify the situation and get back there this year. My memories of Bumbershoot go back to seeing Elayne Boosler. She was a comic I never liked on TV (and she was on all the time back in the day) but I quite enjoyed her live. I could totally see why she got so much TV work. Another year I saw a young musical act I had never heard of to that point, and I doubt many others had, either: Tenacious D. They were awesome. Then there was the time Jon Stewart was supposed to perform (this was pre-Daily Show) and I was stoked. But he couldn't make it. So they got Margaret Cho, who had yet to reach superstar status and was still an alt-darling, to replace him. That was kind of disappointing. Fred Armisen, pre-SNL, also stood out, playing his Kaufmanesque bongo player who'd tell a bad joke in a thick accent then throw his hands in the air saying, "Just keeeding!" (I believe he took that character with him to SNL.) The first time I saw Janeane Garofalo perform live was at Bumbershoot. She was a special surprise guest and it marked the first time I'd be disappointed with her act, but not the last. I saw a joke-off between Doug Benson and... David Cross maybe? (I definitely saw Cross perform his gay Jesus bit there solo.) Bumbershoot was also the first place I ever saw Patton Oswalt perform, long long before King of Queens or Comedians of Comedy. Possibly the last time I was there was some time between 2001 and 2003 when I saw Sarah Silverman perform. So I'm due back.

They just announced their comedy line-up. Have a look. I'm sure there's something there for you.



Seattle, WA Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, which takes place September 3-5 at Seattle Center, announces this year’s Comedy lineup.

While Bumbershoot gets the bulk of its attention due to its diverse musical offerings, it also boasts a similarly stellar arts lineup that includes theatre, dance, literature, visual arts — and, for the past 14 years, at least one dedicated comedy stage.

This year, the festival’s laugh-inducing programming stretches across three stages, offering festivalgoers more opportunities to catch some of today’s best and brightest comedians — whether they’re culled from Seattle’s backyard (courtesy of the People’s Republic of Komedy) or hand-picked by Comedy Central exec Lisa Leingang.

"Bumbershoot has been proud to consistently present many up and coming comics over many years,” says One Reel Programming Director Chris Porter. “Now famous acts including David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Flight of the Conchords, Fred Armisen and many others have graced the Bumbershoot comedy stages as they were rising stars. We are almost assured to see a future TV star each year within our line-up."

Doug Benson let the cat out of the proverbial bag early, but we’re pleased as punch to tell you who else will be joining us over Labor Day weekend. Heeeeeere’s our lineup!

Doug Loves Movies and we love Doug Benson! Doug invites you to join him and his friends as they podcast their affection for all things cinematic.

Scott Aukerman has rubbed elbows with Zach Galifinakis and David Cross, and not only lived to tell the tales – he’s broadcasted them. His lively podcast Comedy Bang Bang is a treasure trove of comedy gold, with celebrity guests and all around hilarity. His Bumbershoot performance features the prodigious talents of Paul F. Tompkins.

Yell out an inspired title and you might be the inspiration for The Improvised Shakespeare Company’s current sketch, delivered in grand Elizabethan style. Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and “thou’s” to bring you off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare.

Eugene Mirman is a Bumbershoot veteran, a music fan and a world-class comedian whose albums have been released on Seattle labels Suicide Squeeze and Sub Pop. He probably needs no introduction. He might need a beverage.

Who are The Gregory Brothers? Glad you asked. You might know them as the folks behind the wildly popular internet sensations “Auto-Tune the News” and “Songify This,” or perhaps through their “country & soul, folk & roll” EP, “Meet The Gregory Brothers.” Strangely, one of them is not male.

Hari Kondabolu plays with race the way that some people play with kittens. His comedy is playful, irreverent and spot-on, turning the spotlight on hypocrisy with a surgeon’s precision and a comedian’s rapier wit. A Comedy Central favorite and a regular on the Seattle scene, we’re delighted to welcome him to Bumbershoot.

Anthony Jeselnik was awarded album of the year by Punchline magazine for his album, Shakespeare. He’s worked as a writer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and roasted Donald Trump. Comedy Central named him one of the breakout comedians of 2009, and the rest of that graduating class likes to call him the most attractive of their bunch.

Kurt Metzger’s made Comedy Central’s 2010 Hot List, was a regular on VH1's Best Week Ever and is the voice of Randall on the Comedy Central program Ugly Americans. If you missed him on television, you can catch his album “Kurt Metzger Talks to Young People About Sex” on iTunes in June. Ask him how he feels about Jersey Shore.

Deon Cole got his break on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, after an on-air performance landed him a job as a writer for the show and the show’s untimely demise led to a slot as the featured comedian on Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television tour. A gifted actor as well as a comedian, he’s been featured on Comedy Central’s “John Oliver & Friends,” Lopez Tonight and Laffapalooza; HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comic View, NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo and Starz’s Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment.

