“Oftentimes comedy is a tack-on or a throwaway item,” says Paul Chamberlain, owner of Crapshoot Comedy, which presents a lineup of stand-ups Saturday night at Life Is Beautiful. “I’m involved in comedy because I believe it’s the truest, purist art form there is. A fat guy in cargo shorts getting on a mic in front of a bunch of drunk people and …making them laugh is one of the ballsiest things that can happen.”
This is the first time Life Is Beautiful has included a comedy program in addition to its music lineup, slate of speakers, culinary experiences and art. And there couldn’t be a better time to add some laughs, as Downtown Las Vegas will soon be defined by comedians just as much as concerts and cocktails. Crapshoot is using Life Is Beautiful as a test run of sorts, as it will return to DTLV in May 2017 to produce its own weekend-long comedy festival.
The brand might be new, but Crapshoot is no newbie—in 2014, Chamberlain and crew produced the Maui Comedy Festival, which featured a lineup of stellar stand-ups including Aisha Tyler. For May’s event, Chamberlain says he is in talks with various Fremont East venues, as he believes DTLV is the perfect fit for a walking comedy festival.
Chamberlain says his curation for Life Is Beautiful was guided by choosing stand-ups who would be interested in attending the festival even without an artist wristband—the kinds of comics who understand the festival’s mission statement. “We wanted people to stick around and enjoy the festival. Come perform, and the playground is yours afterward.”
One of those performers is Byron Bowers, who many might recognize from his appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! or Adam Devine’s House Party on Comedy Central. Another Comedy Central name performing this weekend is Emily Heller, whom the network called a “Comic to Watch.” You may have caught her on Late Night With Seth Meyers or @midnight.
But Crapshoot is only putting on one night of laughs. Friday night’s roster is being produced by Zappos and headlined by stand-up comedian and actor (and Las Vegas Academy alum) Baron Vaughn, who stars in Netflix’s Emmy-nominated Grace and Frankie. Other big names on Zappos’ lineup include observational comic Todd Glass (give his 2014 book, The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies About My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories About My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy, a skim for reference) and Eddie Pepitone, a dark-comedy enthusiast who has appeared on sitcoms such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Two Broke Girls.
And while all those impressive names are certainly ones to consider while making your way through the festival this weekend, you’d be lax to miss the locally focused marquee on Sunday night. Headlining the affair is Jason Harris, who spent two seasons putting the Hell’s Kitchen audience in stitches as the Fox show’s warm-up comic. Other notable names include introvert-turned-party girl Jozalyn Sharp and Matt Markman, who opens for Paris Las Vegas headliner Anthony Cools.
The inaugural Life Is Beautiful comedy programming runs the gamut of stand-up styles and features a diverse crew of comedians, so be sure to pop into KINDLAND Cannabis Community and Comedy House at Place on 7th sometime throughout the weekend to get your funny-bone fix.
Read more about KINDLAND at VegasSeven.com/KINDLAND.