Inaugural Plano Comedy Festival

Editor’s note: Sunday’s location has been updated to ZaLat Pizza in downtown Plano.

Organizers are putting together an ambitious first for Plano, with hopes that the event sticks around for years. The inaugural Plano Comedy Festival is on the books for Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at ArtCentre Theatre in Plano. However, two additional venues will bookend the event, with Thursday performances at Taste of the Islands and Sunday acts at ZaLat Pizza.

The festival is organized by Wes Corwin, a local show producer and comic, with real estate broker RJ Avery volunteering countless hours toward promoting the event.

“Plano’s event will feature fast-paced showcases made up of multiple short sets from great, local up-and-comers headlined by established and more credited comedians,” RJ Avery said. “Closing out every show is a touring headliner from Comedy Central, Fox or Just For Laughs in Montreal.”

Stand-up comedian Jonny Bratsveen (left), featured on Comedy Central’s Hart of the City, will headline Plano Comedy Festival’s Friday night showcase June 8 at 9:30 p.m. Stand-up comedian Aaron Aryanpur (right) will headline Plano Comedy Festival’s Friday night showcase June 8 at 7 p.m. In addition to performing live on stages across America, this Plano native has made appearances on FOX and Comedy Central // Jonny Bratsveen photo courtesy Comedy Central, Aaron Aryanpur photo courtesy of The Dallas Observer

There are a number of factors that set the stage for Plano to host a stand-up comedy festival of its own. “West Plano is a hot spot of entertainment and growth,” said the founder and executive director at ArtCentre Theatre in Plano, Jamey Jamison. “Being so near to Frisco, the boom in population has brought a lot of interest in what we do at ArtCentre Theatre.

“The talent in Plano is a vast array of skilled artists. We have hosted numerous comedy groups over the last five years and currently have an in-house sketch comedy group called ‘PICKOLA TESLA.’”

According to Wes, the idea for a local comedy festival came about when Jamey started looking for more comedy content to have at his theater.

“Someone floated the idea out that we produce four shows in a weekend and call it a festival, and Jamey was down to host it at ArtCentre,” Wes said. “Then, we added a couple more venues, Taste of the Islands on Thursday and [ZaLat Pizza] on Sunday. We’ve generated a ton of interest from local comics to bring their hardest-hitting material to the festival.”

Stand-up comedian Josh Johnson (left) will headline Plano Comedy Festival’s Saturday night showcase June 9 at 9:30 p.m. Stand-up comedian Mac Blake (right), who once won the Funniest Person in Austin contest (according to his website), will headline Plano Comedy Festival’s Saturday night showcase June 9 at 7 p.m. // Josh Johnson photo courtesy Noble Rey Brewing Co, Mac Blake photo courtesy Sure Thing Records

Jamey said festival attendees should expect a lot of laughs, but, specifically, a wide array of ages, types and subject matter. “The purpose of the event is to allow the free-form flow of ideas, perceptions and tastes. There will be something for everyone — from youth to the older crowd.”

One of the headliners for Friday’s showcase is well-known stand-up comedian Aaron Aryanpur, who just so happens to be a Plano Senior High Wildcat alumnus. “It blows my mind to think of Plano having a ‘comedy scene,’” Aaron said. “I’m headlining a comedy club that is across the street from where my high school job used to be.

“I hope the festival gets people out and laughing, realizing how much homegrown talent we actually have here. I hope this is this first of many Plano Comedy Festivals.”


Tickets for the event are available for purchase on Prekindle.com. Tickets to Thursday’s showcase are $10 each, and Friday’s and Saturday’s showcase tickets are $15 each. Sunday is free with a two-purchase minimum. Weekend VIP passes are $40 and include admission to all of the showcases. Although all ages are welcome at the festival, some material may not be suitable for all ears – just keep this in mind.

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