The South Beach Comedy Festival is back. Last night the festival kicked off it’s 10th year with the hilarious meta-play Earthquake by local theater collective Mad Cat & More. Now the stage is set for some serious stand-up comedy. (Also some Sirius stand-up comedy, SiriusXM is this year’s media partner and hosting their own showcase.) It is a rare treat to have so much funny concentrated on our beaches, so be sure to soak it in. The only wrinkles you’ll get are laugh lines. Here are five reason why you should work this festival into your weekend.
1. Huge Names - You don’t need to be a comedy nerd to know this year’s headliners. Patton Oswalt, Bill Burr, Hannibal Burress, and Dave Chappelle are four of the sharpest, most prolific comic minds of our age. Rounding out that lineup are rising stars Michael Yo, Mark Normand, Deon Cole, Esther Ku, and more, plus a ton of local acts. (Also Chappelle just added a third show on Sunday -hurry) Pick any show, you will laugh.
2. Streamlined - This is the 10th year of the festival and they have shed the extra venues to house all shows within The Fillmore Miami Beach and it’s backroom The Gleason Room Backstage. Although the Colony and Lincoln Theaters are pretty, it added confusion with people running back and forth between venues trying to catch shows on time. There was a free outdoor stage in the middle of Lincoln Road outdoor mall, which was hilarious not only because of the talent, but also because that talent had to tell those jokes to an endless stream of tourists, toddlers, and dogs wearing designer clothing. Fond memories, but perhaps it’s for the best.
3. Local Love - This year the festival is showcasing more local talent than ever. Our very own comedians are opening up for some of the biggest names in comedy. Lisa Corrao for Patton Oswalt, Forrest Shaw for Bill Burr, Orlando Leyba for Michael Yo and Dave Williamson for Mark Normand. Every night in the Gleason Room Backstage there are shows focusing on homegrown talent. Mad Cat & More and Comedy Records are recording a live album featuring Miami comedians at the festival. Local Wynwood Radio has put together a showcase. Not only that, every night after the last main show there will be a free local comedian showcase curated by local outlets Casa de Haha and Artistic Vibes, in the Red Star Lounge in The Fillmore lobby at 11:30 Thursday through Saturday.
4. FREE Shows - Yes you might have to pay someone $400 and your cousin’s purple jetski to score sold-out Chappelle tickets. If you can’t afford that don’t worry, almost half of the shows at the festival are free. The SiriusXM Showcase, South Beach Album Recording, and Wynwood Radio Spectacular are all free, as well as the nightly locals showcase after the main shows. You can buy one ticket and stay for three shows. Or just come for the freebies, broke people are welcome in comedy as many in comedy are broke people. Be sure to check door times for free shows as they are first come first serve.
5. Scene Support - The truth is that none of these comedians would be here if not for the festival. Miami is sadly not a “comedy town”, and South Beach is too busy dancing on molly to listen to a joke set-up. It’s not easy competing with the pleasures of tropical paradise when other cities use comedy shows as a way to escape blizzards. But there’s potential. Having great crowds convinces comedians to come back, and they really would love to come back.
In about a month I will relocate to Denver, Colorado. My residency, my stuff, my elbows – everything. Why? Short answer: I’ve seen the comedy renaissance happening there and it’s a special thing. Creative yet professional. Industrious yet welcoming. I need more data. There is a high probability that exposure will enhance my node clusters! (No-robo)
I planned this over a year ago, so long ago that friends now greet me with a hearty “You’re still here?” Yep, until the end of April. Can you at least change the emphasis to “You’re still here?” I also enjoy a warm “You’re back already?!”
I’m tying a bow on my time in Miami. Instead of ending my comedy shows, I passed them on to the next generation. I wish that wasn’t worth noting, but here it’s more likely a room doesn’t survive long enough to be passed on. There are a mere handful of comedy shows in South Florida considered institutions. Comedy towns have dozens these long running shows where a standard of quality is set and maintained, traditions and quirks grow, and it becomes a hub of activity that sparks creativity and partnerships. South Florida’s comedy scene cyclically flourishes then starves, exhibiting the seasons our climate zone does not. Comedy rooms swarm like tadpoles where only a few get enough support from the scene and city to achieve froghood. (Froghood the animated series coming next fall to FOX – you’ll never guess what stereotype they represent!)
Come say seeya to me at one of these worthy events!
No comedian has done it like Tom Rhodes. After proving himself as a top tier American club comic, life and love took him elsewhere. Tom talks travel, winning @midnight, 30 days at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his unique path in comedy.
It was a pleasure to interview Tom Rhodes. He is a comedic icon and was generous with his time. He talks travel, winning @midnight, doing 30 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, his unique path in comedy, and far more. I look forward to releasing the full version of this interview as a podcast soon.
In preparation of my move to Denver, Colorado in April I am giving away hosting and booking duties of my longtime comedy rooms. After six years tonight is my last time hosting Casa de Haha. I wrangled so many longtime friends of the show… too many talented Florida comedians. It will be strange but change needs free range. The new hosts are excited to experiment with the room. I’ll enjoy performing and not hosting the first four shows in 2015 while we transition. They’ve already expressed desire to the show weird again and to livestream the show, bringing our mythic undocumented status into the digital age. Join us as I pass the roach! – I mean torch. (Naw)
Flyer for Daniel’s last Casa de Haha as host… for the Miami version.