A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 24, 2015 at 10:29am PST
Once a year, The Riot LA Comedy Festival turns the ever blossoming Main St. in Downtown LA into an even more colorful affair. There are long lines delineated by pastel colored chalk and a concentrated distillation of some of the LA comedy scene’s finest as well as bringing in some of the funniest folks from around the country. In its third year, Riot LA has kept this phenomenon going to the point where it should become a time honored tradition to make a trek to Downtown LA.
If you didn’t happen to be in attendance last weekend for the festival, let us fill you in with some of our favorite moments at Riot LA 2015 (spoiler alert: there were no actual riots).
-NYC was well represented at Riot with great performances from Dan Soder, Dave Hill and his killer erotic short stories, Nick Turner, Sheng Wang, and Michelle Wolf who won the always crazy fun Happy Contest Time, a “stand-up contest” judged by Japanese school girls.
–Elisha Yaffe curated a fantastic series of offbeat, hysterical, fantastical, otherworldly, wonderful short films for “Weird Stories”. Whether it be the interconnecting bizarre events of an Interesting Ball from DANIELS or a video asking a stranger out while in costume from your job at a theme park from Andrew Peyton, the showcase proved short films (not viral videos) are very still much alive and are probably funnier than ever.
-Walking and talking showbiz encyclopedia Kliph Nesteroff chatted with the legendary Fred Willard. We were more than delightfully surprised to learn that Willard turned down the starring role in Airplane! and that, for a time when Fred was doing improv, he would have cut a scene short by have someone dressed up as a fairy that come out and announce the scene was over.
A photo posted by The Super Serious Show (@seriousshow) on Jan 17, 2015 at 8:34pm PST
-The LA comedy institution that is The Super Serious Show made a great showing per usual with one of the best on-stage duos around Kate Berlant and John Early at the host’s helm. Jerrod Carmichael offered some of the funniest bits about Bill Cosby we’ve heard since the allegations made the news, especially since he’s gotten to meet and chat with Cosby just before all of the controversy rose to the fever pitch that it is at now. Also, Nate Craig had a highlight worthy, wire-to-wire set.
A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 17, 2015 at 9:45pm PST
-The one and only Bill Burr wore a fat suit to impersonate Pantera’s Vinnie Paul at The Goddamn Comedy Jam and we don’t need to elaborate further than on how the night went for the all out comedy rock show.
-Part installation artist/part comedian/part magical human being Kurt Braunohler dazzled yet again with his Roustabout show that included a sound effect operated wishing well, dog show dogs doing tricks, a lone trombone player, and snow here in LA. We didn’t know this was a dream of ours until Kurt made it a reality.
A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 18, 2015 at 7:00pm PST
-One of the big headliners of Riot LA, Norm MacDonald, sold out the recently renovated and reopened, beautiful Regent Theater. Those in attendance for his high art dad-esque humor and persona were not disappointed.
A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 18, 2015 at 12:27am PST
-The marvelously absurd Sam Simmons did a whole solo show that toured through his inner psyche through a complex set of beats and pre-recorded dialogue with himself while also being completely self-aware. Despite Sam’s protestations here and there, which are also part of the charm of his act, the crowd at The Smell loved it.
-The meta-meta podcast “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus” had the whole of The Downtown Independent Theater on board for podcast host Lauren Lapkus playing the character of a fake podcast “hosted” by guest Thomas Middleditch who is also playing a character. It was akin to the trippy visual sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but done in comedy podcast form with a bit of a Southern affect.
–Margot Leitman and Giulia Rozzi’s Stripped Stories not only featured great, ribald stories, but a round of that classic party game “Never Have I Ever” where an audience member won by having intercourse while at a mental institution with one of the orderlies on his break in a laundry room. Never one to miss the gold coin on a comedy merry-go-round, Matt Braunger came to the stage as the orderly.
A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 18, 2015 at 9:32pm PST
-The house party, drinking game comedy show known as Brew Haha got so out-of-hand, in a fun-spirited, responsible way, that many on the show took their clothes off on stage. It’s a pretty great way to make a house party happen in a downtown parking lot.
A photo posted by RiotLA (@riotla) on Jan 22, 2015 at 10:47am PST
-American comedy treasure Maria Bamford fully realized her mother, Marilyn Bamford, as a comedic character for an entire show, The Marilyn Bamford Collective. She was armed with a handheld vacuum, throw pillows, and the perfect imitation, which was made even more beautiful when the real Marilyn took the stage at the end of the show. At one point, Maria as Marilyn had noted comedian and impressionist Melissa Villaseñor do an impression of Maria right in front of her.
It may be redundant in saying this, but we’re looking forward to a Riot LA in 2016.