Submissions Now Open for BCAF 2016!

Hey friends,

We are pleased to announce that submissions are now live for the 2016 Boston Comedy Arts Festival!

Submit here -

Here's what you need to know:

BCAF 2016 runs Wednesday 9/7 - Sunday 9/11
Submission Deadline: May 27, 2016 at 11:59PM

Early Submission Fee (April 29 - May 13): $20 per act
Regular Submission Fee (May 14 - 27): $30 per act

The Boston Comedy Arts Festival is one of New England's biggest and best festivals, bringing together artists from around the country (and globe) in a week-long celebration of the art of comedy. As a nonprofit comedy arts organization, ImprovBoston's mission is to serve the community through laughter; and for one week each year, our community is a global one. Come be part of a 5-day comedy feast that spans multiple stages (all in walking distance) showcasing improv, standup, sketch, music, variety acts and everything in between. With world class workshops, Beantown hospitality, networking opportunities, and a week's worth of bonding through this crazy artform we all love, make ImprovBoston your home away from home. We can't wait to see you in September!

The Nitty Gritty:
Groups will receive notification of their acceptance status no later than June 17, 2016. Upon acceptance, acts receive a statement for their total registration cost, based on a rate of $20 for each performer on their submission form. Each individual will only need to pay the registration fee once, regardless of the number of accepted groups a person may perform with.
Submission fees and participant registration fees are two different, nonrefundable charges. If you have questions about the difference in fees, please contact us.

Performers in the Boston Comedy Arts Festival receive:
A performer pass good for FREE standby admission to ALL festival shows
A discount on ticket purchases, if you want to guarantee a seat
A super soft Boston Comedy Arts Festival shirt
Access to exclusive after parties and events
Discounts with local participating merchants
A 50% discount on workshops plus early registration options
A digital download of your multi-camera performance recording
Publicity in BCAF marketing materials (website, social, print, etc.)

2016 Dates Announced

Announcing the 2016 BCAF timeline!

Festival: September 7-11

Submissions open April 29

BCAF 2015 Schedule & Tickets Available!

boston comedy arts festival

We are pleased to announce the schedule for the 2015 Boston Comedy Arts Festival!

We have over 80 acts from all over the country performing top-notch improv, sketch, standup and variety comedy. Check them out and purchase tickets to the shows you want to see at

-The Producers

2015 Submissions Closed

The submissions period for the 2015 festival is now over. Our hardworking team of judges will now begin reviewing the hundreds of submissions we've received, and we'll be in touch with all of our applicants before the end of June.

Thank you to all who submitted for this year's festival!

2015 Submissions Now Open

Hello friends!

We're happy to announce submissions for the 2015 BCAF are now open! Take advantage of our early bird discount by submitting prior to May 15.

Submit here:

Here's a timeline to help you plan for your trip to Boston this September:

May 1 - submissions open
May 15 - early submission discount ends
May 31 - submissions close

Acceptances will go out no later than June 15 and we expect to have the schedule published before the end of June, allowing all our acts ample time to prepare for the festival and travel.

Go forth and submit.

BCAF Spotlight: Magnet Touring Company

One of the best parts of going to the Boston Comedy Arts Festival is seeing some of the world's best performers strutting their stuff in our own backyard. This year, there are more amazing groups to celebrate than ever - two of New York's biggest improv groups, the Magnet Touring Company and Upright Citizen's Brigade Touring Company will be performing and running workshops during this year's BCAF.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Magnet Theater's Artistic Director and improv extraordinaire Megan Gray to talk all things comedy and the Magnet Touring Company before the festival kicks off next week - see what she has to say!

How did you originally get into comedy?
Megan: My family was always into comedy (Marx Brothers, Kids in the Hall, The Simpsons), so I was exposed to it at all times. The act of creating comedy didn't kick off until my parents bought a video camera that weighed about 50lbs, and my brother and I were able to record our sketches onto VHS.

What is your favorite or strangest moment on stage?
Megan: My favorite moments on stage always involve my team Junior Varsity, who you can see on Friday night at 10pm. My strangest moments on stage always involve Magnet TourCo, who you can see on Friday night at 8pm. #shamelessplug

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Megan: Phil Hartman.

What is the perfect sandwich?
Megan: Bacon and avocado on sourdough bread.

