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No joke, for 12 days Netflix is turning Los Angeles into the comedy capital of the world

Richard Guzman – The Orange County Register (TNS)

For 12 days Los Angeles may be the funniest place in the world as more than 300 comedians jump on various stages across the city and bring the laughs during the Netflix is a Joke Fest.

“It’s one of the biggest festivals ever put together celebrating comedy,” said Robbie Praw, Netflix’s vice president of stand-up and comedy.

The festival takes place from May 1-12 at more than 35 venues across the city. Performers range from comedy legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Ali Wong, Kevin Hart, Wanda Sykes, David Letterman and Chelsea Handler to established as well as up-and-coming stand-up comedians.

They’ll be performing about 500 shows at places like the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek, the Dolby, the Kia Forum, and the Palladium plus historic comedy venues including the Hollywood Improv, the Laugh Factory, and the Comedy Store. The festival launches with a May 1 show at the Hollywood Bowl featuring Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Nate Bargatze and Sebastian Maniscalco.

One of the biggest shows on a packed day two will feature well-known comic Nick Kroll and the Emmy Award-winning cast of the animated coming-of-age adult-oriented sitcom “Big Mouth.” The May 2 show is happening at the Greek Theatre and will include cast members Kroll, Maya Rudolph, John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas and others.

With eight seasons of shows, “Big Mouth” is Netflix’s longest running original series that’s not part of kids and family programming. The festival performance will be a celebration of the show with cast members who have voiced the characters since the beginning.

“We’ll be showing never before seen clips, things that got cut from the show, some of the biggest songs that have been part of the show. It’ll be kind of an intimate feel of what it’s like to be a part of making the show,” said Kroll, who is one of the show’s creators.

“It’s going to be a real spectacle, it’s not just going to be a stand-up show because there’s going to be all these surprise elements that we are going to bring into it,” he said.

He’s also pretty excited that Netflix will be bringing so many comics to L.A.

“They’ve really put the flag down as the place to put up your specials and do all types of comedy,” he said. “I think this festival is a statement for Netflix that they are the place to be if you want to watch stand-up and other comedies,” he added.

Another famous comedian taking part in the festival is Bert Kreischer, who recently released his fifth stand-up special, “Razzle Dazzle” on Netflix. He’s also the star of the Netflix comedy film “The Machine.”

He’s going to be busy during the festival with a couple of shows and one competitive event planned. His first performance is a May 6 show as part of comedian/actor Adam Ray’s “Dr. Phil LIVE” spoof show.

“The beauty of this festival is that they have so much talent sprinkled all over the city that some of the greatest comics like Adam Ray get to do what they really love to do and that’s his live podcast Dr. Phil. It’s so inventive, so different and so fun,” Kreischer said.

Kreischer then has a May 11 show at the Kia Forum.

“It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster to be honest,” he said, explaining that the first 20 minutes of his set will be “real thunder,” while he’s closing with something a little different for him.

“It’s an emotional story about us putting down our dog, which is as funny as it is touching I would say,” he said. Kreischer, who described his fans as “bros” and women who love “bros,” said his set is designed to take these “bros” to emotional places they may not be familiar with.

“Everyone had to put down a dog once and it’ll be fun to see that emotional roller coaster that dudes don’t want to take,” he said.

And besides doing what he does best, Kreischer will also be hosting and taking part in a 5K run at the Rose Bowl with fellow comedian Tom Segura and country singer Jelly Roll. The three will be running the race on May 7 as part of the festival along with several other comics and members of the public who register. People may want to bet on Kresisher because he said he once ran the L.A. Marathon without any training whatsoever because some said he could never do it. He ran it in about five hours.

While the lineup is filled with the funniest people in the world, for Praw the festival also has a serious goal.

“We’ve been making stand-up specials at Netflix for 10 years, so we’re very conscious of how important stand-up has become culturally. There are so many music festivals, and comedy has grown so much that we feel it deserves a platform and a context like this to celebrate how big stand up comedy has become,” Praw said.

Netflix is a Joke Festival

When: May 1-12

Where: Various venues

Tickets: Various prices

Information:, to register for the 5K go to

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