North Texas Comedy Fest Was Kickass

Denton hosted its first annual North Texas Comedy Festival, drawing comedians from across the state for three days to different venues for over ten hours of entertainment, starting at Killer's Tacos Thursday, October 5, 2017.

Joe Coffee
Photo by Emily Cline

Host Joe Coffee opened for comics at Killer's Tacos as the comics began to tackle topics from rant-filled yet heartfelt marriage to bitter but lovely divorce.

Opening up the event with a single mic in hand and a bar stool to support any old cheap water bottle, Coffee told the audience about his mother who checked in safe for the hurricanes even though she lives in Flower Mound.

Coffee talked about his favorite places to stay when traveling, such as Motel 6, which is one of the safest places, he told the audience ... because you can never leave. Coffee then went into his love for one of his favorite pastimes, the Facebook fight, which is a roll of a comment section.

“I have been watching comedy since I was little,” Suliman Uddin, University of North Texas media arts sophomore and audience attendee said. “I am trying to be a stand-up comedian myself.”

Uddin said that he thinks it takes the best stage presence to know when people are going to laugh, and he came to watch the North Texas Comedy Fest at Killer's so he could be around the comedic vibe watching how the comics take hold of the mic.  

Comic John Brown said he served in the military and had finished college not knowing what was next, and had wanted to do comedy forever — so one day he just did it. Six months in, he started getting in more laughs and felt assured that this was for him.

“It is weird performing for different crowds and seeing what they laugh at,” Brown said, “I still don’t know what is going to happen.”

Comic Alvin Newsome took the stage talking about life after recently becoming divorced. He talked about the struggle of having to prepare his own meals.

“I came up with the original hunger games,” Newsome said, “Tears and Cap'n Crunch.”

Newsome talked about his kid with his ex and the difficulties of explaining new things to his kid. The fact that nothing is easy when everything is new was part of the comic's point. He talked about when he went out with his ex for Mother’s Day and his frustrations on why the hell they had to get matching outfits.

Newsome closed with the struggles of getting older as host Coffee headed to the stage to introduce comic Mikey B.

Mikey talked about the several things one can do with weed in Colorado nowadays and then made a transition to talking about a statue of Willie Nelson in Austin, Texas. Mikey mentioned that Nelson probably found the statue the same way he did, by getting high and getting lost.

Mikey talked about the importance of air space and the space he needs from bad air space, similar to the poor air quality of bad breath. He also mentioned how all year long, parents tell their kids not to take candy from strangers, then on Halloween parents just change their mind and encourage their kid to take candy from strangers.

Comic Christi Guzman talked about how she can't date nerds anymore, as well as about how she cheated once and how it was similar to cheating on a diet.

Comic John Brown talked about the advantages of being a stepdad.

“When you're a stepdad, you're not obligated to shit,” Brown said, “No one is going to jail over bad stepdad child support.”

Brown talked about the various bad presents he has been given over the years, such as a power cord and instruction manual. He talked about the coverage of the before-and-after images of President Obama and his hair, and he brought up the fact that if you give anyone ten years, they are going to change and their images will look different.

Alex Gaskin did his set talking about the funny way people tend to justify putting old people in homes. He mentioned how old people are like kids, except people keep the kids. Gaskin went into talking about alcohol and how well whiskey is so bad that they keep it far away from all the other drinks at the bar. He explored his stop at a deserted diner, mentioning that this was a real deserted diner and not Denny’s. Gaskin then went into asking if the audience ever goes to church just to yell at God.

Parker Slavens started his set by presenting the cool way he wished people would say his last name, then talked about how he plans to "alumni" his way into heaven since his dad is a preacher. Slavens went into how weddings are very similar to funerals and how the only difference is there is no bouquet toss at funerals. He also explored the possibility of holding a bouquet toss at funerals to see who would die next.  

Headlining act Lawrence Rosales finished the night at Killer's Tacos with subjects like addiction to fast food, getting older, and marriage. Rosales talked about the times where he grew up so poor that a Happy Meal actually made him happy.

Beers were imbibed, tacos were consumed, laughter was expelled, and the North Texas Comedy Festival sold T-shirts all the while.

The revelry continued at Backyard On Bell, where romphim-clad host Nick Fields led patrons through the next round of the festival. Hot topics included Tinder, The Bachelor, and virtual reality. Comics’ delivery styles were very diverse, ranging from stories to rap parodies to Hedburg-style one-liners. Performers’ tones were equally diverse bits like Zach Brown’s caustically bitter set being tempered by light, absurd acts such as Colton Jones’. 

Regardless, festival goers audibly enjoyed every act, though not without a hitch. In typical Denton fashion, sets were sometimes interrupted by sounds of the city- notably, a few ambulances and what sounded unmistakably like a clown car. In a dramatic twist, comic Zach Arredondo was even playfully  heckled by his own mom. 

Luckily, nothing interrupted “funniest comic in Themerica” Latrice Allen, who regaled the audience with her accounts of Walmart anarchy, butchered baptisms, and losing a low speed chase against a horse cop. By the end of her set, Allen had even less receptive audience members eager to attend part two. 

The third day of any festival is the hangover portion of extensive event planning. NTCF was prepared accordingly with a variety of daytime offerings at Bearded Monk headlined by 13-year-old comic Saffron Herndon. Most seats were taken during an interactive improv set by Folding Chairs Troupe. 

The festival closed out strong at Black Box Theatre where the seasoned Dan Danzy hosted to a packed room. DeDeT was a noticable standout with her blunt and nihilistic demeanor. Her act appropriately juxtaposed discussing the benefits of sleeping with married men and what it's like growing up Christian.

Throughout the weekend's abrasiveness, political commentary, and adventurous musings the fest supported a good cause as 35% of proceeds went to Language of Laughter charity.

That portion went a long way as more than $1500 was raised. Success was achieved due to a team effort in which board members spent most of the year preparing for their inaugural fest. Now that it's time to take a breath from the cacophony of laughter, the local comedians who busted their asses to make NTCF happen can know they'll be able to take it to the next level as Denton continues morphing into a town that's hospitable to up-and-coming comics.

For more images check out our photo set by Emily Cline.

Photos by Emily Cline and Robert Warren
Header image photographed by Robert Warren
Header image by Christopher Rodgers