Historically, comedy has often struggled in Boise as an art form, but that’s changing. Now, the third annual Idaho Laugh Fest — an all-out festival of standup, sketch and improv comedy — is gaining traction. Ticket sales are brisk and the future looks rosy for this stand-up and improv comedy festival, says founder Megan Bryant.
“It’s exciting,” Bryant says. “It feels like we’re getting momentum and people are noticing us. I hope this is the year that it proves itself and shows that it’s something the community will invest in.”
Next week, 70 comics from across the U.S. and Canada will converge on the Treasure Valley to perform 24 shows at four venues over three days.
Here’s some of what you can expect this year:
▪ Headliner Michael Malone might not be a household name currently, but this award-winning comedian and actor is definitely on the verge. He won the Seattle International Comedy Competition in 2012 and continues to be a hot ticket on the stand-up circuit. He recently co-wrote and starred in his first feature film “Bethlehem,” a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family Christmas in Bethlehem, Pa. Learn more about Malone in the Arts column, page 11.
▪ Discover Boise’s homegrown comedy scene. You’ll see lots of talented local comics performing throughout the festival, including Sherry Japhet, Sean Hancock, Bryant and many more.
▪ Bring the kids this year. Bryant added a 100 percent family-friendly venue at The Hub Student Center, 1408 W. State St., Boise. You’ll see some of the same comedians as at the other venues, but without the swear words and blue content. And check out the free improv showcase at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of adult entertainment at Liquid Lounge, 405 S. 8th St., Boise, and the Visual Arts Collective, 3638 Osage St., Garden City.
▪ Joke and a movie? Watch and listen as Boise comedians Brett Badostain, Chad Heft and Dylan Haas of “Comic Cinema Remix” take on the dino-riffic “Jurassic World” at the Laugh Fest at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Egyptian.
▪ If you’re a comedian looking to get some experience, get started or want to use comedy techniques in your everyday life, try one of the Laugh Fest workshops. You can learn storytelling techniques at 10 a.m. and get a chance to improv at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Egyptian.
Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 7-9, venues (Egyptian Theatre, Visual Arts Collective, The Hub, Liquid). $5-$20; $55 VIP. idaholaughfest.com.