Who are your top three picks of acts to see at the festival?
Megan: I'm so glad you asked. It would have to be: Magnet TourCo on Friday, Junior Varsity on Friday and Geeking Out With: The Talk Show on Saturday. #shamelessplug

Are we human? Are we dancer?
Megan: Neither. We're robots sent to kill John Connor. At least that's what I'm here for.

Can't get enough Megan? We don't blame you! Catch her performing with the Magnet Touring Company on Friday, September 12 at 8PM @ the Brattle Theater.
You can also take Megan's workshop, Jump on the Bomb, from 10AM-12PM on Saturday, September 13.

Need more NYC? See the Upright Citizen's Brigade Touring Company perform on Saturday, September 13 at 8PM @ the Brattle Theater!
Take a workshop with the UCB! They'll be leading two workshops on Saturday, September 13: Game of the Scene is from 10AM-12PM, and Advanced Harold is from 2PM-4PM.

Stay tuned for more artist spotlights as the Boston Comedy Arts Festival draws ever nearer!

BCAF Spotlight: Standup Edition, Part 1!

For some, standing alone onstage and sharing their thoughts and neurotics with an audience is the scariest thing in the world - for others, it's hard to imagine doing anything else. At this year's Boston Comedy Arts Festival, some of the edgiest, funniest standups in the country are coming through ImprovBoston's doors to lay it all on the line and make you laugh, and we're celebrating them in the days leading up to the big event.

We were lucky enough to catch up with standups Kwasi Mensah, Kevin Hall, Christine An and MILF before they tear the house down at BCAF to discuss their thoughts on comedy today.

How did you originally get into comedy?
Kwasi Mensah: From a young age I've learned to lose all sense of shame when there's a spotlight on me. Between musicals and choirs, I've made my mom have to sit through way too many performances to count growing up. About two years ago, I would pass the time at a job I really hated by listening to storytelling podcasts and I loved hearing when comics would go on them. It made me figure I could try to do this myself and that's where I'm at now.
MILF: I always loved comedy, as a child, I loved making my family laugh and played pranks on them, especially my sister. But I really got into comedy after taking an acting class where we had to create a monologue based on a true story from our lives. And every time I told a story in class people started dying laughing, so I was like "Are they laughing at my life? Awesome! Let's do this!".
Kevin Hall: I was always the idiot goofball with an overactive imagination. Comedy was an outlet to share my demented beliefs with other people.
Christine An: In elementary school, I borrowed joke books from the school library. The jokes were mostly corny kid jokes—I remember wondering why other people found them to be so funny. That didn’t stop me from retelling them. I really enjoyed the joke-telling structure and had fun sharing corny jokes with friends during recess. The first time I took joke writing seriously was freshman year. I spent a lot of time thinking about jokes—both conceptually and technically—and wrote tons of humor pieces while trying out to be a staff writer for the Harvard Lampoon. Ultimately, I didn’t make it onto the staff and was pretty devastated because the Lampoon was one of the main reasons (i.e. beyond plain masochism and an irrational, deep-seated fear of having fun) I chose to attend Harvard in the first place. At that point, I had three years’ worth of jokes just sitting inside my proverbial desk drawer, moldering in shame and a profound sense of failure. Thankfully, I was taking a course on marginal global literatures at the time. One of my classmates—she would eventually become one of my closest friends from college—was the co-president of the Harvard College Stand-up Comics Society (HCSUCS). She encouraged me to attend one of their joke workshop sessions and give stand-up a try. We basically sat around a table and worked on improving our jokes—premises, writing, and delivery. I wasn’t a natural performer, but had lots of solid jokes to try out in front of an audience. In fact, I was an extremely self-conscious post-teen and hated doing anything in front of other people. Now, I’m much more comfortable with being on stage.

