Dallas Comedy Festival 2012: Day One

The 2012 Dallas Comedy Festival kicked things off with a bang Tuesday night, performing top rate stand-up comedy to a sold out and responsive crowd at the Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum.

The event featured a host of some of the best talent that the Dallas stand-up scene has to offer along with a few out-of-towners with Dallas roots.

“Most of the guys you’ve seen tonight are here every Tuesday at our free open mic,” host Landon Kirksey told the crowd, “so it’s actually kind of stupid that you paid for this.”

[pullquote_right]They didn’t seem to mind paying, though. At times they were a live laugh track, steadily giggling to things that weren’t even meant to be jokes. It was clear that they’re here to be entertained and were going to be. Luckily, the comics were happy to oblige.[/pullquote_right]

Justin Williams kicked things off nicely with an intelligent set that played off of his black intellectual persona to big laughs. He covered the bases of family and social dynamics, shared some strange experiences about living in New York and finished with a bit of local humor.

Fonzo Crow followed in direct contrast with a high energy set that got the crowd ready to rock and roll.

Jason Salmon had the audience hooked with his fish out of water stories of a Dallas man adjusting to life in New York.

One of my personal favorites of the evening was Michele Benson. Her deadpan delivery and wordplay proved that she is a master of misdirection and innuendo. I often found myself laughing a beat behind as it slowly dawned on me what she was saying.

The audience became almost unruly at the entrance of Freddy Vasquez, the persona of local comedian Lane Ingram. Ingram’s Vasquez is a gregarious, excitable comic that I heard someone describe as a “Mexican Chris Farley.” He spoke only Spanish and had the crowd rolling with a bit about his “estupida” wife, impersonations of celebrities and his chant “Mexicanos! Mexicanos! Mexicanos!”

Shane Estep was high on wit and parody, pulling an audience member up for a reenactment of Ice-T’s acting prowess in Law and Order: SVU to big laughs.

[pullquote_left] Jason James channeled a Lewis Black style of irascibility at the mundane inconveniences of everyday life. My favorite moment was a bit about a car with a Jesus Fish decal that cut off a long line of traffic on the freeway. James became unintelligible before screaming, “Your Jesus Fish privileges are revoked!”[/pullquote_left]

Aaron Araynpour had a regular guy sensibility as he discussed the struggles of being a husband and father. The comparison to Louis C.K. is inevitable.

The night closed with big local name Paul Varghese, whose sardonic but down-to-earth humor was a nice closer to a night of great laughs.

Overall, Tuesday’s starter to the Dallas Comedy Festival was a runaway success. Tonight starts off with a short film festival followed by another full bill of stand-up before switching to improv and sketch on Thursday. For more info, check out www.dallascomedyfestival.com and follow @ImprovWins on Twitter for live updates each night. If you’re in the Dallas area, this festival is not to be missed.