The Second Annual Janelle James Comedy Festival Kicks Off with A Bang

Last night, the second annual Janelle James Comedy Festival kicked off the first of three nights at The Bell House with serious momentum. There was dancing, screaming, room-shaking applause and drink-spitting-side-splitting laughter - and it was perhaps the best damned party of 2019. If the first night is any indication of what’s to come through the weekend, you’re going to want to get tickets NOW.

The first night’s show, titled “Comedians That Don’t Owe Me Money,” began with an unbelievable amount of energy right out the gate with a performance from Leggoh LaBeija featuring salaciously-clad dancers that commanded the audience’s attention and produced literal screams of excitement. Janelle James herself danced her way onto the stage and opened with a blend of gratitude, relatability and lighthearted self-deprecation, noting that she just really “likes to bring people together to laugh and forget about what’s happening outside these walls.” Using off-the-cuff anecdotal humor she made light of the dark times we’re living in, discussed the joys of aging, pointed out that we’re all just trying to stay sane and set the tone for the evening.

" I just really like to bring people together

to laugh and forget about what's

happening outside these walls."

Janelle James

The show featured performances by Chloe Hilliard, Daniel Simonsen, Ilana Glazer, Kristin Toomey and Abi Sanchez, each of whom are comedy powerhouses on their own, but together, are even more hilarious. Each comedian pulled from previous comedians’ sets, spoke on a platform of accessibility and casualness and touched on topics that ranged from dogs in sweaters and periods to rape and gun violence, from stereotypes and skinny jeans to climate change and suicide, and everything in between. Each of the comedians, although they vary in comedic styles, complemented each other and played to their own strengths as the audience shouted, cackled, knee-slapped and doubled-over with breath-grasping laughter. An exceptionally curated line-up by the one-and-only Janelle James, the show made it clear: you’re not going to get this anywhere else.

It’s an elusive, special feeling when collective audiences are able to break down in laughter at the pains of life and walk away afterwards feeling great, but that’s exactly what the Janelle James Comedy Festival is bringing. When asked what audiences can expect through the weekend, James smiled and said, “More” – and we’re VERY here for that. If you haven’t yet grabbed your tickets, take it from us: you’re not going to want to miss it.

Tickets available HERE

Written by: Alana Seggman



Stellar Underground is a blog dedicated to keeping up with the up and coming comedians in New York City. And, since we are obsessed with comedy in general- we also talk about everything in between.

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