Campus comedy groups and other local comedians will perform at Funny 501, a student-run comedy festival, on April 8-9. The performances will be from 7-11 p.m. in Room 015 in the Fine Arts Building.
The lineup for the two-day event features all seven student comedy groups and several individual standup comedy acts. Both nights will feature headline performances, including regional comedians and Absolunacy, an improv comedy group from Ball State University.
Winnie Lyon, IU senior and one of the festival organizers, said having a comedy festival was a yearly tradition before the COVID-19 pandemic, although the name changed several times throughout the years. The last time it was held was in 2019 under the name Funtitled Campus Comedy Festival, Lyon said.
This is the first year the event is not being organized by the Indiana Memorial Union Board, Lyon said. The Funny 501 organizers received financial help from the IU Funding Board to put the festival on.
Representatives from each student-comedy group met about two months ago to plan the festival, Lyon said. She said members of all comedy groups have been excited about the festival and doing what they can to be involved in the planning process.
Lyon said this year’s festival is bringing in more local talent from around Bloomington compared to past years of the festival. The organizers are also giving additional time for group performances as they want the festival to be more student focused.
“Everyone does shows all year and this is the first time we're all together as a community, celebrating what we've done that year and just coming together for some fun,” Marlee Wiggington, IU senior and festival organizer, said.
Lyon and Wiggington are both members of Backdoor Comedy, an improv and sketch comedy student group. Emma Sappington, an IU alumna and former member of the group, will be one of the headlining performances on the second night of the festival.
Sappington said she performed at past iterations of the Funny 501 festival all four years that she was a student. She said it is a great way for people to see different ways to get involved with comedy.
“It's just kind of contagious to see how much fun everyone's having on stage and it resonates with all the audience members too,” Sappington said.
She lives in Chicago now and said she does improv about three times a week. Her individual performances feature funny songs and stand up jokes, which she is planning to do during her Funny 501 set as well.
Sappington said she has not been to Bloomington since she graduated in 2019 and is eager to come back. Wiggington and Lyon said the comedy community at IU is also looking forward to the festival.
“I’m honestly really excited to see crowd reactions and see how excited the groups get about performing,” Lyon said. “It's really awesome to watch everyone enjoy one another's comedy in a really cool, shared way.”