Bentzen Ball 2019 is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s lineup. I am not exaggerating when I say that several of my favorite comedians in the world are appearing at this thing, it’s a hell of an affair we’ve got lined up for you. Let’s spend some time getting geared up for the fest by watching a bunch of lil clips of them doing what they do best!
Maria Bamford: Old Baby Official Trailer who is @ An Evening W/Maria Bamford @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
In a time where standup comedy has never been more popular (or better) Maria Bamford is easily one of the most innovative, influential acts going. She’s constantly pushing her work in more personal, intimate directions, staring down her struggles with mental heath, revealing the heartbreaking, hilarious truths that lie in some of our most fragile moments. Her latest special features her performing for a small audience in a variety of oddball spaces, like a bowling alley, a hot dog stand, and a city park.
Jackie Kashian “This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux” who is @ An Evening W/Maria Bamford @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
Jackie Kashian, standup comic, podcaster, and writer, has been at it for decades now, and continues to crush in front of adoring audiences, frequently performing alongside her close friend Maria Bamford. Jackie also hosts a pair of really good podcasts: The Dork Forest, where she interviews comedians about their passions and secret dorkiness, and The Jackie and Laurie Show, which is a longform conversation between Jackie and Laurie Kilmartin, another veteran standup, featuring plenty of comedy scene gossip, tales from the road, and industry advice for aspiring comedians.
My Favorite Shapes by Julio Torres: Official Trailer who is @ Los Espookys Live: Special Halloween Show @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
Julio Torres is on the cutting edge of standup comedy, with a unique perspective that has a sort of new age mysticism twist to it, imagining a world where inanimate objects have rich inner lives most of us never account for. He’s also taken up residency over at HBO, releasing the incredible standup special My Favorite Shapes, as well as the acclaimed comedy series Los Espookys, co-created with Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen.
Los Espookys: The Craft with Ana Fabrega who is @ Los Espookys Live: Special Halloween Show @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
I first found out about Ana Fabrega via her series of excellent short films she released over the last few years with Fred Armisen. Ana and Fred have since continued that creative collaboration with the fabulous Los Espookys.
Comedian Greta Titelman Explains Her Chill Hot Girl Fantasy who is @ Los Espookys Live: Special Halloween Show @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
Greta Titelman plays a cuttingly airheaded US Ambassador in Los Espookys, in a subtle but effective bit of commentary about our needlessly convoluted and ridiculous immigration system. As a standup, Greta easily slips between similarly well sketched out characters, like this one portrayed on Vice Live!
Lorelei Ramirez – Up Next who is @ Los Espookys Live: Special Halloween Show @ The Lincoln Theatre October 24
There are few comedians doing more interesting, experimental work than Lorelei Ramirez, whose blend of solo sketch and standup fit right in with the Wham City crew on Adult Swim series like The Cry of Mann and The Call of Warr.
Life Doesn’t Make Sense! feat. Pete Holmes who is @ Pete Holmes w/ Jamie Lee – LIVE! @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
What can be said about Pete Holmes? You know him, you love him, you’ve listened to every second of his long running podcast You Made It Weird. He’s in town to do standup just in time for the release of Comedy Sex God, his new memoir coming out later this month.
Jamie Lee Stand-Up who is @ Pete Holmes w/ Jamie Lee – LIVE! @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
Jamie Lee is a standup comic who’s performed on a ton of late night talk shows, an author whose wedding guide book is well-loved by those in search of a no-BS guide to getting married, and an actor who’s appeared on Crashing and Girl Code. She’s also super, super funny.
Why Do Comics F**k with Baron and Mike? feat. Baron Vaughan who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
Baron Vaughan has been so good and so funny for so long at this point. He’s had a series of killer projects released over the last few years, including the Netflix reboot of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (as Tom Servo, no less!) and Comedy Central’s excellent comedy/variety show he co-hosts with Open Mike Eagle, The New Negroes.
Open Mike Eagle & Sammus “Racism 2.0” feat. Open Mike Eagle who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
Comedy is great. Music is great. Unfortunately when the two collide, things can get… iffy. Open Mike Eagle manages to avoid any and all of the often cringe-inducing tropes of music with a sense of humor in his provocative, hilarious work. He’s perfectly suited as co-host of The New Negroes with Baron Vaughn and also an extremely good rapper.