Wayne Federman’s Woody Allen joke was voted the #4 joke of the year in the New York Post last year. You might also have seen him in one of these movies (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 50 First Dates , Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Legally Blonde,) on The X-Files or The Larry Sanders Show, through his own stand-up performances, or unwittingly have been exposed to his wit through his time as the head monologue writer on the inaugural season of The Jimmy Fallon Show.

Amy Schumer’s wholesome, girl-next-door looks give her edgy comedy even more of an impact. A rapidly rising star (who made her debut by coming in fourth on Last Comic Standing in 2007). she’s a favorite of Ellen DeGeneres and a master at heckling hecklers.

The London Evening Standard called Kyle Kinane “bleak and misanthropic,” which he still feels may be a compliment. He made Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch of 2010” and his episode of Comedy Central Presents premiered in February 2011.

Bumbershoot veteran Rory Scovel returns to dazzle audiences with his spontaneous creativity and absurd view of the world. Well known for his improvisational skills, he’s been a festival favorite.

Julian McCullough is a self-proclaimed “super fun guy,” and his take on relationships and life as a cat-owning, single straight guy in NYC is enough to induce fits of giggles in even the most curmudgeonly. He’s also had his own Comedy Central special and may or may not be soliciting funds to protect his neighbors by buying curtains for his apartment.

Freestyle Love Supreme operates on a simple principle – get words from the audience, use them to inspire new rap songs and build a hip-hop community. Word.


The Pacific Northwest’s not just a rich environment for indie rock, it’s also a veritable goldmine for indie comedy. This isn’t regional pride speaking, folks – it’s fact. Check out the roster below for a full listing of some of the PNW’s best and brightest (and funniest) denizens.

Laff Hole

Laff Hole is Comedy Stage West's flagship show. Every night at Bumbershoot The People's Republic of Komedy presents Seattle's most exciting stand-up, sketch, and video, helmed by a special guest.

John Keister – former Almost Live! host John Keister is a staple in the Seattle comedy community and a pioneer of Northwest humor.

Andy Haynes – Laff Hole vet and NYC transplant Andy Haynes returns to his hometown for a reunion with his Laff Hole pals.

Blood Squad Reunion - The wildly talented improvisers/terror experts of Blood Squad (Brandon Felker, Elicia Wickstead, and Molly Arkin) reunite one last time.

Stop Podcasting Yourself
Comedians Graham Clark and Dave Shumka present their podcast live. Part of the Maximum Fun podcasting network, Clark and Shumka bring together comedians and friends to discuss things both trivial and momentous in Vancouver's top comedy podcast.

The Ashley Judd Comedy Hour

The Ashley Judd Comedy Hour formed when its celebrity creator gathered Seattle's six funniest juvenile delinquents and molded them into a tight comedy unit. Now they perform a brand new hour of sketches, characters, and stand-up every month at the People's Republic Kafe.

Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery

An ecstatic coming-together of Seattle’s comedy and performance scenes, Weird and Awesome is an eclectic comic spectacle. Comedian Emmett Montgomery presents stand-up, songs, stories, videos, and more. Assisted by child prodigy Barbara Holm.

The Humor Program

The Humor Program follows the hilarious hijinks of Jake Barker and his sidekick David Tveite, with music by Devin Badoo and The Humor Program Band. The show features stand-up, interviews, puppets, and much, much more.

Sketchfest Showcase
Seattle Sketchfest, the hub of the Northwest sketch comedy scene, curates this showcase of Seattle's best writers and performers of sketch.

Kitty Cats in Pirate Hats

Based at West Seattle's Shipwreck Tavern, Kitty Cats in Pirate Hats is a showcase of the area's most talented young comedians. Featuring the show's creators Zach Gabriel, Edrease Peshtaz, and Adam Firestone.

Luke Burbank's Too Beautiful To Live is a podcasting sensation. Burbank, America's foremost “Imaginary Radio Host” (a term he invented), invites comedians, writers, celebrities, and every other kind of fascinating person into his studio to gab. Now TBTL is live.

Funbucket is an improvised comedy extravaganza. Featuring some of Seattle's most skilled improvisors, it’s a mainstay of Wing-It Productions. Sharing the stage is Charles, the sketch comedy twosome of Charlie Stockman and Chuck Armstrong, who are known for cerebral humor bordering on sheer arrogance.

Comedy is O.K.
Portland's favorite sons Mikey Kampmann, Paul Schlesinger, and Andrew Michaan bring their formidable irreverence to Bumbershoot. A powerhouse of Northwest comedy, Comedy is O.K. is not to be missed!TICKETS

Single-day tickets, three-day passes and Gold and Platinum passes for Bumbershoot 2011 are available for purchase at

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