FARGO — After another week of bitter cold and blowing snow, many are looking for a way to keep the winter blues at bay.
“Laughter is the best medicine” may not be prescribed by every doctor, but the Fargo Comedy Fest should keep your funny bone warm.
The three-day laughathon, which starts Thursday, Feb. 14, features a mix of local and nationally known comics on two stages in downtown Fargo, the Fargo Theatre and the Cellar at Front Street Taproom.
“It’s mostly to get people out of their winter funk and enjoy a night of laughter,” says Krista Driscoll, general manager at Fargo-based Jade Presents, which produces the fest.
John Hodgman was originally announced as a headliner, but “due to unforeseen circumstances” was replaced by Tig Notaro on the bill.
Even before the first act hits the stage, Driscoll says she’s already looking forward to next year’s funny fest.
“With the response so far, I can see it definitely happening again,” she says.
Here’s a look at the big names appearing on the biggest stage Friday and Saturday nights.
Tig Notaro: Though she gained exposure with a Comedy Central special and appearances on “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Notaro’s deadpan sense of humor finally found a wider audience when she took the stage days after a breast cancer diagnosis — and a recording of the show went viral.
That show was later released as “Live” and was nominated for Best Comedy Album at the Grammys. In 2015, the semi-autobiographical TV show she wrote, produced and starred in, “One Mississippi,” premiered on Amazon Prime, and HBO also released her special, “Boyish Girl Interrupted”. The show was nominated for an Emmy, and a recording was nominated for a Grammy. In 2017, she performed for the first time at the Fargo Theatre.
Brian Posehn: Another alum of “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Posehn may be recognized for bit roles in everything from “The Wedding Singer” to “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” Embracing his nerd sense of humor and love of heavy metal, Posehn has been involved in projects with bands like Anthrax and Lamb of God, voiced characters in video games “Halo 2” and “Minecraft: Story Mode” and even wrote for the "Deadpool" comic books.
A veteran of late night talk shows, Gulman created stirs in comedy circles this year when he started posting on social media tips for performing and writing jokes. “Want to stand out? Avoid hacky topics. You know what they are…. No one’s ever been accused of being too original.” “My favorite writer @Kurt_Vonnegut said he wrote for an audience of one, his sister Alice. I write for a 21 year old me. Today think about your ideal audience member. This should help you narrow your writing focus and help you find your voice.”
While he gained fame for being only the second American to win Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his 2014 piece “Millennial,” each of Edelman’s staged shows have garnered him more praise. His latest show, “Just for Us,” recounts his observations as a Jew attending a Nazi meeting.
If you go
What: Fargo Comedy Fest
When: Thursday, Feb. 14, through Saturday, Feb. 16 Friday
Where: Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway N., and The Cellar (below Front Street Taproom), 614 Main Ave., Fargo
Info: For a full list of tickets and showtimes, visit fargocomedyfest.com