Your Guide to the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival

comedy fest-tallYou like to laugh, and we have all the laughs you need (plus a few extra just to be safe). There is plenty of info out there (like this post from Milwaukee Record) on the comedy taking the stage in the 9th Milwaukee Comedy Festival. So to give you some info on all the little stuff, here is your official Guide to the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival! We tackle the BIG questions like: is there parking? (yes, and FREE!) and is there a bar? (yes, but not free). Keep reading if you want more info than that. We’ll start this out nice and easy: The 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival will take place at Next Act Theatre (255 S. Water St. in Walker’s Point).

What are the shows like?

Every show is different and features a variety of live comedy including stand up, improv and sketch comedy. There are nine different shows featuring dozens of the best comedy acts from across the continent! Expect to see some of the best comedians around, many of them appearing on television and touring across the country. Shows are for those 18+ (except the Teen Comedy Show!). Seating is General Admission for all shows. Each show requires a separate ticket or an All Access Pass to enter. We suggest purchasing tickets ahead of time as shows often sell out (Ticket info is below).jimbo The official Kick Off Event is Wednesday, August 6th starting at 7pm. Then we jump right into another 8 shows Thursday, August 7th at 6pm and end with the Teen Comedy Show on Sunday, Aug. 10th at 2pm.  You can see the complete line up right here.

Food and Drinks

Food will be provided by some fantastic food vendors this year: American Euros, Hard Wood Cafe and Pete’s Pops! Yum! There is full bar service at Next Act Theatre. This years comedy festival is fortunate to partner with Sprecher Brewery and Great Lakes Distillery! We will feature delicious beer and soda from Sprecher, and mixing cocktails with GLD spirits. mcftickets

Tickets

If you plan indulge in comedy like you do for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to grab an All Access Pass. There is less indigestion, and there are some great perks (like a cool lanyard and picking your seat before anyone else!). It saves you a few bucks too, $50 to get into 9 different shows: that’s les than $6 a show! Word on the street is there is a limited number, so grab one while you can. If your interested in seeing shows ala carte, Single Tickets are only $15 if you buy them now, or you can wait and pay $20 day of the show. You can also buy tickets by calling the Next Act Theatre box office at 414-278-0765 or visiting them at 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53204.

Parking and DirectionsNext Act

Next Act Theatre is located in Historic Walkers Point, right by the new 88.9 Radio Milwaukee studio. The Milwaukee Comedy Festival offers Free Parking available via the adjacent parking lot next to Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St., as well as plenty of street parking that is free! Don’t forget about the great restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the area. Here is a map!

Looking for even more info? Check out the official Milwaukee Comedy Website: http://festival.milwaukeecomedy.com

This Festival Features the Funny!

It’s always exciting to see what kind of line up the annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival puts together. This year doesn’t disappoint, with plenty of talent from all over including Milwaukee, Chicago, L.A. and Canada. Wisconsin’s largest comedy event celebrates nine years this year, August 7-10, 2014. The annual event will offer audiences a variety of comedy stylings including professional stand up, improvisation and sketch comedy. You can grab tickets for only $15 right here before it’s too late, or try your luck for $20 day of the show.

Milwaukee Comedy FestivalCan’t get enough comedy? You can grab an All Access Pass and gain access to every show and Kick Off event in the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival. And if that wasn’t good enough, an All Access Pass also snags you a limited edition lanyard, first-choice seating for the shows, and a button or sticker.

All events in the 2014 Milwaukee Comedy Festival will take place at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee, and things will kick off with a Milwaukee Comedy Showcase on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 7:00pm. The evening will feature a Meet & Greet with Performers and Festival Staff and then great Stand up and Sketch Comedy from some of Milwaukee’s top performers with Crouch Comedy and The Goodnight Milwaukee Show.

