Welcoming veterans like Maria Bamford, freshmen including Norm Macdonald and two new venues, the third annual Riot L.A. comedy festival returns to downtown Los Angeles Jan. 16-18.

“I'm really proud of how the fest has grown,” enthuses founder Abbey Londer of the KCRW-sponsored event. “I feel like it's maintained its grassroots vibe while showcasing both up-and-coming comics and big household names.”


Abbey Londer; Credit: Aaron Fallon

Abbey Londer; Credit: Aaron Fallon

More than 100 performers will appear on 35-plus shows, including the Jeff Ross–spearheaded Roast Battle, an advance screening from Ari Shaffir’s Comedy Central series This Is Not Happening, Josh Adam Meyers's musical Goddamn Comedy Jam, Andy Haynes’s 420-friendly Midnight Run and drinking game Brew HaHa. On the live-podcast front, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon tape an episode of Indoor Kids, and With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus chats with Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch.

For Friday’s opening night kickoff, Eddie Pepitone hosts I LOVE NY at the Downtown Independent, featuring New York comics Hari Kondabolu, Michelle Wolf, Dave Hill, Dan Soder and Nick Turner. Author Kliph Nesteroff brings his Cinefamily conversation series Classic Showbiz to the theater Saturday afternoon. (Though Nesteroff's guest remains TBA, previous honorees have included Mel Brooks and Laugh-In creator George Schlatter.)

That same evening, new 500-seat venue the Regent Theater welcomes KCRW storytelling show UnFictional Live at 7:30 and Macdonald at 10 p.m., while a tented stage within the Lot — an Astroturfed perimeter housing food trucks, a beer garden, arcade games and photo booth — transforms into a mobile Comedy Living Room at 9 p.m. 

Riot now comprises seven locations along Main Street between East Second and Fifth, including past venues the Downtown Independent Theater, the Smell, Five Star Bar, the Lexington and the Jalisco.

Additional performers include Andy Kindler, Kurt Braunohler, Al Madrigal, Matt Braunger, Karen Kilgariff, Baron Vaughn, Nate Bargatze, Beth Stelling, Chris Fairbanks, Sean Patton, Brendon Walsh, Jim Hamilton, Billy Wayne Davis, Dave Anthony, Randy Liedtke, Ashley Barnhill, Ahmed Bharoocha, Drennon Davis, Sean O'Conner, Barry Rothbart and Drennon Davis. Roughly three dozen others will be announced throughout the next month. “We get some pretty amazing names added two weeks before the fest,” explains Londer.

Tickets for individual shows run $10 to $35, general passes are $90 and VIP passes $500. All passes include admission to the Lot. Ten-dollar individual tickets to the Lot include access to all tent shows.

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