Around the Industry This Week in Comedy, Stories From Riotfest, the Denver Scene, Laff Mobb, Chicago and more…

The stories people talk about around the industry when the club closes and they’re sitting at the bar….

…Big news from Riotfest LA which is happening next weekend from January 16th, 17th and 18th. Festival director Abbey Londer and Maura Brown let us know they’ve just announced that the Goddamn Comedy Jam show, (which we already picked as one of the shows you can’t miss) is going to be featuring Josh Adam Meyers, Matteo Lane, Joe DeRosa, the LA band Elemenopy, and headliner Bill Burr on Saturday January 17th. If you haven’t heard of it, the Jam is pretty spectacular. It’s one of the hottest new shows in LA, created by Josh Adam Meyers, where comic do a set and then performs a song with house band, often in character. In a recent interview with Bill Burr, he talked about having a blast performing as Tommy Lee, in character. They also just added Classic Showbiz with Kliph Nesteroff who will be talking with Fred Willard at the festival, and An Evening of Musical Comedy with DJ Douggpound, Drennon Davis, Pat Regan & the Baby Boys, Karen Kilgariff, Liquid Feet all hosted by Ron Lynch.

…What’s happening in Denver in comedy right now is incredible.  The scene is exploding and part of the reason  is Sexpot Comedy. Creators Andy Juett and Kayvan Khalatbari are doing giant things.  They recently launched, which is all about hosting podcasts, videos, short stories, and is becoming a portal to what shows are happening each night out of Andy and Kayvon 25 plus shows a month.  Juett is calling it an “organic collective” where the comics and people making the content own the shows.”   Andy and Kayvan have big plans, including a new webseries that is about to launch, Glenn Has Ideas which features great comedians in every episode like Emily Heller, Dan Soder, Rory Scovel and Sean Patton, and a first-of-its-kind web based comedy radio station that will stream original content 24/7 including podcasts and live stand up sets from the shows they run. Coming soon…

David Cross and Honora Productions are breaking new ground.  Cross’s feature film directorial debut, Hits will be the first pay-what-you-want-movie-release.  Not only will audiences be able to pay what they choose for digital downloads of the film via direct-to-audience BitTorrent distribution;  they will also be able to choose how much they will pay to see the film in theaters when its released.  Honora founder Giles Andrew says they are looking to reach the widest possible audience with the film and has faith that this is the best way to accomplish that.  Cross also is using a kickstarter campaign to help supplement funding.  Over $27,000 has been pledged on the first day of the campaign.

…Just announced, British comedian Simon Amstell is kicking off a US tour of his show “To Be Free” starting in April with a week of New York shows.  For anyone who doesn’t know Simon, he’s an award winning British comedian, writer, and actor, and his show opened to rave reviews in the UK.  Simon appeared on The Tonight Show last night and is going to be on Conan next week.

…Comedian Rick Shapiro  has been diagnosed with Parkinsons and he’s bringing a great night of comedy to New York in the form of a three- stop comedy club crawl with some incredible acts, all to help raise money for Parkinsons research with an incredible organization called the Light of Day Foundation. The details are posted here, and we had a conversation with Light of Day founder Tony Pallagrosi all about their upcoming festival which will be running on the site very soon. It’s a great cause, and just a tremendous line up. Rick’s wife Tracy DeMarzo is organizing the entire event which will include Artie Lange and Rick Shapiro performing, along with Todd Barry, Jim Gaffigan, Greer Barnes, Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane, Godfrey, Robert Kelly, Kurt Metzger, Mike Vecchione, Big Jay Oakerson, Mike Bocchetti, Joey Gay, and Shang Forbes.

…Tuesday night Drake dropped in during the notorious Laff Mobb Presents at The Comedy Store in LA, and roasted the show’s host, comedian Red Grant while Grant was doing a Drake impression.  This is nothing new for the Laff Mobb shows have always had great drop ins from giant names like Katt Williams, Kevin Hart, Dave ChappelleCarlos Koustas from Laff Mobb shared a few other things going on with the company, like a recent collaboration with World Star Hip Hop where Laff Mobb creates mtv-style music videos to back stand-up routines. One of the first releases, “My Dad Won’t Let Me Eat Fruit Loops” has over eight million hits.

…This month the people behind Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago are breaking ground on a brand new comedy school.  Founder Burt Haas told us that the new school is going to be completely different from other comedy schools, with curriculums for people pursuing comedy as a full time career, as well as some for business professionals or hobbyists who want to learn more about comedy.  The school is going to have its own facility which should be completed later this month complete with a lounge, a library full of albums, dvds, and other archival material, classrooms and other lab facilities.

…UCB comedian Stephanie Streisand is writing for CBS’s Diversity Show which is happening later this month. The Diversity Show helps bring the network together with talented people who are something other than straight white males, to help showcase minority talent who otherwise have been underrepresented in television. Writers rooms have traditionally been very white straight male heavyand the showcase basically is an opportunity for some other talents to get their foot in the door. Stephanie had written dozens of sketches to submit for the event

Samantha Varela, who runs Los Angeles’ Naked Comedy Productions has just moved to New York City.  Sam has been running shows like Baked, Picture This, Kinda Open Mic, and Entitlement out of LA, and now that she’s in New York, she is planning to continue to produce comedy shows in both cities.

More next week…

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