Laughing Cranium Comedy Competition celebrates its 10th anniversary – Atlanta Journal


Laughing Cranium Comedy Lounge

Photograph courtesy of Laughing Cranium Comedy Lounge

Among the many many issues that Atlanta is understood for—enterprise, hospitality, music, movie—its thriving native comedy scene could also be among the many most underrated. Our metropolis has helped launch the likes of Chris Tucker, Ed Helms, Tyler Perry, and Donald Glover.

In fact, to show themselves, comedians want a stage. And, luckily, now we have a handful of mics and venues the place comics—each legends and aspiring professionals—hone their craft frequently.

Midtown’s Laughing Cranium Lounge, situated behind the Vortex restaurant, is arguably essentially the most iconic. Inside the final yr alone, Tucker, Dave Chappelle, and Tiffany Haddish have all dropped by to do shock units. And this yr is especially particular, because it marks the tenth anniversary of the membership’s annual comedy competition, held Could 9-12 at numerous venues in Atlanta.

Laughing Skull Comedy Festival 10th anniversaryThis yr’s Laughing Cranium Comedy Competition begins on Could 9.

Photograph courtesy of Laughing Cranium Comedy Lounge

“We began Laughing Cranium Comedy Competition for 2 issues,” says Marshall Chiles, the lounge’s proprietor and founder. “One is that I needed to assist construct the Laughing Cranium model in Atlanta—for comedy followers—however I additionally needed it to be useful for the comedians which might be in it. The objective is to get work for as many comedians as doable,” provides Chiles, who is not any stranger to open mics himself.

For this yr’s “Cranium Fest,” a report 1,000 comedians (myself included, although sadly I didn’t make the minimize) utilized for a spot, which ensures a minimum of 5 reveals in entrance of audiences that embrace business bookers, brokers, and managers. It’s not unusual for a featured comic to achieve illustration.

Solely 60 comedians have been chosen, and, whereas cuts are at all times exhausting, this yr’s class was significantly controversial. When the lineup was launched in March, followers have been fast to level out that it included no African-American females. Organizers apologized shortly and scheduled a digital city corridor assembly to debate issues with the group. Ultimately, the lounge promised to launch an outreach coverage (31 black ladies utilized this yr), to work on diversifying its judges and administrative positions, and so as to add panels addressing inclusivity. Chiles additionally invited the 4 highest-scoring black feminine comedians to carry out at every of the Trade Showcases, the competition’s marquee occasions. Concerning the controversy, Chiles now says, “I’m truly glad that it occurred as a result of it’s going to make the competition higher, in addition to simply the membership itself.”

Previous performers at Cranium Fest have included Sam Morill, who opened for Aziz Ansari on the Fox Theatre in April; Mandal, a mainstay within the Atlanta comedy scene; and Rocky Dale Davis, who stars in Relationship: Unfiltered on E! Mandal’s look in 2018’s Trade Showcase earned him illustration, which has enabled him to do conferences and faculty reveals. “Working with the competition positively pushed me to a different degree, and I believe it has accomplished that for different comedians on this metropolis,” Mandal mentioned. “Probably the most helpful lesson I’ve realized is keep in mind to have enjoyable. It’s a enjoyable time and helpful alternative. In fact, you’re there to attempt to have good reveals, but additionally there are superior crowds there too which might be able to chortle.”

Should you go: The Laughing Cranium Comedy Competition takes place Could 9-12 at 9 venues. Professional tip: The night Trade Showcases supply one of the best alternatives to see future stars of comedy earlier than they make it large. You may get tickets right here.


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