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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where are they now? Landry

Original CFCF Performer Comedian Landry (our favorite one name comic:)

Here is an interview with Landry about what he has done since the Cape Fear Comedy Festival in 2010 (our inaugural year). Please note we do not claim to have any influence on his success. We were lucky enough to have him perform our first year and look to have him back in the future! 

CFCF: How long had you been doing comedy when you submitted to CFCF 2010? 

Landry: I had been doing comedy for 3 years when I did the CFCF

CFCF: What made you submit to the festival? 

Landry: I was at a point where I wanted to start performing outside of my local clubs. Festivals are a fun way to get exposed to crowds that you may not typically have the luxury of playing. 

CFCF: What milestones or achievements have you had since performing at CFCF 2010? 

Landry: Since performing in the CFCF I've gone on to win both the Boston Comedy Festival and the World Series Of Comedy 

CFCF: Where can folks see you live coming up through May? 

Landry: I'm all over north America in the coming months so the best thing to do is to check out my schedule at 

CFCF: Do you still work a day job?

Landry: I finally made the plunge. The safety net is gone! As of two months ago I am a full time comic. 

CFCF: What was your favorite part of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival? 

Landry: My favorite part would have to be hanging out with the other comics. It's a great opportunity to rub elbows and to network with entertainers from all over the country. An added bonus was the chance to perform at the Nutt St. Comedy Club. It's a super fun intimate room!

You can find Landry at or on facebook, on twitter @ComedianLandry or on Google+ +Comedian Landry 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Only 3 More Days of Early Bird Submissions to #CFCF2013

Taken this morning in Carolina Beach, near the CFCF location
Photo by Kaye Baucom
There are only three more days to take advantage of the Early Bird Submission Discount for the 2013 Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  We are very excited that the response has been so great with so many folks emailing and responding on twitter with questions.  We also appreciate the feedback the former CFCF performers have given to their peers in regards to what they can expect at our festival.
Submit Now>>

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Am Comic's Jordan Brady to Attend #CFCF2013

Most comics have seen the movie "I Am Comic" a true behind the scenes look at the struggles of the life of a stand-up comedian.  The movie certainly stayed in my Netflix Instant Que for a long time.

We are pleased to announce that Jordan Brady, the director of "I Am Comic" will be in attendance at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival screening and discussing the movie, performing a set and mingling with the comedians at the festival.  As a huge fan of his work, we feel very lucky to have Jordan come out to experience what we have created with the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  Come meet the comic behind "I Am Comic".

Hilarious interview with Jordan Brady talking about "I Am Comic" with Sean L. McCarthy

Friday, January 25, 2013

Who is Behind the Cape Fear Comedy Festival? Part 2: Timmy Sherrill

Timmy Sherrill on stage at his club Nutt Street Comedy Room
Timmy Sherrill
Timmy Sherrill was born in Reidsville, North Carolina, just north of Greensboro, not far from the state line. In 1992 he moved to Wilmington to attend UNCW (University of North Carolina-Wilmington). In 2001 Timmy took up acting and began working with a local theatre company before transitioning to TV and Film. In 2005 he decided to give comedy a shot doing a set of stand-up at the Juggling Gypsy Hookah Bar. He remembers be too nervous to get up and do it. Timmy drove all the way home then talked himself into going back to give it a shot.  He never looked back.  

Timmy started putting on a weekly open-mic called Nutt Street Comedy in 2006 and by 2007 he had a large regular group of comics getting up every week working on their material as Timmy did the same. In 2009 Sherrill opened Nutt Street Comedy Room. 

"I opened up the Nutt St Comedy Room for two reasons. One, to give myself and the other comedians in Wilmington a stage to perform weekly. And two, to present the purist form of comedy to the people of Wilmington, and the comics that play it. I wanted it to be an uncensored, and unrestricted room where we could experience a true environment for comedy, and it would allow the room to evolve into a special haven for audiences and comedians."
Sherrill said.

In late 2009 Sherrill and comedian Matt Ward began organizing the first Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  In May of 2010 the festival happened and the feedback was overwhelming.
"I wanted to bring a festival to Wilmington, NC that would give everyone a chance to experience comedians from across the country. And I wanted to produce a comedy festival that gives everyone the opportunity to get into a festival based on their talent. A festival that is fair, and gives comedians an opportunity to perform multiple times during the week." said Timmy.

Timmy is still acting as regularly as his schedule allows playing rolls as General Charles Lee on the HBO series John Adams and also recently as a stunt actor in Iron Man 3.

