After pandemic-related delays, comedians from around the nation will take center stage next week at the third annual D.C. Comedy Festival.
The event, which will take place at several locations throughout the District, will feature open mics, dinners and headliners, from Monday to Saturday next week. The festival will host about 50 comedian performers and will be held at venues including Dupont Underground and Busboys and Poets over the course of the week.
Grace Jung, a Los Angeles-based comedian performing at the festival, said she was initially accepted to perform at the event last year, but it was canceled and rescheduled due to the pandemic. She said she remains “cautious” of the virus but is looking forward to being back on stage after not being able to perform during the pandemic.
“I’ve been on the road again since early this year,” Jung said in an email. “I noticed that the audience has been missing us just as much as we’ve been missing them.”
Three comedians from the D.C. metro area came up with the idea for the festival as a way to showcase comics of all levels. The event is aimed to engage the public with the comedy community and provide an educational workshop for comedians to network with each other and help them build their brand. The festival will also raise money for Dupont Underground – an art organization that exhibits non-conventional artwork from a diverse range of artists.
Jung said the festival will be her first time performing in D.C. She said she is “fond” of the District, which she said is well-known for being home to great comedians, and is eager to get to know the D.C. crowd at her performance Monday at Dupont Underground.
“Each crowd is different and some of that depends on the city,” she said. “D.C. is an interesting city. It’s just a bit south of New York where I grew up. I think we’ll vibe.”
D.C.’s comedy scene includes groups like Underground Comedy in Dupont Circle, Capitol Laughs – which sets up weekly performances at Tonicon campus – and DC Improv, which is scheduled to host a comedy festival at the Kennedy Center later this month.
Dan Kapr, a Pittsburgh-based comedian scheduled to perform on Monday night, said he is looking forward to seeing friends at the festival and returning to the stage now that he performs less frequently due to the pandemic.
“My stand-up is mostly a combination of absurdist humor and stuff about dealing with anxiety,” he said in an email. “I do a lot of one-liners. I’ve been told that I seem nervous on stage which is such a compliment.”
Rachel Fogletto, a comedian based in Philadelphia, said she is looking forward to participating in the DC Comedy Festival for the first time. Fogletto, who will perform on Monday, said she started traveling more for her comedy shows a few years before the pandemic began and wanted to partake in the festival to network and perform with other comedians from around the country in front of a live audience.
“For the most part, audiences have been really cool and appreciative, I think especially since the luxuries of going out were unavailable for a while,” she said.
Tony Woods, a comedian known for his role as a mentor to Dave Chapelle, will headline the festival’s finale show next Saturday night.
Tickets are on sale through the day of each event and range from $10 to $25. Guests must show proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 negative test, and masks must be worn at all times.