2008 – The First Ever Cleveland Comedy Festival
We started things off with a bang in 2008 and announced our arrival on the cover of The Plain Dealer’s FR!DAY magazine. Highlights of the 2008 Festival included:
- 4 Stand-up Comedy Shows @ The Hermit Club featuring the best 40 comedians in Cleveland.
- Improv & Sketch show @ Powerhouse Pub with Last Call Cleveland, FWB and Point of No Return.
- “Cleveland Laughs” TV Special with WVIZ featuring veteran Cleveland comedians Jimmy Malone, Mike Veneman, John Rathbone, Mike Cheselka, Marc Jaffe, Quinn Patterson, and Basile.
- Comedy Fan Forum at The Plain Dealer hosted by Mike McIntyre and featuring guest panelists Nick Kostis (Hilarities), Lee Herlands (Cleveland Improv), Ann Elder (Laugh In), Dave Schwensen (Comedy Author), Mike Polk, Jim Tews and Mike Baker (Cleveland comedians).
2009 – Ninja Comedy Death Match & Comedy Carnival
The 2009 Cleveland Comedy Festival expanded to include some new shows, a comedy carnival fundraiser event and more comedians from outside of Cleveland. Highlights included:
- Ninja Comedy Death Match Contest Show – 3 rounds, 10 comedians, improv’d topical comedy. 2009 Champion was Cleveland favorite Bill Squire.
- Comedy Video Show – Best of YouTube comedic videos by Cleveland comedians and directors.
- Comedy Carnival Fundraiser @ The Halle Building, for Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center.
- 4 Stand-up Comedy Shows @ The Hermit Club featuring the best 40 comedians in Cleveland
- Improv & Sketch show @ The Powerhouse Pub in the Flats
- Regional comedians invited from Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Chicago for Midnight Madness Shows @ Wilbert’s
2010 – Time Warner Cable TV Contest & National Headliners
- The 2010 Festival introduced a new type of comedy contest – the Time Warner Cable “Funny On Demand” contest which featured 24 of the best regional comedians performing in 4 taped comedy shows which aired on TWC. The winner – Justin Cash — received $1,000 and headlined a comedy special in February 2011 with Rob Snow (2nd place) and Darrell Dawson (3rd place) which aired on Time Warner Cable.
- The 2010 Festival also featured national stand-up headliners Al Jackson and Brad Trackman and Chicago improv comedian Susan Messing.
- Lastly, we were proud and excited to have partnership shows with two fantastic local comedy clubs The Funny Stop (Akron Showcase) and Cleveland Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant (CCF Finale Show) that featured numerous local comedians and headliners John Rathbone, Jeff Blanchard and Mike Polk.
2011 – The Move To PlayhouseSquare and Ryan Stout Headlines
- In 2011 the Cleveland Comedy Festival found our new home by forming a partnership with PlayhouseSquare – the premiere theater arts and entertainment organization in Cleveland.
- Eight different shows were held at PlayhouseSquare Kennedy’s Cabaret and 14th Street Theatre including some amazing contest prelim shows, a Cleveland Favorites show featuring Bill Boronkay, Mike Cheselka, Mark Reedy and Courtney Gee, and two headlining performances by Ryan Stout (Boston Comedy Festival, Chelsea Lately, MTV).
- The 2011 Cleveland Comedy Festival was won by Cleveland’s own Mike Head. Mike delivered a fantastic set that won over judges and the audience alike. Mike has since gone on to win other comedy contests all over the U.S. and continues to build his resume in clubs and theaters everywhere.
2012 – More Shows, Tom Simmons & Tammy Pescatelli
- The 2012 Cleveland Comedy Festival featured 22 shows in 8 days and over 60 comedians from all the U.S. participating.
- The contest field was stronger than ever with more prize money and additional showcase shows attracting some of the best comedians from the Midwest, NY, FL, and Canada.
- Our 2012 CCF champion was Eric Andrews from Toronto. Brent Terhune from Indianapolis was 2nd and Curtis Cook was 3rd. Eric took home $1,500 and had to get across the Canadian border with his giant check.
- One of the highlights of the festival was the “Roast of Cleveland” show featuring Ryan Dalton, Chris Hegedus, Michael Heaton (PD’s Minister of Culture), Marc Jaffe, Tim Cornett, Ray DeVito, Jennifer Downey (Ambiance) and hosted by The Plain Dealer and WCPN’s Michael McIntyre. A special appearance by Moses Cleaveland (Joe Hannum) closed out the show.
- Another highlight was the “Out Loud Laughs” LGBT comedy show fundraiser that raised over $800 for the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. Big thanks to Carey Callahan, Tamale Sepp, Bill Cruz and Adam Guerino.
- National headliner Tom Simmons came to Cleveland for two fantastic shows in 2012 and the festival finale featured Cleveland’s own favorite funny lady Tammy Pescatelli along with Mike Cheselka, Jeff Blanchard and Dave Arena.