Nick Swardson

You could easily go to nothing but comedy shows for the three full days of Bumbershoot without too much redundancy. You’d have a pretty difficult time though. The comedy festival within a music festival that happens here every year is kind of a mixed bag. If you aren’t willing to pony up for the VIP tickets, of which there are a limited amount, then you’re looking at long waits. (That’s if first you wait in line early in the day for the free, but limited comedy tickets.) Otherwise it’s the standby line, and there’s no guarantees there, except that you’re not off somewhere else seeing another show. All of that being said, once you’re in a seat, you’re laughing.

A theme of this year’s comedy shows was babies. Babies making baby noises in the audience, and the comics commenting on it, like Jason Mantzoukas, who demanded (with increasing emphasis) that the parent with a noisy baby bring him the baby during a taping of How Did This Get Made. This was on Sunday. (For the record, the parent never gave him the baby.) There were other babies. Brian Posehn brought out his kid (toddler, not baby, but work with me) at the beginning of his set at the show I saw with him on Monday. This was with Damien Lemon and Karen Killgariff. Posehn had the child taken to a nice safe place away from his dirty jokes after saying hi to the audience holding his child.

Karen Killgariff‘s performance in that show was one of the best moments of the festival for me. I knew of her from Mr. Show, where she was a cast member. (Between her, Posehn, and Paul F. Tompkins it was like a mini-Mr Show reunion this weekend.) She’s now among other things, a guitar comic. She told us that she responds very negatively to encouragement, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Besides the song that she sang out of her range on purpose, it was a Tenacious D-esque combination of great singing and hilarity.

This was the one that slayed me:

There was such a quantity of comedy at Bumbershoot that some national acts wound up migrating up the hill after the festival. If you went up to Capitol Hill Sunday night after Bumbershoot, you might have seen Ron Funches do a drop-in performance at Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery at Annex Theatre, or later on at the Laff Hole after-party at Chop Suey, where Funches was also joined by James Adomian, among others. A loud room for comics to perform in, to be sure, but fun party.

Ron Funches

The final comedy show for me at Bumbershoot was The Benson Interruption. Attendees of the show on Monday were made aware of other off-campus shananigans for a group of comics at the gentlemen’s club Little Darlings. (Ew.) Kumail Nanjiani started the story about his first trip to a strip club when he was brought out as Doug Benson’s co-interrupter. Later Kurt Braunohler finished the story. In the meantime and in-between time James Adomian did his impression of Jesse Ventura doing dub-step, Jay Hollingsworth told a grandly fecal anecdote, Nick Swardson made a hung-over appearance to complement the drunk performance I saw the day before. All told, The Benson Interruption would have been well worth the line.

And that’s the thing- don’t let the lines stop you from seeking out the many great comedy shows that come part and parcel with your ticket. Bumbershoot is truly a music AND arts festival. Every year there are outstanding comedians worthy of your patronage, and the laughs that you’ll be unable to hold back. What were your favorite moments? Which Doug Loves Movies was the best, Which How Did This Get Made? There were so many I had to miss; I’m going to need your help to get the full picture.

Culture Bumbershoot 2012 Comedy Round-Up