Big names, bigger venues for Charleston Comedy Festival


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston Comedy Festival kicks off Wednesday night and it boasts not only new venues but new acts and bigger names in comedy.One of the more recognizable names, Wyatt Cenac, is most known for being a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" but was also a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade and wrote for the animated series, "King of the Hill.""We are excited to be hosting a big show in the Charleston Music Hall this year," said Theatre 99's Co-Artistic Director Brandy Sullivan. "With the capacity of that house, we were able to reach out to artists (like Wyatt Cenac) who would normally not be able to attend because of smaller venue size."Cenac isn't the only big name coming to town. Comedian and author Michael Ian Black is returning and he's doing a show with fellow "The State" alum, Kevin Allison.While shows in the past stretched into North Charleston and Summerville, this year the festival is sticking close to the peninsula. The only show that isn't downtown is at the Lighthouse on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant. New venues this year include the Woolfe Street Playhouse and Redux Contemporary Gallery.Ticket prices start at $5 (Laugh for a Lincoln) and only go as high as $22.50 for the Wyatt Cenac show."We hope that the Charleston area folks will come out and see some shows because it's a great opportunity see stand up, improv and sketch comedy from NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Richmond, Boston, Charleston and many other places," said Sullivan. "This is our 10th year and we are looking forward to the next ten!"It's also a chance for local comedians to shine. On the opening night of the festival Charleston's own Doppelganger brings rock n' roll to improv comedy at Theatre 99 along with improv groups Cat Hugging Cats and Organized Chaos. {}If you prefer standup to improv, they've got that too. Comedians Brett Druck, Adam Newman and Vicky Kuperman (all from New York) share the stage at the American Theatre on Jan 18 and at the Lighthouse on Jan 19.If you like to shop local for your comedy, there was a stand-up competition at Theatre 99 last month and the winners, Dusty Slay, Andy Rider and Lauren Krass, get their own show at the Lighthouse on Jan 18.

If you like sketch comedy, there's also The Late Live Show out of Chicago, The Prom from New York and The Pushers from Virginia. Sketch comedy is also the flavor Michael Ian Black will be bringing to the Footlight Players Theatre both Friday and Saturday nights.An added bonus? If you buy a Charleston Comedy Festival ticket in advance, you get free tickets to a future Theatre 99 show. All you have to do is say "I dig T99" when you arrive at the box office for the show. The number of tickets you buy equals the number of free tickets you get.

It all wraps up Saturday night at Theatre 99 with the two-hour-long Festival Finale.For more information on the Charleston Comedy Festival, you can visit their website by clicking here.You can also see the events on our community calendar by clicking here.