The Fifth Annual LA Comedy Fest plays from May 12-22 at the ACME Comedy Theatre in Hollywood
I spoke briefly with festival director Lawrin Goulston Salazar. “We had the great honor, in our last festival of having the West Coast premiere screening of this year’s OSCAR winning live action short, “God of Love.” There are many gems in this year’s lineup of 60+ shorts. The features are terrific with several showcasing the Australian sense of fun and laughs. We are thrilled to hold the USA premiere of “The Wedding Party”, the film that opened this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival. The LA Comedy Fest has grown to become the largest combined live comedy and film festival in the US. It’s geared towards “discovering new talent” and showcasing it in front of the LA public and industry. The buzz is great for this fest and it will deliver the laughs and talent.”
The first four days of the festival is a salute to funny filmmaking, featuring over 60 Shorts, Features and TV Pilots. Over 80% per cent of the films are premieres This is the place to see the latest works from known comedy talents like Anthony La Paglia, Gary Cole, Scott Thompson, T.J. Miller, Bob Zany, Carrot Top, Frank Caliendo, Fred Willard, George Wallace, Ralphie May, Billy Braver and catch the future stars.
The Australian Invasion-Half of the features comes from a new generation of Australian Filmmakers; all are USA premieres and most are World Premieres. The humor is fresh and exciting. From the wannabe girls of “Fully Famous” to the love stalking of “Mikey’s Extreme Romance”, the Australian delicious sense of humor is in full display. “The Wedding Party”, which opening the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, will have it’s US premiere at the festival. Also screening- the animated feature “Little Johnny the Movie”, (Australia’s answer to “Family Guy”! Definitely not for kids!) Aussie actor export, Anthony LaPaglia adds to the fun of “In Loco Parentis”. Rounding out the Oz invasion is the loving, hilarious tribute to the blaxploitation films of the 70s, “The Liberators: Rags to Riches”, beware “He’s so bad he makes Shaft look white”! Among the other international films screening at the festival are entries from Spain, Switzerland, The Philippines, UK and Canada.
Well known comedians appear in film documentaries about Bob Zany (“Close But No Cigar”) and Billy Braver (“SAAB Story”): both comedians talents from the 80’s and 70’s respectively, who never had that big break. Bob Zanym, the “Comic’s Comic, has been on the road for 30 years and gets great support from his fellow comics Carrot Top, Frank Caliendo, Ralphie May, Fred Willard, George Wallace and more. Billy Braver, walked away from all of it and became a SAAB salesman, until the tanking economy forced him to take a chance and get back on stage with mic in hand. Comic, T.J. Miller stars in the Sundance hit, “I’m Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents”, alongside his actual parents. Is this a documentary?
Performances with buzz include Gary Cole, as a shrink to a vampire in the World Premiere of “Dr. Limptooth”, Zelda Williams (Robin William’s daughter) in a star turn in “Stupid Questions”, Scott Thompson (“Kids in the Hall”) in both “52” and “4 Pounds” tackling with laughter, the universal concerns of aging and weight gain respectively.
Standout national sketch and (1) improv acts will be converging at the LA Comedy Fest. Chicago’s finest sketch troupe, now celebrating their 10th year, The Comic Thread and Seattle’s funniest two-man group Charles will both be joining in the fun. Along with NYC’s The People’s Sketch Association and Amy Garson’s Five Finger Dis-count. Toronto is represented with the award winning antics of 2 Man-No Show and the seasoned veterans of improv The “Eh” Team, comprised of the best from the Toronto comedy scene, plus local favorites, Professor Pump & Sneaks, Lobster Office, Kyle Erby and Jay Ko. The World Premiere of The Marriage Memoirs will answer through sketch the age-old question, “He put a ring on it, now what?”
Turning Your Movie Idea into a Viable Screenplay is the name of the dynamic screenwriting workshop being offered during the festival. Veteran William Morris Endeavor Story Editor, Christopher Lockhart and screenwriter/ UCSB screenwriting instructor, Cindy McCreery will help give the tools to make your idea come alive. Each participant will get to pitch their idea and get hands on input as to how to structure that idea into a commercial story.
Third Annual Screenplay Competition- the winner of the Feature Screenplay Competition will have a table read of their script, directed and performed by seasoned comedy professionals. This free reading is open to the public. There are five finalists and the winner will be announced on May 16th.
The Award Ceremony and Closing Party will be held at the gorgeous The Mark (www.themarkforevents.com) on Pico Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Filmmakers of both Shorts and Features will be honored for direction, writing, acting and Best of Fest. Live Comedy Acts will be awarded as groups, individual and Best of the Fest.
LOS ANGELES COMEDY FESTIVAL runs May 12-22 at ACME Comedy Theatre at 135 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 in the heart of Hollywood. Tickets: $12 online and $15 at the door. Workshop: Saturday, May 6 from 2:30-5:30pm, $12 limited space is available. Ample street parking, Valet is available. For information, call (323) 463-2942 or RESERVE ONLINE: www.lacomedyfest.com.