What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, which I hope is a reference to the rare strain of HPV I fully intend on contracting while in Vegas this weekend for the Crapshoot Comedy Festival. The city’s known for its comedy residencies (shout out to Carrot Top’s suitcase), but this first-year festival is focused on bringing in top-tier up-and-coming talent from New York and LA, as well as giving local comedians a larger platform in a scene that’s already so congested with light and noise pollution.
We’ll be on site all weekend bringing you the best of the best, but here’s a peek at what we’re most excited for.
9 PM / 11:59 PM
Fremont Country Club
Crapshoot gets points for a pretty effectively gender balanced lineup in its first year, and the Nasty Women Showcase hosted by Tig Notaro is the coolest planned celebration of this on Saturday night. First amendment rights will be exercised to the fullest extents with a lineup of confirmed killers on two different shows, including Beth Stelling, Sam Jay, Corinne Fisher, Sabrina Jalees and Liza Treyger. Did we mention all proceeds from this show go to the ACLU? Because, yeah.
May 18-May 20
9:30 PM (7:30 PM on May 20)
El Cortez Hotel & Casino
Penn and Teller can sit down—there’s no magic trick more impressive than a comedian doing a completely clean set that has you laughing so hard you don’t even notice. There’s a cleanish show every night of the festival that will either showcase this rare superpower in comics who possess it, or challenge others that tend to skew bluer. We’ll have our scorecards out in case anyone dirties up the place, but sets we’re looking forward to most are from Jenny Zigrino, Joel Kim Booster, Jesus Trejo and Morgan Murphy.
May 18, 2017
El Cortez Hotel & Casino
Ah yes, the conceit of this show feels a little more like home. For every “cleanish” show at Crapshoot there’s an equal and opposite “not safe for work” late-night show where comics will give you the best of their grossest, most explicit and darkest material. Most comics on the show are already known for their talents at going full-on nasty and hilarious, and there’s no way that Byron Bowers and Chris Cubas won’t have sets worth dying for.
The upcoming Showtime production follows the uber-intense LA comedy scene in the 1970s at “Goldie’s” comedy club and the competition to get a spot on Carson. Goldie herself holds the reigns to the scene entirely, and the Jim Carrey-produced joint follows a number of young comedy hopefuls who try to impress the owner, stand up and sabotage each other in the process. There’s a free screening of the show’s pilot on Friday of the festival and I’m interested in how it’s received—the self-serious premise of the show makes me wary that it’s a Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for stand-up, but I’m ready to be proven wrong, Showtime.
Live podcasts have now become a pillar of comedy festival culture, but few do it as well as Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher of “Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast.” It’s been at the top of podcast subscriptions for many years, but their live episodes go far beyond the standard “but this time, it’s live!” crutch that many live podcasts lean on. Hutchinson and Fisher have instead innovated the format, integrating stand-up, storytelling, audience participation and live games into ninety minutes that captures the spirit of their show perfectly without the static nature of recording a podcast. It’s going to be gross and loud and we can’t wait.
Well, I’m off to see if I can find Britney Spears at a Chipotle—talk soon!
The Crapshoot Comedy Festival is being held in Downtown Las Vegas from May 18 through May 20. Find more information here.
Jamie Loftus is a comedian and writer. You can find her some of the time, most days at @hamburgerphone or jamieloftusisinnocent.com.