There's a riot goin' on — of laughter! (Sly Stone would approve.) L.A. Riot is the inaugural three-day comedy festival taking place on one square block of downtown. The lineup is the cream of the funny, with — take a breath — Maria Bamford; improv with Matt Besser and Horatio Sanz; the Moth storytelling with Lauren Weedman, Jackie Kashian and Ali Wong; crackerjack improv troupe Superego Live! with Paul F. Tompkins; Eddie Pepitone (pictured) and more Eddie Pepitone in his acclaimed doc The Bitter Buddha; plus a separate-admission KCRW benefit Storytime for Grown-Ups, hosted by Colin Hanks, with people like Marc Maron. In the middle of it all is the Lot, with vendors, food trucks and free beer. Festival honcho Abbey Londer says, “I wanted something more intimate than the norm. The biggest venue I have is 230 seats. You get to see over 130 comedians and 31 shows in the most interesting, eclectic spaces. I feel like people already know about Sean Patton, and Rory Scovel, and Erin Foley. But they might not!” Who are some up-and-comers not to miss? “Nate Bargatze, Kate Berlant, Jerrod Carmichael … the list goes on,” Londer says, adding, “L.A. is a grind. If this weekend gives this city a chance to escape and actually laugh and come together and celebrate, and see great comedians they've never seen before, then that's all I could ever hope for.” Downtown Independent/The Smell/Five Stars Bar, all on the 200 block of Main Street, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 21-23; $60 for three-day pass; individual show tickets available. Full schedule & tickets at

Fri., Sept. 21; Sat., Sept. 22; Sun., Sept. 23, 2012

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