Timmy has won the Charleston Comedy Festival's Stand-Up Comedy Contest, Port City's Top Comic. He has shared the stage with countless other comedians outside of his own club, including a return to the Charleston Comedy Festival recently to open for Rory Scovel.

This is part 2 in a 2 part series about Who is Behind the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  Both Matt Ward and Timmy Sherrill are present and accessible throughout the event.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who is Behind the Cape Fear Comedy Festival? Part 1: Matt Ward

Matt Ward hosting for Doug Stanhope at Relix Theater in Knoxville in August 2012
Matt Ward
Born: Feb 14th, 1975 in Lancaster, Ohio
Married with 1 year old son
Moved to Carolina Beach, NC from Columbus, Ohio in 2006
Moved from Carolina Beach, NC to Knoxville, Tennessee in 2009

Matt Ward has been performing stand-up comedy regularly since 2007, shortly after first moving to the South.  He came from a background of live music events and musician management, working in this field from 1997 until 2005 in Central Ohio. In 2008 Ward took his experience in events production and promotions and began producing comedy shows up and down the Southeast Coast under the name Comedy by the Beach. He brought with him to these shows a cast of comedians that had graduated from the open-mics put on by Timmy Sherrill called Nutt Street Comedy.
L-R Back: Brooklin Green, Matt Seidel, Zach Boylston, Chris Brockmeyer,
Front: Timmy Sherrill, Matt Ward & Nick Shaheen 

Matt started a comedy contest called Port City's Top Comic and after a few years it became successful enough for him to begin talking to Timmy about possibly putting on a comedy festival. In May of 2010 the first Cape Fear Comedy Festival came to be.  Only about three real months of planning went into it and the line-up was quit short as the interest to participate was still developing.

In Knoxville, Ward continued to work for Verizon Wireless until September of 2010.  He left at that point and began producing and performing comedy and freelance writing to pay the bills. Since then Matt has produced a successful series of shows including the Comedy Booze Cruise, The Rocky Top Comedy Contest and Port City's Top Comic (now in it's 6th year) as well as a comedy cancer benefit show called Laughing for Life.  Ward has also performed his stand-up at the Laughing Skull and Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festivals.  Ward also runs

(The Cape Fear Comedy Festival is run by comedians/comedy show producers Matt Ward and Timmy Sherrill.  Check out part 2 of Who is Behind the Cape Fear Comedy Festival coming up this Friday)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2nd Venue Announced for #CFCF2013: TheatreNOW

We are pleased to announce that TheatreNOW, a appx 100 seat theatre space in Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina will be our second venue throughout the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  The venue will be hosting a show each night of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  

About TheatreNOW
TheatreNOW is a theatre arts complex that features weekend dinner theatre, children's programming, a Sunday Brunch, movie and live music events. The venue is located just 1 mile from Nutt Street Comedy Room, the home base for the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.
The theatre is newly built and is also one of the venues that participated in the 2012 Cucalorus Film Festival

CFCF2013 at TheatreNOW
We will be having comedy shows each night of the festival (May 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th) at TheatreNOW with doors opening at 9pm and shows starting at 9:30pm. TheatreNOW gives a unique opportunity to expand the amount of stage time available at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.

Stay tuned for more partner venue announcements!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What DIY Comedy Means to The Cape Fear Comedy Festival

Nutt House Improv Troupe at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival
DIY simply means do-it-yourself.  Most everyone knows this.  However, not everyone knows what it means in the world of live comedy.    

How Do Agents Feel About DIY Comedy Shows and Bookers?

If you ask a long-time comedy booking agent, DIY comedians and comedy producers may be viewed as a threat.  Some feel that these individuals hurt the overall business of live comedy more-so than help it. They believe the shows they put on are less professional.
Other agents understand the necessity of the DIY comedy element.  The shows give comics not  quite ready for the agents valuable stage time that helps them hone their skills.  The comics get the chance to do some of the roughest crowds they could possibly face making them better prepared to handle heckling and other variable challenges that come up in the more mainstream comedy room.  Most importantly, it is another avenue of the 'paying your dues' that is necessary to level out your ego and make you a better comedian.

