Once upon a time, I was part of a college improv comedy group called The Crazy Monkeys. We performed at Purdue University for the most part, but we would also travel to do improv wherever and with whomever we could. One of my favorite things to do was to perform as part of a larger festival – seeing other groups perform, and showing everyone else who were were and what we were about. Those moments; those nights – they would make up some of the fondest memories of my college comedy experience.
Succinctly summed up.
So naturally, after Ad Liberation was founded – and after steam had been picked up – my inclination was to have that festival experience again. Largely through my own pestering and self-invitation, we landed a set at Big Dog Eat Child’s 8th Super Party – unfortunately, not everyone could make it, but we combined forces with some friends and put on an awesome show.
But my hunger wasn’t sated. I did some more pestering, and Ad Liberation found ourselves in the lineup of the 2012 IU Campus Comedy Show – along with the IU groups and the Upright Citizens Brigade. UCB in particular were incredible – it’s amazing how much you can learn by just watching talented people perform. We had two sets, and I think they both went pretty well.
But I was still not satisfied!
And I was being joined in my dissatisfaction by others. Matt managed to schmooze and email-contact our way into Malignant Humor, a comedy festival at Illinois State University in Champagne-Urbana, IL. Compared to the other two nights, I don’t think we had as strong a showing, but our set was decent, and there was good comedy-watching to be had. Also, I had some really good tea (Ginger Dragon) in the ISU union building.
All this was great. Is still, I guess. But I really wanted to host my own festival. I wanted us to host our own festival. I wanted a festival to happen here. It never happened when I was in college – the closest we ever came were joint shows with local groups. I wanted improv, I wanted sketch, I wanted standup. I wanted a night of comedy –a celebration of our craft.
Planning for the “Funstival” had been bandied about since Ad Liberation was founded. We looked into different venues, at different dates, and cast out some initial invitations to gauge interest. But nothing really gained traction. A couple of years went by.
Finally, on September 15 – after two years of existence – Ad Liberation hosted our festival. The First Annual Laughayette Funstival went from 6-10:45 pm and featured eight different comedy groups and seven standup/variety acts. There was a cheesy joke competition and a free raffle. At its biggest, the audience was around 80 people (maybe a little more). At its smallest, around 30. It went 45 minutes over time. It started 15 minutes late. Last minute changes to the lineup had to be made because of travelling difficulties or miscommunications. It was awesome.
I do give myself some credit for putting this festival on. I feel I was a major driving force behind it, and I handled much of the communication and booking for the event. However, the other members of Ad Liberation came together for it in a big way. Between inviting out of town groups, designing advertisements, running the merch table, managing check-ins, running the A/V equipment, handling music, telling butt jokes, introducing acts, pulling raffle winners, and picking up a wayward troupe in a last-minute van ride, there is no way this would have been as successful a night had it not been for my friends in Ad Lib. Plus, our set was awesome. Good job, everyone. Can’t wait for next year.
The extremely profitable Festival Sticker. Photo courtesy of mah mom.
Here’s a list of participating acts in the festival:
- The Expertcast (Live Podcast – The Internet)
- Condiments Upon Request (Improv troupe – Indiana State University)
- Jake Kryshak (Standup Comedian – Ball State University)
- One Size Fits All (Improv troupe – Lafayette, IN)
- Evan Ashby (Standup Comedian – Purdue University)
- Abso (Improv troupe – Ball State University)
- Zachary Baiel (Candidate for Mayor of Chauncey Village – [West] Lafayette, IN)
- The Crazy Monkeys (Improv troupe – Purdue University)
- The Ship of Fools (Improv troupe – Purdue University)
- Abby Chew (Standup Comedian – Lafayette, IN)
- Humor Artists (Improv troupe – Notre Dame)
- Shauvon McGill (Internetman – Louisville, KY)
- Ad Liberation (Improv troupe – Lafayette, IN)