Limestone Comedy Festival passes swung around audience members’ necks this weekend as they prepared for a full night of throwing their heads back in laughter.
The second annual Limestone Comedy Festival began May 29 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater with headliner Patton Oswalt.
Before the first set, Comedy Attic host Brad Wilhelm gave his famous four rules for watching live comedy.
The last was a mandate: “Laugh your fucking ass off!”
For pretty much every moment of this three-day comedy extravaganza, I was either laughing, hooting, clapping or reveling in how incredible it was to bask in the same air as beloved comics.
Headliner Patton Oswalt possesses humor that is quite fascinating, particularly in its eclecticism.
He made two farting noises and banged the microphone stand on the stage in anguish.
Yet he is unafraid to reference Thebes or compare his cold to “Victorian London,” saying he is “coughing up orphans and soot.”
To demonstrate such disparate brows of humor would normally let someone simplify a comedian as enjoyable by all.
However, Oswalt keeps generality at bay well beyond the entrance to the Buskirk-Chumley with his incredible craft of language and proton-accelerator quick wit.
More than half of his set was improvised, which means even the most raw and unrevised of his comedy proves to be undiluted genius.
Performances took place across several downtown venues such as the Bishop and the Comedy Attic.
They provided audiences with live stand-up as well as the opportunity to listen to podcasts as they were recorded.
But, most of my time was spent at the shows at the Back Door.
While performances took place across several downtown venues, most of my time was spent at The Back Door’s shows.
The zebra-striped walls were adorned with glittering paintings of unicorns, a breed of horse that regrettably remains closeted to this day.
Despite the busy décor, nothing could distract from the comedians who all but hospitalized their audiences with their substantial talent.
Erin Foley, a returning Limestone comic, opened with a story about how last time she performed there, she got drunk with the owners afterward and accidentally vandalized the mural in the women’s restroom.
Foley thanked the three straight men who opened for her. Aware of their location, they incorporated jokes advocating for marriage equality.
As a lesbian comic, Foley said they did a good job but hoped it would be okay if she weighed in on the issue, which was met with show-stopping applause.
One of my personal favorites was the pint of pure talent named Rachel Bloom, who performed musical comedy about petty break-ups, her obsessive-compulsive disorder and the origin behind the Internet video “Cake Farts.”
Carmen Lynch had a charming and quiet girl-next-door quality to her, provided this girl next door was a little older and might kill your cat if she had the chance.
Sasheer Zamata of “Saturday Night Live” combined comedy and drama with Tony-worthy tears in the midst of tales of broken beds and her parents’ love of “Star Trek.”
Cristela Alonzo, creator of a soon-to-debut ABC television show, expertly addressed marginalization of Latino-Americans and other groups with commitment and hilarity.
When wordplay extraordinaire Emo Phillips performed, I got to hear jokes I had first heard and loved in middle school.
This brought tears to my eyes, and it reminded me why there is nothing quite like live comedy.
As comedians took the stage for three days straight and filled each venue with laughter, it became clear live comedy can never be replaced.