The 10th annual Boston Comedy Festival "officially" begins tonight with "Jim McCue's Festival Pre-Show" at Nick's Comedy Stop. McCue co-founded the fest with Boston City Councilman John Tobin, who recently opened Tommy's Comedy Lounge in the original home of the Connection. McCue's sister, Helen, is the fest's vice president, while his sister-in-law Midge helps as a major organizer. And Lewis Black, a longtime friend of McCue's, once again has timed his Boston appearance to coincide with the fest. He'll be at the Wang (or is it Citi Center?) on Saturday.

There are a variety of shows around Boston from tonight through next Saturday, Sept. 5, but the meat of the Boston fest continues to be its annual weeklong stand-up comedy contest. As it did last year, most of the comedy contest rounds will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe, starting on Sunday with the first of eight preliminary rounds. Ninety-six comics from around the country are participating and competing for $10,000 in prize money, although there's a heavy dose of locals and stand-ups who have recently left Boston for New York City or elsewhere.

I cannot say that I'll be roped into judging much of the contest this year (you may sigh or applaud, according to whether you were hoping I would/wouldn't be a factor). But I will be doing everything I can to try to make it up north in time for the Boston Comedy Festival Roast of Tony V. I'll have much more to say about this once I'm back in Boston, but there should be lots of great stories from some big-names and multiple generations of comedians about Tony V, and I'll be glad to share mine here then, too. Among the people on the dais: Tony's longtime friend Bobcat Goldthwait, who directed Tony in his new movie, World's Greatest Dad; Lenny Clarke, Kenny Rogerson, and more.