Preview: Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival boasts top talent
Festival will feature Reggie Watts, Rob Corddry, Tig Notaro
The third edition of the Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival, presented by the online magazine and event promoters Brightest Young Things, will be serving up laughs from Oct. 1-5 at seven venues throughout D.C.
This year, more than 30 out-of-town comedians and 20 local comedians will perform 11 shows at various venues ranging from the Kennedy Center to the 9:30 Club.
Past Bentzen Ball performers have included “some serious comedy powerhouses,” according to Svetlana Legetic, one of the event’s coordinators. Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman and Ira Glass have all been part of previous festivals.
“[The show will be] faster and looser than your traditional stand-up show,” Legetic said. “Things will be happening in a more dynamic fashion.”
Tig Notaro, an established comedian and the Bentzen Ball’s curator, will kick off the festival on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre. Legetic described Notaro as a “comedian’s comedian” who has a great deal of respect in the comedy community. Expect more of Notaro’s deeply personal comedy in the vein of her 2012 Grammy-nominated album, “Tig Notaro LIVE.”
Several top comics will join Notaro at the Bentzen Ball. Rob Corddry, who appears in the film “Hot Tub Time Machine” and plays Dr. Blake Downs on “Children’s Hospital,” is scheduled to host a variety show at the Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The show will also feature John Hodgman, making it a “Daily Show” reunion with fellow alum Corddry.
Smaller shows are also scheduled during the festival, most notably the one on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at the 9:30 Club. The show will feature Wyatt Cenac, a correspondent and writer for the Daily Show, Retta (real name: Marietta Sirleaf), who plays Donna on “Parks and Recreation;” and the Lucas Brothers, identical twins who appear in “22 Jump Street.”
Reggie Watts will headline the closing ceremonies, but Brightest Young Things always gets surprise guests to perform during the last ceremony.
“There’s always more. We like to keep them guessing,” Legetic said.
Watts co-hosted the YouTube Music Awards in 2013 and appears on “Comedy Bang! Bang!” His improvisational sets incorporate original music with stand-up.
“He has that musical component to him,” Legetic said. “But it’s not musical comedy. It’s just him being Reggie.”
Tickets for the festival are available online at the event’s official site. Prices range between $15 and $30. Anyone who has proof of purchase of a ticket can get a free custom “Choc’ Full of Laughs” custard flavor at a nearby Shake Shack. There will also be a free show at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage on Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.
“It’s the five best days of the year,” Legetic said. “There’s a high density of people who are professionally amazing to hang out with who happen to be in the same city together.”