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Opinion

On the Town: Big laughs, laugh-makers expected at returning Burbank Comedy Festival

6th Annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Flappers’ owner Barbara Holliday and opening-night host Nicky Paris kicked-off the sixth annual Burbank Comedy Festival that will run through this Saturday.
(David Laurell)

If you’re out and about in downtown Burbank this week and notice a lot of people smiling and in good moods, the source of that happiness may be traced to the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and First Street, where Flappers Comedy Club is currently staging its sixth annual Burbank Comedy Festival.

Having kicked off this past Sunday with a performance by actor, comedian, and television personality Hal Sparks, the weeklong festival is now in full-swing, showcasing the comedic stylings of more than 200 entertainers from around the world, panels, classes, workshops, after-parties and networking events.

Sixth annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Lou Santini is one of the 200-plus comedians who will serve up the laughs during this year’s comedy festival being held at Flappers Comedy Club and Restaurant.
(David Laurell)

“This year, we have more of a national and international presence than ever before,” said Flappers’ owner Barbara Holliday, who is hosting comedians from as far away as Australia and Malaysia.

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“We also have a very strong female presence, which will be highlighted by a special one-on-one session I will be conducting with comedy legend Jo Anne Worley of ‘Laugh-In’ fame,” Holliday said.

6th Annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Barbara Holliday, the grand dame of Flappers, welcomes Sunday’s opening-night crowd to this year’s comedy festival with a bit of her own stand-up.
(David Laurell)

“We will be discussing the impact she and other groundbreaking female comedians have had on comedy, and all the proceeds from her appearance will benefit Actors and Others for Animals,” she added.

According to Holliday, this year’s festival will focus on providing up-and-coming comedians with insight on the work available for voice-over artists in the commercial, audiobook and animation industries.

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6th Annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Sunday’s festival kick-off saw Satarius Piernas take comedy on-the-road in the Pop-Up Comedy Show, which takes place in a customized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
(David Laurell)

Along with the opportunity to meet with top voice-over agents and casting directors from Disney, Nickelodeon and Dreamworks, festival-goers will also have the chance to interact with legends of the voice-over world including the original cast of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Bill Farmer, who was the voice of Disney’s Goofy and Pluto, and Bob Bergen, who provided the voice of Porky Pig.

This festival is also serving as the literal “roll-out” of the Pop-Up Comedy Show. The brainchild of comedian and producer Satarius Piernas, this mobile comedy show is presented inside a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van that has been customized with a performance stage that can accommodate an audience of 10.

6th Annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Jose Barrientos is one of many comedians who will make Downtown Burbank a funnier place this week.
(David Laurell)

Along with Holliday, this year’s festival is being produced by Joshua Snyder, Ken Pringle and Tamara Burgess. Others who will be playing a big role in the event’s success include Nicky Paris, Drew Israelis-Swenson, Larry Hausen, Magdalynne Sager, Reem Edan and Hallie Newcomer.

The festival, which will also include a special one-on-one session with actor Robert Hays of “Airplane,” will run through Saturday evening.

Sixth annual Burbank Comedy Festival
Maria Merchant will be kept busy this week as she serves up sustenance to festivalgoers.
(David Laurell)

For a complete listings of shows, special events, classes, panels, parties and workshops, visit burbankcomedyfestival.com.

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David Laurell may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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