Orlando Indie Comedy Fest brings local, national talent
Orlando’s funniest comics will be standing up this weekend to make crowded venues laugh during a gathering known as the Orlando Indie Comedy Fest.
Of the 40 comedians, Sean Patton of Inside Amy Schumer and Conan will perform at Will’s Pub Thursday night, and Eddie Pepitone of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Jimmy Kimmel Live! will be there Saturday.
In a city known for its serious tourism, the second-annual independent festival will provide a glimpse into Orlando’s not-so-serious comedy scene from Oct. 1 to Oct. 4.
“For a city built off tourism and theme parks, a lot of the art was built toward tourists,” said Ryan O’Toole, a former UCF student who will be performing in this year’s festival. “Eventually, especially with UCF, Orlando became its own city with its own arts districts, serving itself instead of all the people coming to the theme parks.”
O’Toole, who performed his first open mic through CAB, hosted last year’s inaugural festival and has since left UCF to pursue comedy in LA.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it grow and seeing all of the returning comedians be one year better,” he said.
The four-day event will be scattered across three Orlando neighborhoods: Winter Park, Mills 50 and the Milk District.
“It’s good to see a bunch of different styles if you’re a comedian, and every city has a different type of style in their comedy,” said UCF student and event organizer Tom Feeney.
On Friday, guests can buy $10 passes to attend any of the day’s 11 shows.
“The quality that you will get for that is not an option you can find anywhere else in Orlando or Florida,” he said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find that kind of variety and depth for $10.”
Festival organizers are keeping costs down while remaining independent of commercially driven business. Unlike most comedy clubs, which have a drink minimum, the shows will be hosted at independently owned venues.
“I’m going to have six comedians staying with me in my two-bedroom apartment, so you just kind of do things to make it happen,” said Feeney, a cinema studies senior. “The two headliners we have flying in are working way below their rate. They did not have to accept what we offered, but they understood what we’re trying to do.”
Last year, nearly every show sold out, so organizers are making efforts alleviate crowded venues.
“This year we’ve added about six or seven more shows on the busiest nights,” Feeney said, “so we can disperse the crowd a little better.”
Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.