Fall 2012 Guide to Comedy Festivals

With the fifth annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival underway in Brooklyn this weekend, and more festivals such as the first-ever RIOT Los Angeles coming in the next few days, weeks and months, perhaps it’s best to look forward to Fall 2012 and all of the comedy festivals, confabs and celebrations we can muster.

Mark your calendars, comedy fans! Or simply bookmark this site and come back and visit whenever the time feels right.


Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, Sept. 13-16, 2012 (story and overview): The Brooklyn-based festival that started out mocking show business and comedy industry festivals has become a tradition all of its own. With an annual “Invite Them Up” reunion, fake laminates, funny program bios for the talent, and talent that usually includes the brilliant UK import Daniel Kitson and NYC-based comedians such as Jon Glaser, Todd Barry and John Mulaney.

Boston Comedy Festival, Sept. 13-22, 2012: Annual contest brings in comedians from across America, with a healthy dose of local talent competing, too. Lineup also includes Boston’s Funniest Media Personality, Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream, headlining shows by Andy Kindler, Jim Lauletta, Kevin Meaney, and awards for Judah Friedlander and Lenny Clarke.

San Francisco International Comedy Competition, Sept. 14-Oct. 6, 2012: The biggest and longest-running of America’s stand-up comedy contests. Thirty-two comedians from across North America competing in 2012. Past winners include Dana Carvey, Doug Stanhope, Marsha Warfield, Will Durst, Gerry Dee, Sinbad, Jake Johannsen, Carlos Alazraqui, and last year, Sean Kent.

The World Series of Comedy, Sept. 17-22, 2012 — Las Vegas, Nevada: Contest designed for up-and-comers to get solid looks from club bookers. This year’s 101 participating comics.

RIOT, Sept. 21-23, 2012: Billed as the first-ever alternative comedy festival for Los Angeles. Produced by Abbey Londer. More than 30 shows, including panels and podcasts. (Story)

JFL 42, Sept. 21-28, 2012 — Toronto, Canada: Just For Laughs presents 42 great comedic acts over eight nights in Toronto. Including Louis CK’s only Canadian dates of his fall 2012 stand-up tour. The full JFL 42 list is here.

Ventura Comedy Festival, Sept. 24-30, 2012 — Ventura, Calif: Events up the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles include Adam Carolla, “The Tobolowsky Files” live,  and many many more comedians.

Barcelona Comedy Festival, Sept. 27-Oct. 21, 2012 — Spain: Multi-lingual offerings. English-speaking shows include Sean Hughes, a gala with Rich Hall, and a live recording of the Risk! podcast.

Reading Comedy Festival, Sept. 30 through Nov. 9, 2012 — England: Headliners include Joan Rivers, Alan Davies, Tim Key, Danny Bhoy, and Harry Hill.


Big Sky International Comedy Competition, Oct. 4-6, 2012 — Billings, Mont.: 26 stand-up comedians (including six from Billings) from across America compete over three nights for cash prizes, judged by industry flown in from Los Angeles and New York City. Produced by Lukas Seely. Contest hosted by Auggie Smith (winner of both San Francisco and Seattle contests in 2010).

Winchester Comedy Festival, Oct. 4-7 ,2012 — England: Includes Edinburgh and Melbourne winner Doc Brown.

Brighton Comedy Festival, Oct. 5-20, 2012 — England: Includes 2012 Edinburgh Fringe award nominees such as Josie LongPappy’sJames Acaster, and Tony Law plus Newcomer Nominee Joe Lycett and Best Newcomer Daniel Simonsen.

Black Box Comedy Festival, Oct. 10-14, 2012 — Georgia Tech, Atlanta: Improv!

San Francisco Comedy and Burrito Festival, Oct. 11-13, 2012: New for 2012! Not the comedy nor the burritos, but the combination thereof for your mutual enjoyment and celebration. You get it. Performers include Matt Braunger, Sean Patton and several dozen more.

Los Angeles Podcast Festival, Oct. 12-14, 2012: All of the L.A.-based comedy podcasts you know and probably already listen to, but live and in your face (if you grab a seat close enough). Presented by Dave Anthony (Walking the Room), Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini (Comedy Film Nerds), and Andy Wood (co-founder, Bridgetown Comedy Festival). Also see: LA Comedy Festival.

Edmonton Comedy Festival, Oct. 17-21, 2012: Performers include Jay Mohr and Nikki Payne (2012 Canadian Comedy Award winner for comedian of the year).

New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, Oct. 18-20, 2012: Bringing the world together and destroying nothing but stereotypes.

Friars Club Film Festival, Oct. 23-27, 2012 — New York City: Shorts, feature films and panels presented by the legendary Friars Club. No roasting!

Galway Comedy Festival, Oct. 24-29, 2012 — Ireland: Featuring Tommy Tiernan, Reginald D. Hunter, Rich Hall, Des Bishop, Phill Jupitus, Andrew Maxwell, Neil Hamburger, Set List and more!


Toronto Sketchfest, Nov. 1-11, 2012: Annual celebration of sketch comedy with and by troupes from across North America.

Fun Fun Fun Fest, Nov. 2-4, 2012 — Austin, Texas: All sorts of fun stuff, including music and yes, comedy. Comedians for 2012 include David Cross, Hannibal Buress, Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, Doug Benson, W. Kamau Bell and more.

New York Comedy Festival, Nov. 7-11, 2012: Carolines on Broadway and Comedy Central team up for another year of all-star headlining shows over five nights across Manhattan (and even into Brooklyn). This year’s headliners include Kevin Hart at Madison Square Garden, plus Ricky Gervais, Artie Lange, Aziz Ansari, Key & Peele, Marlon and Shawn Wayans, Patton Oswalt, Brian Regan, Bill Maher, Jim Gaffigan, Adam Carolla, and Robin Williams in conversation with David Steinberg.

Seattle International Comedy Competition, Nov. 2-25, 2012: Four weeks of nightly stand-up competition across Washington State, ending its annual run over the Thanksgiving weekend. Now in its 33rd year! Past winners include Mitch Hedberg, Tom Cotter and Sean Kent.

Cleveland Comedy Festival, Nov. 14-21, 2012: Fifth annual. Lineup TBA.

If your comedy festival isn’t listed here but should be, please let us know in the comments! Thanks.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

2 thoughts on “Fall 2012 Guide to Comedy Festivals

  1. Wow this is great. As a comedian I’m always finding out about festivals after they’re already over. Any chance of a 2013 guide, at least for the ones open to general submission, so we can find them in advance all in one place?

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