Dallas — The most recent session of improv classes at the Dallas Comedy House included nearly 300 students, the largest pupil population yet.
And now the “Teachers” are coming.
This year’s Dallas Comedy Festival starts tonight with a handful of stand-up comedians and a few improv troupes set to hit the stage.
After some 75 other acts perform, the 7th annual Deep Ellum laughfest culminates with an improv show late Saturday from The Katydids, a bunch of funny ladies with rèsumès full of improv bona fides, who write and star in TV Land’s hit show Teachers.
The women also will lead workshops this weekend on taking ideas to television from the web, just as they did with their show about a group of elementary school teachers hilariously navigating the politics and bureaucracy of the 21st century classroom. Many students currently enrolled in the DCH’s training center no doubt will be taking copious notes.
DCF2016 is the first festival in the new Dallas Comedy House on Main Street, which is twice as large as the previous venue on Commerce Street. Despite two stages instead of one and an expanded slate of shows, executive producer Maggie Rieth Austin says some 100 submissions didn’t make the cut, indicative of the growing popularity of the festival. Rieth Austin says this year there are twice as many volunteers needed to keep all the trains running on time, and she anticipates making twice as many Jell-O shots, as well.
She says the shows are staggered in a way to allow someone to see all the stand-up, or all the improv, or all the sketch shows, or any combination thereof.
Katy Evans will perform stand-up Wednesday, act in a sketch show Thursday and share hilarious true stories as part of the “Gettin’ It” crew Friday.
The festival is “a way to show outta-towners all that’s going on down here in Deep Ellum,” Evans says. “Dallas doesn’t get the comedy rep other cities do, but there are quality shows—stand-up, improv and sketch—every night.”
Friday night, Ithamar Enriquez will stage his silent show “Ithamar Has Nothing to Say,” which is co-produced by Frank Caeti, who starred in MADtv and headlined the 2012 Dallas Comedy Festival.
Key & Peele are the executive producers of the web series. Keegan-Michael Key was a part of DCF2013 with The 313 troupe, as this festival routinely draws the funniest and most relevant acts in comedy.
Ithamar and Frank will take the stage late Saturday night with a two-man show that will most likely leave many of those new improv students reaching for their notebook.
You can see a complete DCF schedule here.