ANN ARBOR – Organizers of the new Tree Town Comedy Festival aim to put Ann Arbor on the comedy map.
The inaugural event will showcase nationally known and Michigan-based comedic talent through four nights of laughs from March 1-4 in the downtown area.
“New York and L.A. are the big comedy scenes but to put Ann Arbor on the map would be super cool and a festival is a good way to start,” said organizer Andrew Yang.
Yang has been a standup comic in Ann Arbor for six years and has organized regular comedy shows at Bløm Meadworks and the Blind Pig.
“It came to me one day to just combine everything for a festival. Ann Arbor is such a cool town, and it’s such a great place for comedy because it’s a progressive college town with a very educated group,” he said.
Almost 30 comedians, most with ties to the Mitten State, will perform at four venues.
The festival kicks off March 1 with a Comedy Rumble at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, with shows at the Blind Pig and Bløm Meadworks
Organizers have put together a hidden Don’t Tell show with a secret lineup and location that won’t be known until the day of the show.
The independently-organized event will be the first of its kind in Ann Arbor, which has a long-standing tradition of hosting arts festivals, cultural events and exhibitions.
While it’s normal for comedy festivals to have a submission-and-selection process, Yang added that organizers wanted to highlight comedians already in Michigan.
“We purposefully wanted to book Michigan comics to highlight how strong and how funny the Michigan scene is because not many people know about it,” he said.
“We did try to make this festival with diverse headliners,” Yang said, noting that organizers wanted to ensure different points of view were represented in the lineup.
Headliners include nationally-praised comedians Beth Stelling, Sam Tallent, Marie Faustin, Ryan Goodcase and Robby Hoffman.
Yang said organizing the inaugural Tree Town Comedy Festival has been a community effort with help from other comedians and folks at the Blind Pig, Bløm Meadworks and Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase.
Here’s the schedule:
Wednesday, March 1
- Stop by the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase at 7:15 p.m. for a Comedy Rumble. Thirty comedians will have 90 seconds to wow judges in order to move on to the second round.
Thursday, March 2
- This 8 p.m. show at the Blind Pig will be headlined by comics Marie Faustin and Robby Hoffman.
- Comedy lovers can sign up for a super secret Don’t Tell Comedy show starting at 9 p.m. The location and lineup won’t be revealed until the day of the show.
Friday, March 3
- Beth Stelling headlines this 9 p.m. show at the Blind Pig.
Saturday, March 4
- Laugh and enjoy some mead or cider at the 7:30 p.m. Bløm Meadworks Showcase.
- At 8 p.m., Sam Tallent will headline a show at the Blind Pig.
- For $5, comedy fans can laugh at the dirtiest jokes of the festival at an adults-only show kicking off at 10 p.m. at the Blind Pig.