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Sacramento Comedy Festival – The Sundance of Comedy

From September 7th – 15th, the Sacramento Comedy Spot will host the second annual Sacramento Comedy Festival, which features 25 different shows with over 100 performers from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and of course our local area.

The Sacramento Comedy Spot, located on 20th and K, is one of Sacramento’s few comedy venues. They put on approximately 300 shows a year, which consist of improv and sketch comedy in addition to stand up – which none of Sacramento’s other comedy venues can boast. Comedy Spot owner Brian Crall said that even though he sells food and alcohol, he “puts comedy and comedians first… whereas other venues are primarily bars or restaurants, with comedy on the side.”

Therefore, the Comedy Spot is the logical choice to play host for the Sacramento Comedy Festival.

The most notable performers are Jeff Sloniker and Betsy Sodaro. Sloniker is a Comedy Spot alumnus who has appeared in the popular TV shows Reno 911 and Parks and Recreation. He is currently working with TruTV on a reality show called Jeff and Curtis Lose Weight. Sodaro, also a Comedy Spot alumnus, stars on the new NBC show Animal Practice.

All the performers at the festival are quality comedians, Crall said. “They’re like an indie art house film – not well known, but really good. Honestly, this festival is like the Sundance of Comedy.”

Individual shows range from eight to twelve dollars, but a $55 festival pass grants access to all the shows spanning the full nine days, which saves about $150. Twenty dollar day passes are also available.

The festival also has its own low-key Oscars. The audience gets to vote on their favorite performers, and the Comedy Spot will give awards to the comedians that score highest in various categories. “We want to make all the performers feel accomplished, not just the veterans,” Crall said. “I’m really proud that my venue gives new talent a place to learn and perform.”

The Comedy Spot’s flagship show, Anti-Cooperation League, will perform both Saturdays during the course of the festival. It’s a weekly improv show featuring special guests ranging from Lipstick Librarian, a well-known roller derby girl, to Joe Cannahan, director of the Hollywood blockbuster The Grey. ACL has run for over six years, making it the longest running show in Sacramento history.

“We want to bring in comedians from out of town,” Crall said. “But more importantly, we want to showcase local comedy groups. Sacramento has an amazing comedy scene, but it’s really underground right now. More than anything, I want to make Sacramento a destination for comedy.”

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