The Milwaukee Comedy Festival runs from Thursday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 10. But it really starts at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Because the kickoff event will be just as worth seeing as the other nine shows. That’s why.

Unlike the other nine shows, the kickoff features only local talent, instead of a mix of local and out-of-towners. It’s called the Milwaukee Comedy Showcase.

And here’s who’s scheduled to appear:

After School Special, improv – Here’s a bunch of Milwaukee-reared comedians who studied improv through First Stage’s Organized Chaos and now are a few years past high school, so therefore odder and wiser. Joel Boyd, Kevin Gerrity, Nevin Langhus and Anna Wolfe have continued to practice their funny stuff away in the interim. Their reunion should be a real treat.

Crouch Comedy, sketch – These clowns also met through improv workshops and liked performing together so much they decided to form a sketch group. You probably recognize some of them from professional ComedySportz matches. The Crouch cast includes Laura Bialek, Bradley Colmerauer, Carly Malison, Evan Schroeder, Morgan Tremper, Jon Waldbauer and Pami Zorko. Their slogan: “Crouch Comedy doesn’t take comedy sitting down, or standing up!”

The Goodnight Milwaukee Show, sketch and standup – Standup comedians Jake Kornely and Tyler Menz perform a Milwaukee-centered live, late-night talk show with guests and gags and games and jokes. It’s just like Conan, Jimmy or Jimmy except it’s got two heads.

We’ll say this about the kickoff show: It’s the best bargain of the fest.

Click here to get $8 kickoff tickets, or pay $10 at the door.

The kickoff and the whole Milwaukee Comedy Festival are at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.