PHOTO: San Francisco Comedy Festival 2016 panel. (photo by Jakub Mosur)
For a lot of people, this is a tough time of year. The election, Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving dinner with the fam — it can all be pretty overwhelming. So, if you're like me and you're in need of a good laugh too, there are a few comedy festivals coming up that will give you something to look forward to.
Riot L.A. Comedy Festival Jan. 19-22, 2017
Riot Fest Los Angeles hasn't even announced its full lineup and tickets are already flying out the door. Much of the fuss is over the festival's headlining event, a rare, live conversation with Mel Brooks and a screening "Blazing Saddles" on Friday, Jan. 20. Ali Wong, Felipe Esparza and Dr. Katz Live have also been announced, the rest of the lineup will be released soon. Passes start at $159.50 and can be purchased at riotla.com.
Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival Jan. 5-15, 2017
The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is the largest of its kind with more than 150 groups of performers coming together from around the world to put on 200 shows at Stage 773 over the course of the eight days. Comedy fans will warm up with 2017 headliners The Cool Table, the L.A.-based comedy troupe, Pop Roulette with SNL writer Sudi Green, The Cupid Players and Peter n' Chris, an award-winning comedy group from Vancouver. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1 at stage773.com.
The San Francisco Comedy Festival Jan. 12-29, 2017
SF Sketchfest will bring back the 16th annual San Francisco Comedy Festival in January with more than 200 performances with top comics appearing at 20 venues across the city. The 17-day festival features household names, as well as up-and-coming comedians from around the world to perform sketch, stand-up, alternative comedy, music, improv, tributes, live podcasts and more. The Kids in the Hall, Nancy & Beth with Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt, tributes to Fred Willard, Aisha Tyler, and Tim and Eric, a “King of the Hill” 20th Anniversary Reunion and Live Episode Read, a live Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, and improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Groundlings are all on the roster. Tickets start around $20 and can be purchased individually at sfsketchfest.com.
San Diego Comedy Festival Jan 23 - 29, 2017
For a mere $75, comedy fans headed to San Diego this winter can catch comedy shows by top performers and get advice for their own up and coming comedy careers. Though the lineup has yet to be announced, we do know Kevin Pollak and Ron Jeremy are among the fest's past headliners. Get the latest info or buy tickets at sandiegocomedyfest.com.