Theater & dance

A bevy of choices to consider at Boston Comedy Festival

Judah Friedlander
Judah Friedlander

When the Boston Comedy Festival arrives later this month, plan your weekend carefully. Even if you ignored the four-night stand-up competition, you could wear yourself out just keeping up with all the headliners appearing at various venues in Somerville.

Michelle Buteau plays the early show Sept. 20, followed by “World Champion” Judah Friedlander, both at Once Ballroom. The next night, Dan Boulger, one of Boston’s best, is hosting “Nonsense Comedy & Trivia” at PA’s Lounge at the same time Bethany Van Delft and Nick Chambers cohost “Starstruck: Close Encounters of the Awkward Kind,” a storytelling show about meeting your idols, at the Rockwell. Those shows are also competing with Eddie Brill’s “Great American Comedy Festival Showcase” at the Burren. Later that night, James Scott Patterson, one of Boston’s most underrated joke writers, tapes his one-hour special at the Rockwell.

Figuring out where to go and who to see on Sept. 22 is even more challenging. Early that evening, local acts like Chambers’s “The Dope Show” at PA’s Lounge and Paul D’Angelo at the Burren are up against Matt Braunger at Arts at the Armory. Then the taping of Tony Hinchcliffe’s “Kill Tony” podcast at the Armory overlaps with Ms. Pat’s stand-up at the Rockwell.


Sept. 23 features the “Festival Finale” — where Robert Kelly will be honored as Comedian of the Year and Barry Crimmins will receive a lifetime achievement award — and a show by the always funny Todd Barry, both at the Somerville Theatre. Crimmins will be running over from the Rockwell, where he’s performing on the “Ding Ho Show” featuring some of Boston comedy’s foundational stand-up comedians.

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Nick A. Zaino III can be reached at