What is your favorite or strangest moment on stage?
Kwasi Mensah: This is kind of cheating since this happened offstage but I'm using it anyway. I have a joke that tries to be empowering to people with Autism, talking about the positives, how its close to having superpowers and how we could start using it as a compliment. I end the joke and with someone forgetting their keys at home and going "Ugh, that's so f***ing neurotypical". When I got off stage an audience member pulled me aside and asked me for my info because she was going to start using that line with her friends and wanted to make sure to pass on who started it. It made me feel like I really was coming at comedy from a place that helped talk about things I think are important.
MILF: The first time I performed my one woman show, which I developed at that class I was talking about earlier. I had a bit where I was playing my dad during a strike he did by himself in front of my school. I actually didn't think people were going to find it that funny, and when I heard them laughing I almost broke character, but my acting skills saved my butt ;)
Kevin Hall: I recently did a show in Asheville, NC where a pyramid of kegs and a new car was onstage with me. I ended my set by asking "do you guys even give a shit about DUIs" and the crowd went insane.
Christine An: I love the moments when I can do something super weird and have the audience really dig the weirdness. Once, I opened up a set by going on stage and applying lip balm nonchalantly for way too long and way outside of my lip area. I also love it when I can get someone to die from laughter, figuratively.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Kwasi Mensah: Tim Schaefer is a video game developer behind The Secret of Monkey Island and one of my favorite games of all time Psychonauts. He blends great storytelling with compelling experiences that don't take themselves too seriously. And it combines my former life as a game developer with my current one as a joke teller.
MILF: Carol Burnett!!!
Kevin Hall: Geoffrey Chaucer.
Christine An: Franz Kafka. Hands down. We would collaborate on a tragicomic graphic novel or collection of comic strips. I would also love to spend a day at the beach with Kafka. If, for some reason, we are unable to work on a graphic novel together, I would be happy with performing in an experimental theater piece with Kafka.

What is the perfect sandwich?
Kwasi Mensah: I've always been a sucker for a bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant. It's basically a heart attack for for breakfast, which is the price to pay for perfection.
MILF: Eggplant Parmesan (don't judge me).
Kevin Hall: A perfect sandwich is any sandwich eaten on the beach. Sandwiches taste better on the beach. It's science!
Christine An: Roast beef sandwich au jus on toasted baguette with horseradish and chips.

Who are your top three picks of acts to see at the festival?
Kwasi Mensah: The Allen McRae Show, Tomily and Mrs. Peanut. Although I'm a little biased because I was in Comedy America with people from all of these sketch groups.
MILF: North Coast, Junior Varsity and UCB Tour Co.
Kevin Hall: Justin Williams, Dan Perlman, Kevin Seefried.
Christine An: OK Cupid: The Musical, Casual Sex Offenders, and Hey We're Back with Jonathan Katz.

Are we human? Are we dancer?
Kwasi Mensah: Human. Because I'm sure as hell not a dancer no matter how hard I've tried.
MILF: We are not human. Definitely dancer!!!
Kevin Hall: BOTH!
Christine An: Dancer. Very dancer.

Wanna hear more? Catch these artists at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, only one short week away!

Kwasi Mensah: Thursday, September 11 at 10PM @ ImprovBoston Studio Theater ; Sunday, September 14 at 9PM @ ImprovBoston Main Theater
MILF: Friday, September 12 at 9PM @ ImprovBoston Main Theater ; Saturday, September 13 at 11:30PM @ ImprovBoston Main Theater
Kevin Hall: Friday, September 12 at 8:30 @ ImprovBoston Studio Theater ; Saturday, September 13 at 11:30PM @ ImprovBoston Main Theater
Christine An: Saturday, September 13 at 11:30PM @ ImprovBoston Main Theater

BCAF Spotlight: Collegiate Edition

Ah, college. It's a time to make bad decisions, learn a lot of stuff in exchange for a lot of money and for a select few, begin developing comedy chops that will follow them through their careers. The Boston Comedy Arts Festival is committed to fostering some of this incredible talent as they rise through the ranks, and are thrilled to be hosting collegiate groups including Liquid Fun from Boston University and Swolen Monkey Showcase from Emerson College at this year's fest.

We caught up with the groups this week to pick their brains about all things comedy - get to know them before you see them tear the house down on the very first night of BCAF!

How did you originally get into comedy?
Liquid Fun: Liquid Fun started 17 years ago. It was the late 80s. We were all confused. Iran Contra happened. Comedy was the only thing that made sense.
Swomo: I originally got into comedy mostly as a cover-up, so when people laughed at the dumb things I did or said I could pretend it was on purpose.

What makes you different from your average college comedy troupe?
Liquid Fun: We're all 35.

