Comedians of all experience levels attended the Salt Lake Comedy Festival held on June 1 and 2 at Salt Lake Community College South City Campus’ Grand Theatre.
The Salt Lake Comedy Festival was a full three days of comedy competitions and improvisation-skills workshops.
“We thought it was a great way to just kind of bring everybody together, there’s a lot of improv talent in Utah,” said SLCC alumni Amy Allred.
Improv, or improvisational theater, is a form of acting where the actors spontaneously preform a scene without foreknowledge of the subject. They don’t know what situations they will be acting out until it is given to them, often through suggestions from the audience.
Improv comedy comes in two types: shortform and longform. The Salt Lake Comedy Festival featured both styles.
The shortform improv included Improv Survivor and Battle of the Bands, and longform improv was showcased through improvised musical comedy.
The festival opened on Thursday with a VIP Reception followed by the Comedy Film Festival. The audience choice winner was “Devils Love.”
On Friday, “Improv Survivor” was held at the Grand Theatre. Inspired by the television show “Survivor,” this competition placed comedians into groups of four that competed in different improv games.
At the end of each round one comedian was granted audience immunity and one was voted off by their teammates. By the end of the competition, only Shawn Zumbrummen was left standing, which earned him his second “Improv Survivor” championship title.
“60 Second Stand Up Comedy” gave comedians a chance to show off their best work and make people laugh really hard in 60 seconds. Twelve comedians participated this year, and it was hosted by Wiseguy Comedy owner Keith Stubbs.
“Comedy Boot Camp” held a wide variety of workshops including improv, physical comedy, playwriting and standup lessons. These educational workshops help aspiring comedians learned the skills of the trade.
The final round of the battle was fought between Toy Soup and Quick Wits. Toy Soup played a game called read between the text, in which they grabbed audience member’s phones and responded to everything in the scene with only what they saw in the text messages.
However, Quick Wits won the battle with the game of the dead. Quick Wits also walked away with the audience choice award and took home the coveted broken trophy.
“Last year our trophy broke. Now we got all the stuff from [Deseret Industries] and glued it together and spray-painted it,” said Allred. “It’s definitely an improv trophy. We were bringing it out and it literally fell and shattered.”
However, that was not the end of the trophy. They took it backstage, glued it back together and presented it to the winning troupe. The trophy broke again over the course of the year, but that didn’t stop them from fixing it up again and presenting it this year.
“Who knows what going to happen what this trophy will look like in 10 years or so,” Allred said.
“Something completely different”
The laughter fest was wrapped up by a totally improvised musical comedy “Fraudway” performed by Ogden-based troupe Off The Wall. It was a long form musical improv starring Caleb Perry, Cameron Kapetavnov, Emilie Starr, Rick Rea, and Brandon Garside.
This year the troupe took a Facebook post from an audience member and created a three act musical around that post. Audience members did not know nor did the troupe know what post they would be using.
“Every time you go to an improv show it’s something completely different and you never will get to see it again,” said Ian Jentzsch member of And…Go Improv.
Allred feels that with so much comedy happening in Utah it is great way to bring the talented comedians together.
For more information about this Salt Lake comedy Festival or to sign up for next year visit their website at saltlakecomedyfestival.com