Inaugural Denton Comedy Fest Brings Laughter to J&J's Basement

100 degrees outside and 200 degrees inside, the Old Dirty Basement at J&J’s Pizza is a treasure to Denton locals, and on Friday night it was the host of a packed comedy show.

Dan Danzy and Clint Werth hosted the inaugural Denton Comedy Festival which showcased underground comedians in all of DFW. It was the festival's first year and it went as smoothly as you can imagine a comedy festival would have inside a sweltering basement - laughter, tears, and people leaving either offended or pleased.

This year's lineup was stacked with some of DFW’s best. In fact, it was so stacked that unless you were a headliner your performance lasted roughly five minutes before Dan Danzy would flash his iPhone light cueing people to wrap it up. Even with short sets, the audience still got a piece of what they needed to understand each comedian’s personal take on what is funny, and they certainly each had different styles.

Photos by Emily Cline

The event within itself had nothing special to it besides how perfectly timed it was. Most of the event was either the audience talking about how excruciatingly hot it was or the comedian having their first joke be about the heat. With limited seating most people were standing in the heat with a semi-good view because of the dangling lights and pillars the venue has. 

Needless to say the comedy made up for the lack of central air conditioning in the basement. Some of the must-see acts included Bob Biggerstaff, Paul Varghese, Shane Mauss, and Carey Denise.  Bob Biggerstaff blew Friday’s 7pm lineup out of the field with his dad-ish jokes and charm. He interacted with the crowed in a satirical way; he accidentally made fun of one girl's tattoo and then turned it into a joke making fun of himself. Most of his jokes did end with, “Well when I told that joke the last time..” and then he transformed the joke to avoid recycling the same punch lines.

It will be interesting to see what the organizers set up for the next comedy festival. Although this one was great for a first festival and no one in the audience seemed necessarily displeased by the event, it would be necessary to host the event in a bigger venue more designed for a crowd where everyone could sit and not feel uncomfortable from standing in the heat in a dark room with a bad view of the stage. It will also be fascinating to see what new talent they can introduce alongside previous comedians that performed this past weekend.

It was a good first year, a good experience, and an enjoyable night of laughter.