Here is the complete Milwaukee Comedy Festival Show Line Up:

Thursday, August 7, 2014
6:00pm
Improv Jam
Variety Hour Happy Hour

8:00pm
Geoffrey Asmus – Stand Up, Madison, WI
Matt Griffo – Musical Comedy, Chicago, IL
Broadminded – Sketch, Milwaukee, WI

comedy fest-tall
Friday, August 8, 2014
8:00p
Mary Zee – Stand Up, Chicago, IL
Sketch Marks – Sketch, Milwaukee, WI
Tallboys – Improv, Milwaukee, WI

10pm
Dan Friesen – Stand Up, Chicago, IL
Jack and the Wolf – Improv, Chicago, IL
That Just Happened – Sketch, Chicago, IL

Saturday, August 9, 2014
6:00pm
Mario Robinson – Stand Up, Milwaukee, WI
Busy Bar – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
Divorced Siblings – Sketch

8:00pm
Rob Christensen – Stand Up, Los Angeles, CA
Chairs – Improv, Chicago, IL
Cash Grab – Sketch, Toronto, Canada

10:00pm
Eric Koconis – Stand Up, Milwaukee, WI
Last Action Movie – Improv, Minneapolis, MN
Three to Turn the Stool– Improv, Chicago, IL

Sunday, August 10, 2014
2pm Teen Comedy Show!
Organized Chaos – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
Brown Deer H.S. – Improv, Milwaukee, WI
4 Guys, 1 Mic – Improv, Milwaukee, WI

All Access Comedy Festival Passes Go!

You can finally go out side without a jacket (at least most of this week), Summerfest is in full swing and the smell of beer is in the air! That can mean only one thing, Milwaukee Comedy Festival All Access Passes are now available!

Milwaukee All Access PassWisconsin’s largest comedy event has offered crowds hundreds of hours of laughs over the years. Everything from stand up, improv and sketch comedy from across the country. Seasoned comedy festival goers know the best way to see all that funny is with an All Access Pass! Good for entry to all shows, Kick Off and Special Events, an All Access Pass is the best value, and the best way to experience the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, August 7-10th, 2014.

Each All Access Pass is $50 and includes a cool lanyard that gains you admission to all shows in the 2014 MCF, some fun festival swag, priority seating at shows, and of course all the laughs you can, well, laugh.

And word on the street is (and by street, we mean our office), a limited number of All Access Passes are available, so hurry before they disappear like nice weather in Wisconsin!

You can find you’re All Access Pass right here on the official website.

Comedy Festival

Johnny Beehner on Festivals

Festival season is in steady course for comedians and The Milwaukee Comedy Festival is gearing up for another year of great laughs! We thought it would be a great idea to talk with local great Johnny Beehner about comedy festivals!

Johnny BeehnerJohnny, who recently competed in Gilda’s LaughFest Best in the Midwest Competition and returned to Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, was awesome enough to chat with us about his experiences with comedy festivals and offered some humbling advice for young comedians looking to submit to festivals.

(Milwaukee Comedy) You recently finished Laughfest and Laughing Skull…what were the most enjoyable moments that came from those experiences? What did you learn that you didn’t know before going into these events?

(Johnny) don’t know that I learned a ton that I didn’t know before going into those. I did go to a couple of seminars at the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival on the business of comedy and what industry is looking for. This was my 3rd time doing the Laughing Skull Festival and I love it every time—lots of comics, lots of opportunities to hang with comics, and lots of industry.

LaughFest was great because it is so well put together and a great cause! Gilda’s Club runs and puts on the festival and there are so many shows and it’s just great. The whole city of Grand Rapids gets behind it.

Here’s what I learned doing those festivals and talking to the higher ups: The comics that do the best are one’s that have a unique point of view and are very memorable. There were some comics that killed in their sets and didn’t advance. These judges see over 60 comics and they look for the one’s they will remember weeks after the festival.

Ya got to stick out.


There’s more to these events than winning and performing…can you explain what some of the benefits of participating or just hanging around festivals/contests?

The best part is getting to hang out with comics that you don’t get to see very often.  As comics, we all work at the same time and only 2 or 3 work together on weekend shows, and if you are at the same level as each other, you never get to work together.  That is why festivals are so great. Comics get to hang out and have a week of fun together. 

The networking is really important. If you don’t live in NY or LA, festivals are a great opportunity to get seen and meet people in industry that can help your career. I met very important [individual] at the Laughing Skull Festival the year I didn’t even advance [who] I to this day have a pretty close relationship with.

