Your Guide to the Riot LA Alternative Comedy Festival
Get ready to yuk it up this weekend at Riot LA, the 4th annual alternative comedy festival happening in Downtown L.A. Big names and up-and-coming comics take to various stages—including The Downtown Independent, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, The Regent, The Smell and others—for stand-up, panels, improv, podcast tapings and more. Once again, The Lot (247 S Main St.) serves as the fest’s epicenter and playground, with free arcade games, skeeball, shuffleboard, food trucks, photo booths, vendors and more activities for visitors.
Two shows at the Ace open the festival in a big way: David Cross brings his stand-up show Making America Great Again at 7:30 pm on Friday. It’s followed by a 10:30 show that features the talents of Janeane Garofalo, Maria Bamford and Natasha Leggero. (Tickets to each of the shows are $39.50.)
There are great shows throughout the weekend, but in scanning the festival’s schedule, here are six of the shows that pique our interest the most:
No, You Shut Up! LIVE - Saturday at 9 pm at the Fusion Stage: Comedian Paul F. Tompkins performs a version of his late-night Fusion talk show No, You Shut Up! live on the F-Comedy stage. Paul F. Tompkins is hilarious as a solo performer, but he might be joined by a talking hot dog and a conservative squirrel at his show, too. You never know. ($15).
Trump vs. Bernie Debate - Saturday at 11 pm at the Fusion Stage. Comedians James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik have the West Coast premiere of their show, the Trump vs. Bernie Debate. Billionaire Trump (Atamanuik) and Democratic socialist (Adomian) don their wigs and debate. ($15).
Millennial on Sunday at 3 pm at The Smell. Alex Edelman won best newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so see for yourself what the hype is all about. “The show is about neurotic and terrified young people. And one of them in particular. If you are one or know one, come. If you don’t still come. It’s at 3 PM on a Sunday. You have nothing else to do. It’s also pretty Jewy. So you’ve been warned.” ($10).
First Comes Love with Kyle Ayers on Sunday at 5 pm at Five Star Bar. Brooklyn comedian Ayers placed a Craigslist ad asking for 3-4 page porn scripts from aspiring writers. He got 1,000 responses in a week, and he and his friends will act them out verbatim on stage. The lineup features Ramy Youssef, Danny Jolles, Nicole Aimée Schreiber, Erin & Melissa, Noah Findling, Courtney Maginnis and Barry Rothbart. ($10).
Picture This! is at Riot LA. (Image: Picture This)
Picture This! - Sunday at 5 pm at the Downtown Independent. It’s a “live animated comedy show” with stand-ups performing while they are drawn live by some of the best animators, cartoonists, and other artists. Hosted by Brandie Posey, comedians include Ron Funches, Eddie Pepitone, Guy Branum, Phoebe Robinson, Chris Garcia, The Puterbaugh Sisters and animation by Mike Hollingsworth (BoJack Horseman), Mike Mayfield (Mr. Pickles) and Jenny Fine (Nerdist). ($15).The Bullshit Artists: Sunday at 6 pm at The Regent (a 21+ venue). The night features T.J. Miller, Jerrod Carmichael, Anthony Jeselnik, Kumail Nanjiani, Rory Scovel, Andy Peters and two secret guests making
stuff up live comedy on the spot. ($25.)
While you can buy individual tickets to shows, there are still Superfan passes still available at $110. You get admission to The Lot, 40+ shows on a first-come, first-served basis from Friday to Sunday. The pass, however, excludes the ticketed shows at The Regent and The Theatre at Ace Hotel.