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Eagle Rock Comedy Festival a Roaring Success

A look at what's still to come at the Eagle Rock Comedy Festival and a chat with Laura Mannino, writer and star of "Ten Minute Decade."

At Dave’s Chillin-n-Grillin, in-your-face comedian Shang compares a turquoise-haired teenager to an elf and her companion to one of the glittery vampire boys in the Twilight saga. The teens and their friends can’t stop laughing.

During an evening of video shorts at the Coffee Table Lounge, Ten Minute Decade, written by and starring Laura Mannino, delivers shame, guilt, despair, defiance and lots of cocktails in one hilarious package.

The Swork Open Mic, MC’ed by 17-year-old comedian Julian Axelrod, features two guitars and approximately a dozen comedians talking about everything from nuclear physics to rappers to the non-Italians of Jersey Shore.

At the Women in Comedy Roundtable, female writers, managers, teachers, and comedians, hold a room full of people enthralled with advice, reminiscences, anecdotes, and philosophy about the business of comedy.

Bottom line, the 3rd Annual Eagle Rock Comedy Festival is a roaring success.

Still to come on Saturday and Sunday: Comedians in half a dozen of Eagle Rock’s tastiest venues, a live podcast, practical workshops for comedians and the public, and a wrap party at one of Southern California’s best comedy clubs. Better yet, it’s all free.

In addition to contributing Ten Minute Decade to the Festival, Laura Mannino will be performing Saturday night at the Small Room at Colombo’s in the 9:30 p.m. show.

The transplanted New Yorker commented on the main difference between East Coast and West Coast standup comics. “The comedians I started out with in New York tended to put a higher premium on always generating new material,” notes Mannino. “If a big pop culture or political event happened that day, that night every comedian had some take on it. It might be rough around the edges because it was new but the audience was on board because it referenced a common experience we all shared in that day.” 

Northeast L.A. has a reputation as a hipster haven and Mannino, who lives in L.A., also had some observation on “hipster comedy” as a sub-genre of the comedy scene. “Indie, alternative, hipster or whatever-you-want-to-call-it-shows have been happening for over 20 years and started as a response to the established club scene,” Mannino said.

“I think comedians do themselves a disservice by identifying themselves solely as one [scene] by actively resenting or dismissing the other,” Mannino said, adding: “I have bombed and killed at both indie and club shows. I have been frustrated at both types of shows and their audiences. No matter where you are, what venue you're in or the type of comedian you identify as, you have the same responsibility to make the audience laugh by telling your truth.”

The comedy fest’s free Saturday workshops include a meditation workshop, an improv workshop, and fest producer Bobbie Oliver’s “Tao of Comedy” standup workshop. Several of the panelists at the roundtable, including Kelly Carlin (daughter of George), touted meditation as a powerful tool for creative types and others.

Mannino attests to the power of improv in comedy, noting that “improv training will hone your comedic instincts and give you a strong foundation in a comedy philosophy.”

Another Saturday bonus is the live Psychedelicatessen Radio podcast at Dave’s Chillin-n-Grillin, which is open to the public.

Finishing off the fest is the free (plus two-drink minimum) grand finale Wrap Party on Sunday, Dec. 9 at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, which is also a sponsor of the fest. Expect comics from Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, and MTV.

Here’s what else you can expect: A great end to a great Comedy Festival.

Paula Johnson December 09, 2012 at 10:10 AM
The Festival was great fun. Looking forward to next year. http://www.paulajohnson.com/

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