Two sidesplitting nights of homegrown comedy are coming this spring to north central West Virginia.
Jason A. Young, the Founding Producer and Artistic Director of The Vintage Theatre Company, LLC, cordially invites audiences to the 2nd Annual West Virginia Comedy Festival, April 8-9, 2016, at the Bridgeport Country Club in Bridgeport, West Virginia.
The brainchild of Young and comedian and arts advocate Steve Goff, The West Virginia Comedy Festival is produced by The Vintage Theatre Company, LLC, and hosted by The Fearless Fools.
“This is the second year for the festival and the second year for the Country Club as our venue,” said Young. “We had a great time last year, and we are planning on building, growing, and improving the event this year.”
This year’s festival will feature six shows spread across two nights, as well as a Saturday afternoon Improv Summit.
The Friday, April 8, 2016, schedule includes a 6:00 p.m. Stand-Up Showcase featuring Jacob Hall, Joel Gant, Christian Cox, Lawton Parnell, and others. After the showcase, storyteller and humorist Bil Lepp takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Bil Lepp is an internationally known storyteller and humorist. A five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, his outrageous tall tales and witty stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages.
“Bil was our headliner on Saturday night last year and is still probably the funniest guy that will be there this year,” said Young. “He truly is one of the treasures of our state and makes me belly laugh every time I hear him tell stories.”
He is an award-winning author and recording artist and has been featured at venues across the nation, including an appearance on Comedy Central. Lepp is the recipient of the Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award.
Friday night concludes with a 9:00 p.m. performance by the festival hosts, The Fearless Fools.
The Fearless Fools are Vintage Theatre Company’s Comedy Troupe. Founded on April 1, 2013, by Steve Goff and featuring the comedic talents of Christian Cox, Steve McElroy, Craig Snider, Liz Rossi, Lauren Swann, Matthew Tolliver, and Jason A. Young, The Fools specialize in a unique blend of short-form and long-form improv comedy.
“The Fools have had a pretty fantastic first quarter of 2016. We have had great shows all over the state and are beginning to get some bookings in new communities as well,” said Young. “However, Comedy Festival is our biggest weekend of the year. This year we are going to show some new stuff we have been working on.”
The Fools will also open the festival up on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. with a new comedy show form they have been creating called FOOLS FUSION.
“Fools Fusion is a true comedy show,” said Young. “We are going to attempt to seamlessly weave together improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy into one 75-minute show.”
A second Stand-Up Showcase featuring John Ralich, Ian Nolte, Lee Hale, Andy Frampton, and others will be presented at 7:30 p.m. The festival finale will be a 9:00 p.m. performance by the Charleston-based improv team The No Pants Players.
The No Pants Players, who performed at last year’s festival, are the oldest established permanent comedy team in West Virginia, having been making people laugh for over fifteen years.
“We feel like we have a pretty great line-up for this year’s festival, with performances by nearly fifty West Virginia comedians,” said Young. “We are also very excited about the special event that we are adding on Saturday afternoon.”
The West Virginia Comedy Festival’s Improv Summit, the first of its kind, will be held Saturday afternoon at the Bridgeport Country Club.
The state has five year-round improv teams or comedy troupes, including the Fearless Fools and the No Pants Players. All five groups have been invited to meet in Bridgeport on the afternoon of Saturday, April 9, 2016.
The summit will begin with a private, team member only, networking lunch with a guest speaker. Then, the doors will open to the general public at 1:30 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m., a performance featuring all five teams will begin.
The performance will start with each team presenting a 15-minute showcase about their team and their style of comedy. Then, after a short intermission the entire group will attempt to hold the largest improv jam in state history.
“It’s kind of a crazy idea,” said Young. “But our kind of crazy: some of it will be great, some of it will be a mess, but it should all be very funny.”
The Bridgeport Country Club will be providing a cash bar and a food menu for all of the Comedy Festival events.
Tickets for the Comedy Festival’s evening performances on Friday and Saturday are $20 for each night until March 31, 2016. On April 1, 2016, those tickets increase to $25 each night.
Tickets to the Improv Summit on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.
Festival passes are also available for purchase. The Festival Pass gives admission to both evenings of shows as well as the Saturday afternoon Improv Summit. The passes are $30 until March 31, 2016. On April 1, 2016, passes will cost $40.
The Vintage Theatre Company prefers ticket orders to be made via email at VintageTheatreCo@gmail.com; however, the Box Office can be reached by phone at 1-855-VTC-8588.
“We have already begun making plans for the 2017 festival,” said Young. “We will be making a very big announcement about those plans during this year’s festival weekend.”