The NC Comedy Arts Festival, which features stand-up, sketch and improv performers from across North America, starts Wednesday in Durham.
The annual event was created in 2011 as a way to showcase Chicago-style improvisation to Carolina audiences and Southern improv performers.
It has really grown into a festival with a little something for anyone who wants to laugh.
Everything starts Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Motorco with a slate of stand-up comics, including Raleigh's Adam Cohen, who co-founded The Dangling Loafer comedy showcase in Raleigh.
Check out these shows:
- "Chelsea Lately" regular April Richardson on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1-2) at DSI
- Comic Steven Wright on Sunday, Feb. 10 at Carolina Theatre Durham
On Feb. 7-10, sketch comedy takes over the festival with performances from groups including The Second City Touring Company. Shows will be at DSI, ArtsCenter Main Stage and the Carolina Theatre Durham
Other sketch shows to watch for:
- I'm Different, Not Dumb, Friday, Feb. 8 at 10:30 p.m. at DSI: A one-woman show written and performed by Chicago-based comic Ali Clayton. She charts her story growing up and attending a learning disability school in Durham. She uses stand-up, sketch and video interviews to recount the difficulties growing up with dyslexia and ADHD.
- RISK! with Kevin Allison on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at ArtsCenter: A live show and podcast where people tell true stories they never thought they'd share in public. It is hosted by Kevin Allison, who was on the legendary sketch comedy show "The State." Anyone who has attended The Monti storytelling series should love this show. Tickets are $18.
On Feb. 12-17, improv takes over. I love this form of comedy. These performers really think on their feet. These shows are also a lot of fun because of the audience interaction.
Shows to watch out for:
Messing with a Friend on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at ArtsCenter Main Stage: Northwestern University grad Susan Messing presents this collection of self-edited improvised scenes based on a single suggestion. For this show, she is joined by Rachel Mason of Second City.
North Coast on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9:30 p.m. at ArtsCenter Main Stage: New York's only freestyle rapping, beatboxing, long-form improv team performs completely improvised "hip hopera." Just bring your favorite rap lyric and let them do the rest.
Tickets for many of these shows are on sale now. Just go to the NC Comedy Arts Festival website to purchase.