How do (did) you typically choose which festivals/contests you enter or perform in?

The reputation of the festival based on just talking to other comics. There are a LOT of festivals that pop up that make a lot of money for the person putting it together that don’t really do much for the comics that have to pay to be in them. That’s upsetting, so I am pretty picky.

I’m not saying every festival has to have promises of boosting your career, but it needs to be well organized and provide lots of social opportunities for fun.

Laughing Skull is great about that—they have lots of parties and outings, and a kickball game, etc. I’ve kind of gone through my “submit to every festival” phase and am pretty picky now. If you have to pay to submit AND there are no accommodations included, it’d have to be really GREAT festival for me to give it a shot.b

Sometimes comedians will avoid applying to (or get upset when denied from) certain festivals and contests. What are some suggestions that may help new comedians understand the process of entering these sorts of events from your experiences?

Obviously it sucks getting rejected from a festival, but I think comics just have to understand how it goes.  As long as they don’t look at the roster and feel like it was an obvious game of unfair playing favorites, then I think they understand. I usually put it out of my mind right after I submit to stuff.  Waiting and hoping doesn’t change anything.

What would you say to newer comedian looking to enter contests or festivals to avoid?

Just make sure your submission video is professional and the best stuff you got. It has to have great sound quality AND it has to look great. You can be killing, but if its shot from a cell phone and a guy’s head keeps popping in front of the camera, it’s annoying to watch and nobody will care how well you’re doing. 

Johnny Beehner
What are things to avoid worrying about in contests?

Winning. You can hope to win, but try not to stress and worry. I know that is way easier said than done, but its true. When I feel like I need or want to win so bad, I perform way worse than when I am laid back and relaxed. Comedy is subjective.

The important thing is doing a good show and being you. Most festivals that have a contest aspect to it, the contest doesn’t mean much, it’s more of a gimmick for the audience to get excited about. They feel like they are witnessing a live reality show.

What is the atmosphere like at these events?

Some comics are chill and some are pacing. It’s fun because they are usually GREAT shows. Everyone wants to do their best and is on their game so the audience really gets a great show. 

Is it best to submit with friends or alone or does it matter?

I like both. I have done it both ways. I used to do it alone and took them really seriously and got stressed if someone wanted to do something that prevented me from focusing, but now I try to go with friends. I did Laughing Skull with my good buddy, Mike Merryfield last year and this year. We both have pretty good attitudes about not caring what happens. Last year we both got knocked out right away and had a blast.  This year, Mike didn’t advance and I made it to the finals and it was fine. 

How often are practical jokes played between comedians during these events? What are some you’ve pulled on your fellow comedians?

 

Ha. Not a whole lot of pranks other than farting in someone’s face when they are sleeping and stealing each others phones to post horrible facebook status’s on each other’s fb accounts. This day in age, at these festivals, it’s a lot of incestual podcasting taking place. Everyone has a podcast. In fact, if you wanna hear what happens at comedy festivals, listen to Mike Merryfield’s Irrelevant Radio Podcast. We recorded a bunch this year and last year festivals. Some with industry, and some where we were super drunk and just making each other laugh at 3am.

 

If you’d like to find information for upcoming Johnny Beehner events check www.johnnybeehner.com. You can also grab Johnny’s album ‘Tiny Weiner’ on iTunes! Connect and Follow Johnny on Twitter @johnnycomic.

Don’t forget to check out information on The Milwaukee Comedy Festival!

 

  • Tickets Tickets Buy Tickets for upcoming Milwaukee Comedy Events!
  • The Comedy Arcade The Comedy Arcade Milwaukee’s new, collaborative comedy showcase featuring. A little of everything for every comedy enthusiast!
  • Retro Comedy Show Retro Comedy Show A night of new comedy based on old ideas! Standup, improv and a surprise retro 70's, 80's or 90's sitcom live on stage.
  • Variety Hour Happy Hour Variety Hour Happy Hour An all new variety comedy show with live music, special guests and plenty of comedy acts!
  • Featured Comedy Featured Comedy There are plenty of high-quality comedy shows and performers. Here are our favorites!

Archives