Comedy Festival Returns to Cape Cod

Among the performers that will appear in next Saturday's 2nd Annual Cape Cod Comedy Festival at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel are Boston comedian Jody Sloane and magician Robert Riordan of New hampshire. - Among the performers that will appear in next Saturday's 2nd Annual Cape Cod Comedy Festival at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel are Boston comedian Jody Sloane and magician Robert Riordan of New hampshire.

Update (February 15, 2014; 1:50 PM) Due to today's snowstorm the Cape Cod Comedy Festival has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.

A festival set in the cold winter months on Cape Cod? It is enough to make one laugh, which is precisely the goal of the event’s director Gary Marino.

“We moved this into February for people looking for something to do in the dead of winter on the Cape,” said Mr. Marino, who is bringing the 2nd Annual Cape Cod Comedy Festival to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, this Saturday, February 15. “Plus this is the day after Valentine’s, so it is a neat thing to give as a gift.”

Mr. Marino, who is the owner of the Burlington-based Harmon-Marino Entertainment, organized the first comedy festival over a two-day period in October 2012. He had originally scheduled the second one for this past November before opting for this month.

Headliner and Boston comic Brian Powers, who has appeared on Comedy Central and A&E, laughed at Mr. Marino’s decision to move the event to February. “I questioned his sanity,” he said, jokingly. “But then he explained a lot of people live down on the Cape and people still come down there and it’s beautiful in the winter. And over time he thought this could be a special event.”

 Eventually I’d like to do this from Thursday through Sunday and I’d also love to bring in national acts as well.

                                            Gary Marino

Mr. Powers will be joined by five other performers, starting with a more family-friendly afternoon show that will bring some smiles to Cape audiences as part of what is still a work-in-progress, something that excites the seasoned entertainer. “You always want to be, and I’m projecting out a little bit, part of something at the beginning and seeing them grow,” he said, noting that his roots as a stand-up comic were planted in the early 1980s performing at the Ding Ho Restaurant and Comedy Connection in Boston, alongside Steven Wright, Kevin Meaney, Paula Poundstone and Marc Maron as they honed their acts working Massachusetts crowds.               

He and others looked at Mr. Marino’s festival in a similar vein: although still in its infancy, it has the chance to grow into something much larger.

“I hope to grow this bigger and bigger each year,” Mr. Marino said. “Eventually I’d like to do this from Thursday through Sunday and I’d also love to bring in national acts as well.”

Much like anything Mr. Marino is taking baby steps, understanding that he must walk before he can run.

This year’s lineup starts at 1 PM this Saturday with a comedy and magic show intended for families with children. It will feature magicians Michael Bent, who has performed several times at the White House Easter egg hunt celebration, and Robert Riordan, a children’s entertainer based out of New Hampshire. “It is all audience interaction and something to do for kids on February vacation,” Mr. Marino said.

Evening Geared Towards Adults

The evening lineup is geared more toward adults and starts at 7:30; it will be hosted by Cape Cod radio personalities Matty B and Lori Lori of PIXY 103 and Jessica from Y101.

Boston comedian Jessica Casciano, a semifinalist in the Boston Comedy Festival and one of Mix 98.5’s Funniest People in New England, is slated to be the first performer before Joseph Long takes the stage.

Mr. Long, a guitarist in Mr. Marino's World Gone Crazy Band, which performs song parodies and spoofs of TV commercials, will combine music with comedy as part of his act. “He will do an all-star tribute to the Beatles done by famous actors like Nick Nolte,” Mr. Marino said. “And he does Morgan Freeman singing, ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ as well as William Shatner and voices from ‘The Family Guy.’ He is a very funny guy.”

Cape Cod Comedy Festival

To learn more about this Saturday's show or to purchase tickets visit the festival's website

Following Mr. Long is Jody Sloane, a 15-year Boston Duck tour operator who used that job as an impetus to pursuing comedy roughly five years ago. “I do a lot of comedy on the tours and people said, ‘You’re really funny. You should try stand-up,” she said.

So Ms. Sloane took a stand-up comedy class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education “and things took off from there,” although she admitted to a few initial bumps in the road.

The first time she performed was at Dick Doherty’s Comedy Vault in Boston. Joining her was her ex-husband and 20 of his friends. “They had been drinking all day and ruined the show by heckling the other comedians on stage. And one of them started a fist fight,” Ms. Sloane said. “Then when I went to go on, I fell down an entire flight of stairs before getting up on stage. It was a comedy of errors... I took an entire year away from comedy to rethink if this was something I wanted to do or not.”

She ultimately elected to continue pursuing a career in stand-up, recently performing at the Laugh Your Ashville Comedy Festival in North Carolina last August. She has also performed three times at the Boston Comedy Festival and won the WROR Comedy Festival in 2012 at which she got to open for Boston comedy veterans Lenny Clarke and Dom Irrera.

Mr. Powers’s one-man show “The Raging Parent” will conclude the night of comedy. The show touches upon the difficulties of being a parent, or as Mr. Powers put it more bluntly, “We love our kids to death, but they are a pain in the neck.”

As someone who has been honing his act for more than 30 years Mr. Powers expressed excitement to be able to entertain Cape audiences next weekend. “There are so many facets of comedy, but if you stripped it all away, I love the ability to make audiences laugh in all the right places,” he said. “The dynamic between the performer and the audience is one of the greatest highs spiritually you can experience. There is nothing like getting on stage. It takes you to a whole level of consciousness and awareness... When you connect with an audience, you never want to get off the stage. It is just special.” 

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