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Friday night was the kick off to the annual Oddball Fest, one of the only festivals of its kind in North America. In only its second year of inception, Oddball Fest boasts some of the biggest names in comedy, including headliners Louis CK and Aziz Ansari, and acts as a one-night travelling comedy festival. Think Warped Tour, but with comedians and less piercings.
We learned many things at the first stop on this year’s Oddball Fest tour, which set off on its 21 date run in Tampa, Florida on Friday. One, Reggie Watts is even better in person than we thought he could be.
Two, Hannibal Buress, who was on last year’s line-up and killed this past July at Just For Laughs in Montreal, has about two more years until he’s the biggest comedian in the world.
Three, watching Chris Hardwick every night on At Midnight and most Sunday’s on The Talking Dead leads to some serious fangirling when he took the stage. We were surprised and embarrassed by our reaction, but we have since accepted it and moved on.
The annual Just For Laughs festival is one of the greatest weeks in comedy every year. We love it. We even lol-it. And we want more things like it. Enter Oddball Fest. A line up of comedians travelling around performing for one night in different cities. Why aren’t these festivals more common?
We actually can’t think of any other comedy festival doing the same thing as Oddball, but there’s a good chance we still have heat stroke. Tampa in August is nothing to be trifled with.
There seems to be a music festival every weekend in the summer, but why aren’t there more comedy fests? We think there should be and here’s why.
1. The most obvious of course, but a travelling comedy festival means you get to see a ton of amazing comedians at once in your own city. That’s just smart dollar-stretching.
2. Like music fests, comedy fests are a great way to learn about new comedians.
3. It’s also a great way to ruin your opinion of comedians you thought you liked, but that’s okay. Seeing the greats bomb is part of the comedy experience and sometimes you have to get a little bit uncomfortable to get to the good parts.
4. Unlike music fests, at comedy festivals it’s cool to sit down all day. Sitting FTW, amirite?
5. No earplugs necessary, which is great. I don’t need to hear myself swallowing in surround-sound all day, thank you very much.
6. It’s way easier to eat a giant soft pretzel while sitting comfortably in your seat at a comedy show than dancing in a mosh pit. Nom nom-on.
7. There’s a good chance you could catch the eye of your favourite comedian during their set. This point can actually be a positive or a negative, depending on how strongly you feel about your outfit.
8. Speaking of outfits, the fashion police of Coachella are nowhere to be found at comedy festivals. Whip out your most ironic t-shirt, throw on some Tevas and cargo shorts and do you.
9. Unlike seeing comedians at comedy clubs, there’s no super-expensive two drink minimum at a comedy festival. This leaves more money for giant soft pretzels. Please see point six for more on this topic.
10. Like music festivals, comedy festivals often find the talent, in this case the comedians, walking around with us common folk. Walk up to them and get that new Instagram pic!
11. Lastly, and possibly the most important point, comedy festivals have a strict no-camera policy during the show. People actually watch the show with THEIR EYES. No filter.