The Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) is the greatest week of the year. Full stop. No other five days on the calendar combines comedy, friends, and Jell-O shots quite like DCF. One of the best parts of the festival is that there are fantastic shows happening every single night. Yes, we all know that Sasheer and 3Peat are going to kill it on Friday and Saturday, but there are also some amazing shows happening all week. Here are some that I’m especially excited about!
The Jam (8 p.m.) (Free)
Every Tuesday night at the Dallas Comedy House, improvisers come together to jam. But the Dallas Comedy Festival kicks off with a special improv Jam featuring a who’s who of festival performers. Last year, all around hilarious dude Cesar Villa started a game in a scene where he listed all of his DCH credits, and I still think about how hard it made me laugh.
Block Party (10:30 p.m.) (Free)
This show has been around almost as long as the theater itself, but 2018 marks the festival debut of Block Party! Raye Maddox is the current host, and in addition to showcasing a variety of acts, his version has also featured some fascinating narrative arcs. Once he knocked his noggin, forgot where he was, and spent the whole show piecing together why he was on stage. Quick quiz: Can you name all five people that have hosted this show over the years? The answer can be found at the end of the article.
Improv (7:30 p.m.) ($10 advanced tickets/$15 at the door)
The 7:30 p.m. Thursday show features three fantastic improv comedy groups. Big Turtle and Cupcake! are regular DCH favorites, and on this night, they’ll be joined by ComedySportz DFW. CSZ DFW (note: This would make a pretty cool license plate) performs a brand of improv that is fun, high energy, and very interactive. PLUS THEIR SHOW IS A COMPETITION AND ONE TEAM LOSES. Finally, improv is sports!
Stand-up (8:30 p.m.) ($10 advanced tickets/$15 at the door)
Sorry for wasting your time with a second recommendation, but I couldn’t pick and am very excited about both of these Thursday shows. This hour of stand-up features four, top-notch comedians who you’re not going to want to miss. Ashlee Voorsanger was a fan favorite at DCF 2017, Ky Krebs released a hilarious SeeSo special this past year, Brian Bahe hosts a fantastic podcast about UFOs, and Aaron Aryanpur has been one of the best stand-ups in Dallas for years.
Improv (7:30 p.m.) ($20 advanced tickets/$25 at the door)
The Late 90’s are back! This is the third year in a row that they’ve performed at DCF, and I hope they come back forever. The Late 90’s are a Harold team based out of iO Chicago that takes a show format known for being difficult and creates a hilarious, accessible show. Opening for them is Midnight Passion, a veteran team from Dallas that puts up consistently great shows and features aforementioned Block Party host Raye Maddox. Blogging is a Harold!
Black Girl Giggles and Gettin’ It Storytelling (9 p.m.) ($10 advanced tickets/$15 at the door)
Black Girl Giggles is a collection of African-American comediennes based out of New Orleans. They combine their powers to create a variety show that is always entertaining. Joining them is Gettin’ It Storytelling, which is one of my favorite shows at the Dallas Comedy House. Here’s an interview I did with them a few months back where I fanboy’d out.
Improv (9:30 pm) ($12 advanced tickets/$17 at the door)
Far too often, improv shows end up looking relatively similar. An ensemble cast collects a one-word suggestion, the lights go down, and then they improvise a montage of scenes. What makes 9:30 p.m. on Saturday so interesting is that all three teams create shows that are wildly different from the average improv show. 10:02 is large group based out of St. Louis that improvises a mono scene (a format normally saved for groups of just two or three people). This ensemble takes on the challenge and creates hilarious shows. Warm Milk is a local team who is constantly evolving and experimenting with different structures and elements. And the third team, ZOOM!, improvises silently, yielding laughs exclusively from their fantastic physical acting!
Quiz Answer: Amanda Austin, Jude Sutton, Jason Hackett, Sallie Bowen, and Raye Maddox.
David Allison is writer and performer at the Dallas Comedy House who can currently be seen with Ballast Point, David & Terry, and The Rift, as well as directing the sketch team Walker Dog and the improv team Watermelon. Previous credits include Jason: A Campy Musical, Freddy: A Devilish Musical, That 90s Show, Return Of The 90s, Sensation: The Next Great Play, The DCH Roast Series, and more!