Where the Funny Matters: Week of Fun Comedy Festival, Seattle 1/25-1/31

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words by Corbett Cummins
All good photos courtesy Heather Christianson

The art of comedy can be deceptive. At first glance it can seem single minded in the sense that comedians, by definition have only one task: to make people laugh. However upon the second glance it becomes obvious that comedy is just as complicated as religion, philosophy, love or anything else that makes people do stupid things. It has numerous schools of thought, gurus, prophets and disciples.

Furthermore, there is always somebody trying to unify these people. These “unifiers” usually fail end up creating some living nightmare like the war in Iraq or the sixth season of Saturday Night Live.

When they succeed they create something like the Week of Fun. The Week of Fun is a delightful marathon of comedy, cheap beer and Narwhals that spanned from Jan 24 to the 30th. It was produced by a rag tag collection of comedy wizards and apprentices lead by the Harry Potteresque Dartanion London.

The Week of Fun began last year when London and his friend Hari Kondabolu won the Stranger’s Strangercrombie auction and gained control of the Strangers “Strangers Suggests” page for a week. In an act of comedic revolution, they subverted the Stranger’s subversive power to promote 6 nights of alternative comedy that they called the Week of Fun.

Unfortunately for us, Kondabolu moved to England last year and London wasn’t sure if he could produce another week of fun. However, according to London the comedy community (specifically Paul Merrill, Derek Sheen,
Ross Parsons, Kevin Richards, and the lovely people of the People’s Republik of Komedy) “seduced” him into it and together they managed to pull together a magical week of comedy.

All totaled up, the Week of Fun consisted of more superlative comedy than any lone Internet connection could hope to convey. However, if you happened to missed it, we can offer you this synopsis.

The kickoff performance at Central Cinema where W.O.F. took advantage of the multi-media capacity. Comedians Peter Greyy, Kevin Richards, Derek Sheen, Matt Schmidt, Dan Carroll, Kevin Hyder were bookended by fake news broadcasters Seattle Untimely and the comedy video variety troupe Black Daisy. It looked kinda like this:

Seattle Untimely’s Star Reporter: Space Bear


The Central Cinema comedians


Black Daisy’s mock rap/rockers Voltage Periscope do weddings too

Click the is link to…

The second Week of Fun event was located in Ballard at Mr. Spot’s Chai House. Mr. Spots featured the youngest, rowdiest, giggliest crowd of the entire week. Host Toby Muresianu guided comedians Rosalee Gale, Jim Allen, Doug Gail, Ryan Cuddihy, Blaine Reeder, Bryley Hull, Ross Parson and Lizzy Pilcher through the ocean of laughing youngsters with grace and ease.


The Brave Souls of Lo-Ball

The third evening of the Week of Fun featured Dartanion’s own production: Dart-Mondo, which he produces in the Historic University Theatre. The Dart-Mondo show is sort of the Honda Insigt of the comedy scene in that runs on stand-up and improvisational comedy. And unlike a Honda you are allowed to drink and use the bathroom after you get in. Truly a win-win.

Here is how it works:


video courtesy Dartanion London

They applied this same technique to Emmit Montgomery, Billy Wayne Davis and Andy Peters upping the ante for each one. By the time they were done the stage had seen a number of fascinating sex acts, a bad tattoo and an extremely avant guard band.

The fourth night was the Celebrity Open Mic held at the historic Comedy Underground at Swannies. Definitely one of the highlights of the Week of Fun, it featured over 17 comics including local celebrities Peter Bagge of Fantagraphics fame, John Keister of Almost Live fame who had a freaky make out with the transexual comedian Barbara Sehr. Also present were John Moe of NPR and David Schmader of The Stranger.

The fifth night in the week of fun was the Comedy Hellraisers night was held at the Mainstage Comedy Club and hosted by the delightfully toasted Derek Sheen.

Each of the comedians, Jen Seaman, Ron Placcone, James Parkinson, Brian Boshes, Soloman Georgio, Randy Leidke, Jake Merriman, Jaqi Furback Andy Haines and David Cope put out meat and potato jokes with all the fat and protein a crowd could want to get ready of the rest of the week.

The entire show is available right here (video courtesy of Mainstage Comedy and Music Club)

The sixth event was probably the most surreal. Billed as Drunk-Ass DRAMEDY, it took place at the infamous Sunset Tavern and was hosted by Travis Vogt and Kevin Clarke who are the brains behind the melo-draviolent-comedies known as The Entertainment Show. Here is a bit of their work (courtesy The Entertainment Show):

The faux violence, the tons of people, the red lights, the band; Nathan Wade and the Dark Pioneers, the films, the topless Emmit Montgomery and Kevin Clarke giving birth to a bottle of Rolling Rock made for a pretty disorienting night.

By the time Scott Moran, Randy Leidke, Soloman Georgio and Paul Merrill were done with the audience, nobody was sure what happened. We do know that it was funny though!

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The last event, which took place at Laff Hole was the loud raucous mess of fun that it always is. Comedians Daniel Carrol, Emmit Montgomery, Aziza Diaz, Brett Hamill and Dartanion London himself capped the event with spot-on-hilarity. Headliner Randy Lietke went forward with almost no regard for the well being of the audience. His routine, augmented with beautiful images, was unstoppable and caused many a PBR to be filled with tears of laughter. Here are some examples (courtesy of Andy Liedke):

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Cat Bread

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George Foreman Grillz

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Technical Difficulties

Back in the Laff Hole Green Room almost every comedian from the Week of Fun filtered through to say hi to the People Republik of Komedy folks, share a free PBR and talk about projects in the future. As ideas and jokes flew from couch to couch in the cramped little room, London sat out front, satiated and relieved. After spending a week behind the scenes and on the stage he enjoyed the majority of the evening munching on noodles with the rest of the audience and trying not to think of next year.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted February 7, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    That damn festival gave me pneumonia. “Week of Fun” my ass!

  2. Posted February 7, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for covering all the shows!

    Say, if you’re gonna be at all of ‘em… maybe you wanna be the guy lugging that giant sign around instead of me…

  3. Posted February 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Uhm, I truly “appreciate” your description of a totally unscheduled, unplanned moment between John Keister and myself as “freaky.” So what did you think of “Nacho Daddy?” His performance was, excuse the word, planned.

  4. Corbett Cummins
    Posted February 9, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Well, we meant “Freaky” in the..uh…lightest, most loving way possible. Is the divine love shared between a musician and his muse, not “freaky.” Is the love of that Da Vinci had with his painting the Mona Lisa not “freaky.” YES! Yes they are. And so, our bestowing of the phrase “freaky” onto the magical moment shared between you and Mr. Keister is an expression of that very same love… or something like that.

    WTFM

    PS – The same is love is also what drove us to not mention Nacho’s name in the same electronic breath as yours.

  5. Nacho Daddy
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Dearest 2nd Annual Week of Fun Comedy Festival,

    Do you mean planned, like having my weenie cut off?

    I only wish you all knew how much I cared for you.

    I may have had one of the roughest days of my life, THAT DAY.
    And decided that I might stretch my balls over a hot flame.

    So to Succubus, John Keister, 2nd annual week of fun and whomever else I insulted, Thank you.

  6. Nacho Daddy
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I only want to say sorry, thank you, and your welcome.
    I will see you soon, and you wont even recognize me.
    Im having my weenie chopped off and having it installed in
    my neck.
    Have a nice day:)

  7. Posted March 3, 2008 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    It was a pleasure hosting Hellraisers night. Thanks for the coverage!

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