The Death of the Comedy Boom

During the peak of the comedy boom of the 70's and 80's, comedy clubs were the end-all be-all.   They were in nearly every major city. I am not going to get into the 'why' of the death of the comedy boom, but it happened, this is widely agreed upon. Today we see only a small fraction of the number of big clubs that existed at that time.  However, the amount of people becoming comedians or at least attempting to become comedians has continued to increase.  This creates a very unique employment side supply and demand problem.  There is a surplus of comedians that exist to be booked driving their required fees down, and there are less places for comedians to find club work. As would be the case in any industry, this has forced those that cannot find work to create alternate venues to get paid to perform. 

The Starbucks Theory
Only I call this idea the 'Starbucks theory' because I think it makes sense.  Credit has to be given to larger comedy clubs JUST like credit has to be given to Starbucks.  If Starbucks had not become so widely spread getting people to pay $4 for a cup of coffee, then mom and pop coffee shops that followed would not have been able to do it either.  They did so by proving they had a quality product that was worth the money you paid for it.  The same is true of larger comedy clubs that have marketing budgets and buying power.  If they did not exist throughout the country, no one would find live comedy to be a viable entertainment option. So remember when you are running your one nighter in a bar in a random town outside a major market with a club, people wouldn't think they had to pay for comedy if it wasn't for them..

The Comedian Run Room Boom

Comedians have always run smaller alternative rooms in towns where clubs existed. In the last ten years this has become more and more common.  Many comics attempt to put on shows that don't get the necessary attendance and support forcing them to quickly close.  Other comics have been successful running rooms that for every intent and purpose act as the comedy club for their specific area. 
When a comedy club closes in a town, sometimes the displaced comics have no other choice but to start their own rooms in bars, restaurants and rental facilities.  A good example of this are the comedians in Huntington, West Virginia. Their Funny Bone Comedy Club opened and closed three times in the last five years and now they have no full time club.  They began putting on shows in nearby Barboursville to try to fill the void. 

Eugene Mirman is a DIY Comedy Legend
What DIY Comedy Means to Us
DIY means you are not going to sit around and wait for performance opportunities to drop in your lap.  DIY is the true spirit of the small business entrepreneur in America.  It applies far outside of comedy, but very much directly relates to comedy.  A DIY comedian may book a weekend with a club or agent, then is going to go out and find a few bars or night clubs that would be interested in a comedy show and fill the remaining dates in his or her calendar.  

A DIY comedy promoter/producer is going to find places where comedy is desired and put on shows in those areas.   He is not going to wait for the official blessing of a comedy club that sits in a different market that claims domain over the area, and he is not going to be concerned about any type of territorial restriction if he knows it is invalid. (Example: Club is in a different city 30 miles away or more- At this point with fuel costs the average person only drives more than 30 miles to see a show if they also would have to drive the same distance to get their drivers license renewed).  DIY comedy is guerrilla comedy, just like guerrilla marketing. The things has been pigeonholed into the term 'alternative comedy' when it really is only alternative because it isn't done in actual comedy clubs.  There is nothing easy about performing in these rooms, and their is nothing simple about getting asses in the seats as a promoter. DIY comedy rooms are to comedy clubs what your local grocery store is to Walmart.  We fully support comedian run shows and encourage you to stop waiting around for the new club to open and go out and learn how to put on a great show and how to promote it, then do it!

-Matt Ward

Matt Ward runs Super Cat Productions which assists in the comedy booking of the Star of Knoxville Riverboat, The Pilot Light, The Well, Preservation Pub, The Edge and Two Doors Down in the Knoxville area.  He also is the producer of Port City's Top Comic, The Rocky Top Comedy Contest, Laughing for Life, The Cape Fear Comedy Festival and helps run the Knoxville Roasters Club.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Film Submissions Now Being Accepted

This year the Cape Fear Comedy Festival is accepting submissions for Comedy Short Film for screening during our festival.
Each producer/submitter can submit as many short films as they would like for one submission fee of $20. The submissions must be in online streaming format for our review. We will sort through the submissions and pick select comedy shorts for screening at the festival. The maximum length is appx 12 minutes for the submissions we will accept. All submissions are non-refundable and not all that submit will have their film/video(s) screened at our festival. Submissions will be accepted until April 20th.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sean Patton to Headline 2013 Cape Fear Comedy Festival

Sean Patton to Headline #CFCF2013
We are excited to announce that Sean Patton will be at the 2013 Cape  Fear Comedy Festival as our headliner. Patton is crowd and comic favorite at Nutt Street Comedy Room, the home base for the festival.

