The Laugh Button got the chance to speak with Liz Stewart an organizer for the first annual Hollywood Comedy Festival. An event in its first year that is being organized and put on by the LA-based comedy troupe Frog Island. Stewart is a member of Frog Island and the goal of their group is address socially conscious issues while at the same time make people laugh.
The festival will be held at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, and let’s be honest that sounds pretty effin’ cool if you ask us.
The Laugh Button: So tell us about the Hollywood Comedy Festival.
Liz Stewart: It is a three day long stand up comedy festival happening on the last weekend in August, the 26ththrought the 28th, and will be taking place at The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Hollywood. There is also going to be an award ceremony happening the 29th where we are going to be distributing some of the prizes for the fest, which is happening at Skinny’s Lounge, and all of the shows and award celebrations start at eight o’ clock.
TLB: The fest is being held at Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. Tell me about how you got involved with him for this event?
LS: I’ve been wanting to do a comedy festival for a while so I approached him about it and he was very receptive about it. It’s a relatively new club so I am hoping it is mutually beneficial to all of us, and they seemed pretty hot on the idea.
TLB: Tell us about Frog Island? How did they get involved with the HCF?
LS: Frog Island is an eight person comedy troupe that I am involved in and they will be the presenters for the Festival. We have had six million hits on Youtube, and we have gone viral on some of our videos. We really wanted to connect the group with the rest of the comedy community together and it would be great because people get to know who we are, and we get to work with the Lovitz Club, and all of these other fantastic comedians, plus all of the judges. So it’s going to be a huge networking orgy, and we get to host it.
TLB: What inspired you to organize the Hollywood Comedy Festival?
LS: I been to and participated in a lot of festivals, and a lot of times the audience leaves like they just been robbed, the participants feel like they have just been used for all of there friends to come to the event, and the judges are angry because they think it was just rigged. I wanted to do something completely and totally on the level, an event that the audience, the participants, and the judges are going to just love being a part of and can’t wait for it to happen again next year. It’s all about respecting the audience and everyone involved.
We did a festival a couple of years ago and our green room was literally outside in the dark by a dumpster. There were no prizes given out, and the person running it would call you saying “I am not happy with your numbers, you need to get more people to see you or I will yank you from the festival”. I mean Hollywood is a really hard dirty place sometimes, and it doesn’t have to be. These people work really hard and they deserve to be treated with respect which is why we did it. That and it’s going to be a great networking opportunity.
TLB: How did you round up judges for the event?
LS: A lot of them I know from just being a stand up comic. I have been doing stand up for around seven years, so a lot of them I know from just being in the industry for so long. A few of them I have wanted to work with, and when you call them and offer them a judges spot, they have a tendency of calling you back. Which is a great thing and we really look forward to working with some people who we haven’t worked with before.
TLB: Can you give a sneak peek as to some of the prizes that participants can win?
LS: We are giving away 700 dollars in cash prizes. But we are also giving away tickets to see Metalachi which is a metal mariachi band which is awesome. We also have tickets to meltdown comics so that will make all of the nerds happy, as well as the California Pizza Kitchen. I actually just got off the phone earlier with Hustler today, and they are giving up gift bags and gift certificates. So we have the sex and the rock and roll, and we also have another sponsor which is a medical marijuana dispensary who is going to be giving out some paraphernalia. So we have the sex, the drugs, and rock and roll.
TLB: Where would you like to see the Hollywood Comedy Fest get to in the next couple of years?
LS: I don’t want to seem too overly ambitious, but I would love to see it eventually get it to the level of Montreal [Comedy Festival], or Aspen [Comedy Festival]. I would love people to see it as a hub in Los Angeles, because we don’t have a venue for when people are looking for the next big thing. A lot of these comics are so incredibly talented and can do the job, all they need is the right person to take a look at them.
TLB: Where can the audience get tickets for the event?
LS: They can visit the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in person or visit the website.