What is your favorite or strangest moment on stage?
Liquid Fun: There was this moment in the last show of the semester where an audience member walked in late close to the stage. A Funner in the scene blended the person perfectly into the action, and it was hilarious.
Swomo: Autumn was a frog once and it was good.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Liquid Fun: We got to watch the UCB Tour Co. once, and we'd love to hangout with Joel again (if you're reading this). We promise there's another party this time.
Swomo: I'd "collaborate" with Ben Schwartz forever.

What is the perfect sandwich?
Liquid Fun: 1.) Order a Ham and Cheese Sandwich
2.) Anticipate
3.) Get confused when server asks if you want cheese on your Ham and Cheese Sandwich
4.) Realize you accidentally ordered a Ham and Egg Sandwich... With Cheese
5.) Worry
6.) Eat Sandwich Anyway
7.) See the face of god
Swomo: Ice cream? Cheese?

Who are your top three picks of acts to see at the festival?
Liquid Fun: As fans of Whose Line, it's pretty cool that Laura Hall will be there. Additionally, we've had Kevin Seefried and Divorced Siblings at BU, and they both rock. And UCB Tour Co. (Joel?)
Swomo: Can't wait to seem 'em all!

Are we human? Are we dancer?
Liquid Fun: I'm going to answer this with the line I was going to use in my Salutatorian Speech (before I found out I wasn't Salutatorian): "Don't forget to be human, but never be afraid to go dancing through life."
Swomo: We ain't Beyonce.

You can check out Liquid Fun and Swolen Monkey Showcase on Wednesday, September 10 at 9:30PM with ComedySportz on the ImprovBoston Studio stage!
Read more about them and buy tickets here.

BCAF Spotlight: North Coast

This year's Boston Comedy Arts Festival is fast approaching, and we can't contain our excitement anymore. From September 10-14, the BCAF brings some of the brightest stars in the improv, sketch and standup galaxies to stages all over Cambridge, MA, and we're going to feature some of our favorites every day leading up to the festival.

When it comes to high energy, improvised brilliance, there's no better first stop than North Coast. They're New York's premier hip hop improv troupe and have been performing, teaching, and blending music and comedy all over the country since 2009. From one audience suggestion, the company weaves an entire hip h'opera before your very eyes, making every North Coast show a unique, hilarious musical experience.

We got to catch up with troupe member Evan Kaufman recently and talk all things comedy, hip-hop and The Killers lyrics.

How did you originally get into comedy?
Everyone on North Coast started off as a child with something to hide. Comedy started as defense mechanism against the world. Now, it's what defines us. Also, probably like... SNL.

What is your favorite or strangest moment on stage?
Our best moment onstage in recent memory would be at The Magnet theater in New York City. We were in an improv competition INSPIRADO in which we had to pull someone off the street to perform with us. What we got was MARTY, a mid-70s man who was drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper. Marty did 30 minutes of hip hop improv with us in which he played Karl Marx and dispensed a lot of wisdom about women. Marty is the funniest person we've ever had in the group.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Living people: Three best rappers alive: Del the Funky Homosapian, Kendrick Lamar, Wayne Brady.
Dead People: Three best dead rappers: Biggie, Tupac, Homer* (*The poet. Epic rhymes.)

Who are your top three picks of acts to see at the festival?
All of our members are in other shows as well, so we'll be biased: Gypsy Danger, Pop Roulette and the stand up stylings of Boris Khaykin.

Are we human? Are we dancer?
We are dancer. We are all dancer.

You can catch North Coast at BCAF on Friday, September 12 at 10PM in the Brattle Theater! Read more about them and buy tickets here.
Wanna make your own hip h'opera? Take the North Coast workshop on Saturday, September 13 from 2-4PM. Register here.

Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews with performers in this year's Boston Comedy Arts Festival!

Schedule & Tickets Up and Running!

We are thrilled to unveil our complete schedule for the 2014 Boston Comedy Arts Festival! Check it out under the "Shows" tab and behold our more than 90 incredible acts from all over the nation and world.

We are also offering an array of killer workshops from some of the best improvisers, standups and sketchies around. Take a look under the 'Workshops" tab and join the likes of Laura Hall (Whose Line Is It Anyway), improvisers from UCB and even reps from Bri-Ko for an incredible Saturday of boundary-pushing workshops.

Can't wait for September. Spread the good cheer.

-The Festival Staff


Subscribe to Blog