Sean began his stand-up career in the south cutting his teeth in New Orleans before moving to New York City. He has appeared on Live at Gotham, Jimmy Fallon and Conan and recently released his debut CD Standard Operating Procedure. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bring Your Comedy Podcast to CFCF 2013

There has been an explosion of great comedy podcasts around the country. The growth of the comedy scenes across the country has largely to do with these podcasts. The Cape Fear Comedy Festival would like to have a gathering of the comedy podcasters during our festival.  The cost to submit is ZERO.  Simply fill out the Request Form and we will contact the podcasters we are interested in having in Mid March giving you time to make travel plans.  If you are a podcaster that is submitting to perform please indicate your podcast in the bio section of your submission AS WELL as filling out the form.

The accepted podcasts will get VIP access to the festival for all events except the headliner show (special admission will be available for this at a reduced rate from general public). You will also be included in all text alerts about group events happening during the week. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What Sucks About Comedy Festivals

Trophy for Best of Show?
Over the last three years we have had a chance to gather a lot of feedback about our festival and also about other festivals our participants have performed in.  Turns out, there are a lot of things that comics think suck about comedy festivals.  Here are a list of some of the ones we heard about most.  These are not in any specific hierarchy. 

1.)  Contest not Festival
That's right, some of the comedy 'festivals' out there are really just contests and not really as much festivals.  The competitive part of these events is what turned off quite a few comedians that we have spoken with over the last few years.  If you are going to make your festival a contest, then call it what it is, a comedy contest.  This doesn't hurt large events like the Seattle or San Francisco Comedy Contests.  Both do very well but they call themselves what they are, comedy contests. To us here at CFCF a festival is a celebration of the specific item the comes before the word festival.  The Cape Fear Comedy Festival is not a contest style-festival but a showcase.

2.)  Not enough stage time
The most common feedback we got from folks was that we didn't give them enough stage time the first few years of our festival. We weren't alone on this.  Many of our attendees claimed that the stage time was scarce at many of the festivals they entered. Many festivals have recognized this complaint and are working to fix it. At The Cape Fear Comedy Festival stage time is now one of our biggest priorities.  We are working with multiple venues in WALKING distance from one another for our festival comics to perform more than once.

3.)  Festivals are Expensive!
Yes they are. In addition to the submission fee you have to travel to them unless they just so happen to be in your home town.

At the Cape Fear Comedy Festival we start networking comics together early in the game for the purposes of car pooling, rental sharing and any other travel cost splitting that helps everyone not only save money but meet and hang out with some awesome fellow comics. We also work with a few local hotels to get discounted rates on rooms. 

The important thing to note from all of this is that we listen to the feedback we receive at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  We want to improve our festival in multiple ways EVERY YEAR.  While we will never be perfect, we want to balance a well balanced festival with one that is very comedian-centric.  

-Matt Ward
Co-Founder of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How important is a web site to getting into Cape Fear?

Matt Ward here, co-founder of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  I have been asked this question quite a bit over the three years of our fest.  "Do I HAVE to have a web site to get in to the CFCF?"  Answer? No, you don't.  However, if you have been doing comedy long enough that you are submitting to a comedy festival, you probably should have some representation of yourself online.  This brings up the second question. "Can I just use my personal facebook page?"   Answer?  Yes, you can.  It is always good to network with other comedians and facebook is still the standard on doing just that.  However, with the fact that Wordpress and Blogger in addition to many other platforms make building your own site very cheap if not free AND simple, there is no reason NOT to have one.  Here are two excuses for not having a web site.  1.)  I don't know how to do it?   Response:  You didn't know how to write jokes once, but you watched how others did it or did something to learn how, and now you do.  Self promotion is a necessary part of having any type of career in comedy.  That brings us to reason number 2. I don't like to self promote, I want my comedy to speak for itself.  Response.  Good luck with that.... You HAVE to self promote and put yourself out there in SOME way in order to meet more folks to learn more and become a better comic AND to make fans of your comedy and connect with them to let them know about future shows. In summary, you don't HAVE to have a web site, but if we put your video up against someone that is equally good that has all there headshots, press kit and such online, we are going to lean towards picking the self promoter that is also as talented as you.

-Matt Ward

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Submissons NOW being accepted!

We are now accepting submissions for performers interested in bringing the funny at the 2013 Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  Click here to find out what is needed to submit to this year's festival!  This year's event is Wednesday May 1st-Saturday May 4th in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

Still not sold on the festival?  You can RSVP to our event invite for the submission period and ask questions directly to festival co-founder Matt Ward.
RSVP on facebook


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