Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Cape Fear Comedy Festival

Updated: May. 3, 2019 at 4:38 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Comedy festivals have a lot to offer for longtime fans or people who may not even know a show is happening until they walk into their favorite bar one night and see a microphone and speakers.

Around 50 of the country’s best stand-up comedians, including several living in Wilmington, will perform May 9-12 at the 10th annual Cape Fear Comedy Festival. Dead Crow Comedy Room, Bombers Beverage Company and Waterline Brewing Company will host shows each night, culminating with headliner Maria Bamford doing two shows at Dead Crow on May 12.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Dead Crow General Manager Aimee Elfers said when asked how she felt about booking Bamford — who headlined the first Cape Fear festival in 2010 — this year. “It just so happened that we were able to get her for the 10th (CFCF). I just think that’s very special because she helped us get it off the ground, so to speak.”

A banner from the first Cape Fear Comedy Festival featuring headliner Maria Bamford hangs on a...
A banner from the first Cape Fear Comedy Festival featuring headliner Maria Bamford hangs on a wall at Dead Crow Comedy Room. Bamford is coming back to headline the 10th annual festival. (Source: WECT)

Thursday shows at Dead Crow and Waterline at 7 and 9 p.m. are free, and 9 p.m. shows at Bomber’s on Friday and Saturday are also free of charge.

Dead Crow and Waterline will each host two ticketed shows Friday and Saturday nights. Click here for a complete schedule.

Festivals present comedy fans with prime opportunities to see showcases featuring usually eight to 12 performers doing 8-10 minutes of their best material. Tickets to the showcases are between $8-13 which — depending on the number of people on the show — comes out to a little more or less than $1 per comedian.

“We’ve rotated all the comedians throughout these stages so there are plenty of chances to catch all of them,” Elfers said. “We worked very hard to select what we consider to be the best so I look forward to everyone attending the shows.”

Matt Fulchiron and Robert Dean join Bamford as the Cape Fear festival headliners. Fulchiron headlines two free shows at Waterline on Thursday, and Dean is headlining two ticketed shows Friday and Saturday night — four total — at Waterline.

For more information on the festival or to buy tickets, click here.

Never been to a comedy festival? Here are some dos and don’ts:

  • Make a plan. The entire CFCF schedule is online (and linked above) with performers, showtimes and venues all easy to find. You can certainly wander into some great shows during festival week, but knowing when and where you want to be beforehand will make for a better comedy-viewing experience.
  • See as many shows, and comedians, as possible. Unless you’re a comedy insider and travel to festivals often, chances are you won’t get to see up to 50 comedians perform in one city during a four-day span. It’s possible at the Cape Fear festival in Wilmington.
  • Talk or use your phone during shows, including texting. In addition to being the ultimate sign of disrespect to the performers on stage, it is also a major distraction for other audience members sitting near you. If you have to take or make a call, walk outside the venue, and keep your table talk to a whisper, even when you’re ordering food and/or drink.
  • Heckle. No matter how many times you may have heard that comedians want audience members to participate in shows, please believe that they do not. If you don’t care for a comedian’s brand of humor, there’s no need to audibly express that opinion while they’re on stage, or ever really. You should keep that information to yourself. Also, part of the beauty of the showcase format is that when you hear jokes you don’t like, you don’t have to wait long for the next performer to take the mic.

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