Festivals

WSWD’s Comedic Picks for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Fringe

The almost unbelievable phenomenon of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival—the gigantic, annual performing arts festival in Scotland that puts on thousands of shows over the course of a month—is so renowned that it inevitably led to Fringe Festivals around the world. Performance artists of all backgrounds (comedy, theater, dance, performance art, etc.) offer the sort of shows that might not exist at any other festival for an environment that’s magical, wild, hilarious, mind-boggling, and dizzying all at the same time.

Los Angeles may have been a little late to the game on this one, though Hollywood Fringe, which takes over nearly all of Hollywood Theatre Row, has been putting on amazing work at an incredible volume for a few years now. We’re narrowing it down to only the best of the best. Here are WSWD’s comedic picks for Hollywood Fringe 2019. One last thing before we get started: Parking can be quite difficult. Taking a ride share might be optimal.

hollywood fringe festival
Photo by Kevin Krieger/Courtesy of The Living Room

The Living Room
Dates: June 9, 13, 19, 21, 23, 27
Simply put, The Living Room is a comedy show about grief, created and performed by expert clowns. The brilliant Amrita Dhaliwal and Gemma Soldati take you on an über-absurdist, interactive journey through every sort of loss, and somehow it doesn’t seem unbearably sad. In fact, their hour-long show is so imaginative and fanciful that you might forget at times that it is indeed a performance grounded in difficulty. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 North Cahuenga Boulevard

Caitlin Cook: Death Wish
Dates: June 21, 23, 29, 30
Through the power of song, Powerpoint, and storytelling, Cook explores her obsession with doing all the sorts of things that scare her in this solo show. She cleverly intertwines her talents to keep you guessing at every turn as to what really lies behind the title. Maintaining a certain delightfulness throughout the hour, the engrossing existential through-line packs quite the emotional punch. The Broadwater (Studio), 1078 Lillian Way

Photo by Matt Kamimura/Courtesy of Hollywood Fringe Festival

Mil Grus
Dates: June 9, 14, 16, 21, 23
The clowning avant-garde is alive and well in Los Angeles. Mil Grus presents this high art, specifically the bouffon style, that pushes for visceral, ridiculous, and otherworldly moments. Postmodern performers Isaac Kessler, Jenson Titus Lavallee, Grayson Morris, Jeremy Sapp, and Helene Udy perform around the world and are showing up here as grotesque jesters who’ve been given a rare chance to delight a court at the risk of their own lives. It might be some of the most wild, eye-opening comedy you’ll see at the festival. McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 North McCadden Place

Comedy Hoe
Dates: June 8, 16, 28
Jil Chrissie moved here from Denver and has worked her way into the thick of the L.A. comedy scene as a stand-up who is as bold as her smile is big. This solo show takes her to another level as she focuses on how women try to live their daily lives while being hypersexualized by society. Chrissie breaks down this dynamic through her own comedy, as well as storytelling and even spoken-word poetry, for a powerful hour-long show. The Hudson Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard

hollywood fringe festival
Photo courtesy of The Color Collective

The Color Collective
Dates: June 14, 19, 22, 23, 29
Even though Hollywood talks a big game about fixing its diversity problem, there still seems to be a massive gap in representation onstage and onscreen. Even many of the diversity showcases that are designed to address this issue seem to be hastily assembled and fall short of the mark. The Color Collective represents a carefully assembled group of comedic performers from all sorts of backgrounds (both in identity and comedy discipline) to present a fast-paced, hard-hitting, contemporary sketch-comedy variety show. It has already snagged awards for its performances over the past couple of years and features many of the top performers from this city’s best comedy theaters. Color Collective is executive produced by Royce Shockley, directed by Sean Michael Boozer, and features head writers Mimi Nguyen and John Mahone, with a cast of Coop Foster, Kendra Hill, Tiffany Aleman, Peter Pasco, Marcelina Chavira, Haley Mancini, Darrin Luginski, Paulina Laurant, My-Ishia Cason-Brown, and Efrain Colon. OMR Theatre, 6468 Santa Monica Boulevard

Jamar Malachi Neighbors Compton CA 1986
Date: June 8
The word “unfiltered” gets overused when describing certain edgy comedians. Yet it’s not really an apt description unless you’re watching the likes of Jamar Neighbors, who speaks his truth in comedy fearlessly—perhaps more fearlessly than almost anyone we’ve seen in recent memory. You can witness Neighbors’s unapologetic stand-up as part of the comedy institution known as Roast Battle, now a worldwide phenomenon, where he often goes as far as he can for a great roast joke. This hour-long show will bring you every facet of Neighbors’s life as he rose from Compton to become one of L.A.’s comedy favorites. The Broadwater Theater, 1078 Lillian Way

hollywood fringe festival
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Fringe

Victress Presents: ShipwRACKed
Dates: June 9, 16, 19, 27, 28
Burlesque and comedy usually coexist separately, but with some slick ingenuity, they can meld together quite beautifully. Victress director Thea Lux does just that with her very talented cast of Joy Haven, Mel Forrest, Leah Frires, Saliha Muttalib, and Sarah O’Dwyer, aiming to be much more than a simple burlesque revue. Having made the rounds throughout theaters of many shapes and sizes around town, their clever at-sea–themed burlesque show should prove to be the perfect balance of saucy and silly. Ruby Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Boulevard