The 2017 Cleveland Comedy Festival
The 10th annual Cleveland Comedy Festival wrapped up another successful event on Sunday. From Wednesday night until late Sunday afternoon, the CCF had a little slice of everything for your comedy pie-hole. Obviously, we could not even come close to attending/covering all the great shows and comedians. But here is a basic rundown of events and some highlights.
Things kicked off Wednesday night with Accidental Comedy’s Josh Morrow hosting “The Four Horsemen of Comedy” at Playhouse Square’s Outcalt Theatre. If that was too early for you, there was another late-night show (on both Wednesday and Thursday) featuring a diverse cast of really good comics from around the country at Kennedy’s Theatre.
The Outcalt Theatre also hosted an event with Cleveland’s own Fred Willard on Friday night. Yeah, THAT Fred Willard. The guy that has been making us all laugh for decades. If you have to look up his career credits, your television must have been broken for at least 30 years. Steering the conversation and flow of the show was Mike McIntyre of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Not a bad comedy gift to start our Christmas month!
Saturday was highlighted by three events.
Liz Huff and Tim Cornett hosted “A Crooked Christmas” at Kennedy’s Theatre to start the day off the right way. Nice and early, clocking in for an afternoon show that did not disappoint. Then, from 7-8:30pm, Mr. Bill Squire and Jasmyn Carter represented Cleveland very well as the Outcalt Theatre hosted the CCF’s 10th Anniversary Special. Yep, marking a decade of great festivals is definitely an accomplishment worth saluting!
Also happening throughout Saturday was:
“Ladies, Laughs and Wine” which had some great female Clevelanders like Juanda Mayfield, Jess Faulstich and Liz Blanc. The Yang to that Yin was another Saturday event called
“Bros and Beer”. Proud penis owners Chris Clem, John Wellington, Craig Peters, Dorian Vasquez, Tim Cornett and Bill Squire flaunted their Y-chromosomes all over Kennedy’s Theatre.
There was a “Squeaky Clean Show” that closed out the festival and many other satellite shows that we didn’t even list.
So that should give the unfamiliar some idea as to the scope of this thing. It was big. Some would even say “Yuge”.
The part of the fest that we focused on the most was the CCF Contest. We hit the Outcalt Theatre for the finals on Saturday night and the tone was immediately obvious...the competition was going to be rough!
When NYC’s Pedro Gonzalez went first, I felt bad for whoever was going second. Until I saw Zahid Dewji. Then I knew the biggest problem was going to be voting. As in, who do you single out from a cast of such funny people?
Answer: Cleveland’s own Jimmy McNamara!
McNamara managed to work his hometown charm and a really great set to edge out Pedro, Zahid, Chris Clem (he of the proud penis, remember?), Maurice Shaw, and a very funny and linguistically-amazing Michelle Sui among others.
Tiffany Walker took a raucous second and Pedro Gonzalez is the funniest third place I have ever seen. There were too many good competitors to list them all because they were ALL good. It was a very fun and funny evening!
A special thanks to the Cleveland Comedy Festival for a great five days of laughs. And an extra special thanks to Steve Guy for hooking us up, showing us around and doing all the work he put in. We plan to add auxiliary staff to cover the entire event next year and help volunteer. It’s a great event for Cleveland!