The Riot LA Comedy Festival hits downtown this weekend and with more than 130 comics and 39 shows over the course of three days, it’s going to be a wild ride. Held in a handful of intimate performance spaces located on the Main Street strip, the festival is essentially an alternative comedy block party showcasing some of the country’s best and brightest up-and-coming talents, as well as a smattering of more established names.
If you’re planning on partaking in the reverie, here’s a list of highlights to help you navigate the jam-packed schedule:
I Love New York,
Hosted by emphatic curmudgeon and native New Yorker Eddie Pepitone, this standup showcase features—you guessed it—comics hailing from the Big Apple. The excellent line-up includes Hari Kondabolu, Dan Soder, Dave Hill, Michelle Wolf, Nick Turner, and Sheng Wang.
Where & When: Downtown Independent, 9-10:30 p.m.
Weird Stories: A Short Film Showcase
If you enjoy film, stick around the Downtown Independent with host Elisha Yaffe for a screening of 12 comedic shorts. Some highlights are “Movie Mind Machine,” “Chocolate Heart,” and “Sigourney Weaver”—though all are sure to rake in the laughs.
Where & When: Downtown Independent, 11-12:30 a.m.
Super Serious Show
One of L.A.’s premiere destinations for alternative and experimental stand-up comedy, the monthly Super Serious Show relocates to The Smell for Riot L.A. Fever dream team Kate Berlant and John Early host a stellar lineup including Jerrod Carmichael, Nate Craig, T.J. Miller, John Roberts, and Nick Thune.
Where & When: The Smell, 7-8:30 p.m.
Mosey on over to The Jalisco to watch the hilariously demented singer-songwriter Rachel Bloom (“Fuck Me Ray Bradbury,” “I Steal Pets”) host a lineup of equally demented comics and their crazy characters. Performers include Nate Clark, Gilli Nissim, Alana Johnston, Ron Lynch, Mary Holland, and Jess Eason.
Where & When: The Jalisco, 8:30-10 p.m.
Yes, we know Norm MacDonald is performing at the Regent Theater down the street, but this show features a bunch of comics literally getting judged for being mean to each other, and that’s something we just can’t pass up. Watch performers throw down in pairs for presiding roaster-extraordinaire Jeff Ross and several guest judges. This one is sure to be a lot of nasty fun.
Where & When: Five Star Bar, 11-12:30 a.m.
Created by comics Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman, Stripped Stories has been revealing the awkward (and extremely funny) sexual encounters of comedians (and audience members) since 2007. The New York-based show joins Riot L.A. with guest comics Matt Braunger, Karen Kilgariff, and Ken Reid.
Where & When: The Lexington, 5:30-7 p.m.
Marilyn Bamford Collective, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, Downtown Independent
Maria Bamford headlines this excellent standup line-up, embodying her mother, Marilyn, on her 70th birthday. Other comics include Tom Papa, Melissa Villasenor, Cameron Esposito, and Bil Dwyer. Individual tickets are sold out, but those with Superfan Passes and VIP Tickets should arrive early to get a seat.
Where & When: Donwtown Independent, 7-8:30 p.m.
Didn’t get into the Marilyn Bamford Collective? Don’t despair! Brew Haha is just down the street to lift your spirits and wet your whistle. Join Brad Silnutzer in this questionable interactive drinking game. Rules are agreed upon prior to the show. Whenever the performer breaks one of them, the audience has to drink. This one is going to get rowdy.
Where & When: The Lot, 7-8:30 p.m.
Riot LA Runs from Friday, January 16th through Sunday, January 18th on Main Street. Individual ticket prices vary per show. Superfan Passes are $90, and VIP Passes are $500. Find out more at www.riotla.com