Move over, Just For Laughs and make way for The Comedy Exposition! Chicago learned last year that it would not be hosting another TBS-sponsored Just For Laughs Chicago festival in 2014. A staple of the comedy festivals circuit, JFL Chicago debuted in 2009 as another showcase for rising comedians and national headliners to converge for fans in the Windy City. A group of comedians have organized to make sure that Chicago, a city that has consistently churned out comedy stars, gets the comedy festival that it deserves. The Comedy Exposition is organized by Chicago comics Katie McVay, Stephanie Hasz, Matt Byrne, Zach Peterson, and Goodrich Gevaar (whose official position is “Purveyor of Good Vibes™”).
The freshman festival launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the effort less than two weeks ago…and hit its $3,000 goal in under 24 hours! Now they’ve upped the ante and want to reach $6,000 in 19 days. The additional funding would promise twice the original amount of national headlining acts, according the the Kickstarter page. And check this out: they’re already at $5,688 as of this writing! “We love Chicago, and with the addition of those higher profile acts, we’ll be able to bring more press attention and prestige to the fest (and exciting acts to a comedy-loving city!),” Byrne tells Laughspin. “We want to really showcase the talent here in the city and submissions from around the country, and fantastic headliners can help us do that.”
The DIY comedy festival has announced its first headliners: Sean Patton (Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central) and Sean O’Connor (Conan, The Half Hour)! The three-day comedy expo kicks off on July 11. In addition to headliner shows, comedy fans can also check out multiple showcases featuring some of the country’s up-and-coming stand-up comics. Donate to the Kickstarter campaign here and help The Comedy Exposition of 2014 bring even bigger names to Chicago this summer! Comedians looking to submit to the showcases can see details on the festival’s website.