The Gundo Comedy Festival founder Dave Williamson is celebrating the festival's fifth year in El Segundo beginning Tuesday, May 14, but it was last year that he really felt the momentum building.
“The festival had turned the corner as far as being in the community's consciousness and people really came out,” said Williamson, an El Segundo resident. “We sold out almost every show last year.”
Williamson said he added new venues at the festival, which runs from May 14 to 19.
The festival begins May 14 with “Trivia with Comedian Ryan Budds” at Brewport Tap House, beginning at 7 p.m.,in El Segundo, followed by “Crafts n' Laughs” stand-up comedy at Flights Beer Bar, which is located in Hawthorne.
Comedian Bert Kreischer hosts a live podcast recording at El Segundo Brewing Co. beginning at noon on Wednesday, May 15. The “Stand Up Comedy Kick Off Show” takes place at the Purple Orchid Tiki Lounge, beginning at 8:30 p.m.
One of the new venues for the Gundo Comedy Festival is the Automobile Driving Museum. The museum will host the “Blind Barber Secret Show” Thursday, May 16, beginning at 8 p.m.
Williamson said the event is growing each year but “we don’t want to outgrow our scope.”
“It's about adding shows, but making sure they're great shows just like the already existing shows,” he said.
The Old Town Patio bar hosts the “Westside Comedy Theater Presents” comedy show Friday, May 17 beginning at 7 p.m. That is followed at 9 p.m., by the “First Timers Podcast Presents” at Smoky Hollow Roasters, beginning at 9 p.m.
“We've been doing a lot of proper venues, bars and restaurants, but this will be the first coffee house,” said Williamson.
Angie Greenup and Julie Fishman will bring their podcast “First Timers” to the comedy festival for the third year, following live shows at South Bay Customs and the Old Town Music Hall. For the first time this year, they will be hosting an event.
“We're going to open the show and bring out a lineup of great comics who also happen to be parents and have some funny stuff to say about that,” Fishman said. “We're hoping to get a great audience of moms and dads and grandparents and caretakers or really anyone. It could be a good form of birth control for younger people.”
Greenup, a television host and voice-over actor, and Fishman, a writer, are full-time mothers who worked part-time and wanted a creative outlet to fit around their busy schedules. So they started their podcast “First Timers” around three years ago in Fishman's El Segundo home.
“It's a conversational-style podcast which we post once a week,” Fishman said. “But we've been on hiatus since Angie had her second child... we will probably use the festival to launch back into our regular routine.”
Comedic stuntman/juggler Michael Rayner hosts a comedy show for youth at the El Segundo Teen Center, kicking off events on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. The Comedy & Magic Club presents stand-up at South Bay Customs beginning at 7 p.m. South Bay Customs also hosts “Comedians You Should Know” beginning at 9:30 p.m.
The festival ends Sunday, May 19, with “Giggle Water” stand-up comedy, which takes place at R6 Distillery in El Segundo. Williamson and Dave Yates produce a monthly Sunday show at that venue.
While El Segundo has opened its arms to the festival, Williamson hopes the “community vibe” extends to neighboring cities.
“I hope it starts catching wind... we have a lot of room to grow,” Williamson said.
For ticket information, visit thegundocomedyfestival.com.