Raleigh’s first-ever comedy festival kicks off this month.
If laughter is truly the best medicine, Raleigh’s comedy fans have their check-ups scheduled for the end of the month when the inaugural Oak City Comedy Festival hits town from May 22-26.
Produced and hosted by three local comedians—Shari Diaz, Matt White and Vinny Valdivia—each night of the festival offers a mix of stand-up, improv and sketch comedy, as well as nightly opportunities for locals to perform at open mics.
Like the Hopscotch Festival in downtown Raleigh each September, the Oak City Comedy Festival utilizes a wide range of venues, from traditional comedy settings such as Goodnights and Comedy Worx to more music-centric places, including Kings and the Pour House, and even the brand-spanking-new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Festival co-founder White says that the time is right for this kind of event. “There are so many artists in Raleigh, especially local comedians who practice their craft at Goodnights Comedy Club and independent showcases that local comics produce all around Raleigh,” he says. “A comedy festival will give the community a sense of what’s really going on in the comedy scene.”
The schedule offers early and late shows, so fans can see multiple shows each night, and since the venues are clustered in and around downtown, it’s not difficult to navigate from one show to another. Plus, show start times are staggered, so seeing more than one show each night is doable for those inclined.
White and his team are excited to bring in a diverse group of comedians from all over the country. “Some are up-and-comers, and most have TV credits and impressive resumes that feature big time comedians they’ve worked with,” he says.
Festival headliners include Andrew Schultz (May 26th, Neptunes), Andy Woodhull (May 24th, Imurj), Mia Jackson (May 23rd, Alamo Drafthouse), Mike Mello (May 23rd, Watts & Ward), J. Bliss (May 24th, Imurj) and Mark Kendall (May 26th, Comedy Worx).
All events are free the first night. For the rest of the festival, tickets range from $5 to $15. Tickets are available online at oakcitycomedyfestival.com or at the venues.
Tuesday, May 22
features improv at Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio, stand- up at North Street Beer Station and the Outpost and open-mic at Goodnights.
features improv at Sonorous Road, stand-up at Watts & Ward, Goodnights and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and open-mic at the Outpost.
Thursday, May 24
features improv at Comedy Worx, stand-up at Noir, Imurj, Neptunes and Proof at Five Points.
Friday, May 25
features stand-up at Neptunes, Kings and Goodnights, with improv at Comedy Worx.
Saturday, May 26
features improv at Comedy Worx, stand-up at the Pour House, Neptunes and Goodnights.