Sophomore slump? More like sophomore bump. The second annual Idaho Laugh Fest was better-attended overall than last year's, says festival director Megan Bryant. And while there's still plenty of room to grow and improve, organizers were pleased on many levels.
The Jan. 8-10 event showcased more than 70 stand-up and improv comics at five Boise-area venues.
Liquid Laughs was packed much of the time. The comedy club’s performances at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday sold out. “It was great,” Liquid owner Jeremy Aevermann says.
Headlining comic David Huntsberger filled the Egyptian Theatre to about 75 percent of its capacity Jan. 10, Bryant says. And about 400 people attended a free family matinee.
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Seeing new faces in the audiences filled Aevermann with optimism about Boise’s growing comedy scene.
“It makes me excited,” he says. “As long as we keep doing it good and right, I think in the next couple of years it will blow up even more.”
Bryant would love to see that. After coming from out of nowhere to launch Idaho Laugh Fest in January 2014, she set higher goals for year two. Despite solid overall attendance, ticket sales last weekend still fell a few thousand dollars short of her goal. Late-night crowds at spots such as ComedySportz Boise weren't always strong. Bryant says that Laugh Fest’s finances will end up about
$500 plus or minus of breaking even about $1,500 in the red.
"Considering all the additional expenses I had this year with re-branding and re-building from ... website and design from the first year, I'm still pretty pleased with where we landed," she says.
Bryant will donate a portion of proceeds from the festival's ticket sales to Boys and Girls Clubs of Ada County. That check will amount to about $1,100, she says.
Bryant also has already committed to organizing a third annual Idaho Laugh Fest in 2016.
“I’m pretty dang happy right now,” she says.