Don’t Mention Health Insurance to Millennials feat. Jaboukie Young-White who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
Jaboukie is one of my favorite up-and-coming standup comics and also maybe the funniest person on Twitter. He’s just effortlessly funny, and a magnetic presence onstage. Spend a few minutes watching some Jaboukie clips and I’m sure you’ll agree!
Is Facial Recognition Software Racist? feat. Dulce Sloan who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
We’ve been fans of Dulce Sloan for a while around these parts and couldn’t be more excited to feature her here at our festival. She’s been a standout correspondent on The Daily Show since joining the cast in 2017, and continues to be a fantastic standup comic.
Haywood Turnipseed Jr at The DC Improv who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
DC standup mainstay Haywood Turnipseed Jr. is a DC comedy scene favorite and a staple at the DC Improv and Drafthouse Comedy. He’s reliably funny and a warm, engaging performer that’s been a part of BYT events like Bentzen Ball for years now!
Violet Gray on “Night Train w/ Wyatt Cenac” Violet Gray who is @ The New Negroes @ The Lincoln Theatre October 25
Baltimore comedian Violet Gray’s comedy vacillates between commentary on gender and sexuality and Dungeons and Dragons, which is frankly, great. Super dark, hilarious stuff, you’re going to be seeing a lot more from Violet in the coming years, I’m sure of it!
Roxane Gay – Fitting Into the World in “Hunger” who is @ A Smart, Funny and REAL Afternoon w/ Roxane Gay, in conversation w/ Sasheer Zamata @ the Lincoln Theatre October 26
Author Roxane Gay is one of Twitter’s favorite people, and for good reason! She’s insightful, funny, and honest. Her longer written works are equally acclaimed, including her landmark memoirs Hunger and Bad Feminist.
Sasheer Zamata: Pizza Mind – Working at Disneyworld who is @ A Smart, Funny and REAL Afternoon w/ Roxane Gay, in conversation w/ Sasheer Zamata @ the Lincoln Theatre October 26
Sasheer Zamata has had a pretty dreamy career in comedy so far, having spent a few years on Saturday Night Live before writing for and appearing on television shows like Bojack Horseman, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and At Home with Amy Sedaris, not to mention releasing her debut standup special Pizza Mind in 2017. Her newish podcast Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata is a must-listen for comedy fans, showcasing her one-on-one conversational abilities that will be on full display during her chat with Roxane Gay here at Bentzen Ball!
Tig Notaro Discovers She’s Fluent in Kitten who is @ Tig Notaro: But Enough About You @ The Lincoln Theatre October 26 and DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
Tig! The reason this is all happening. Her latest special, Happy To Be Here, streaming now over on Netflix, is typically amazing and incredible and hilarious. We love getting to work with her year after year and you’re going to love what she’s got in store for the festival!
Catherine Cohen: “Look at Me” who is @ Catherine Cohen Live! @ Kennedy Center October 26
Catherine Cohen’s blend of character work and alt comedy informed cabaret is a singularly compelling concoction that’s won over the entire internet over the last few years. Watching Catherine is to witness a fully realized creative vision, the thrill of seeing someone doing exactly what they want to up there, and doing it very well.
Jay Pharoah: Can I Be Me? who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
After spending the first half of the decade on Saturday Night Live, Jay Pharoah went on pop up in various movies and TV shows, including Family Guy and Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane. He continues to impress with his knack for celebrity impressions, as you’ll see on his 2015 comedy special, Can I Be Me?
Aparna Nancherla Stand-Up who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
We all love Aparna, right? She’s a standout player on comedy nerd favorites Corporate and Bojack Horseman, and a killer standup comic. She also released her debut stand up comedy album, Just Putting It Out There on Tig’s record label, which happens to be called Bentzen Ball Records!
Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For The First Time who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
There are few comics more fun to watch live than Rory Scovel. That’s because there are few comics who have more fun performing live than Rory Scovel. He’s prone to extended flights of context-free fancy, experimental weirdness, and sporadic adoption of various accents. Go see Rory Scovel live.
Jermaine Fowler – Working at Quiznos who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
Give ‘Em Hell Kid, Jermaine Fowler’s debut special, is a real treat to watch, start to finish. Since the special’s release in 2015, this D.C. native has received a ton of acclaim for his roles in CBS’ Superior Donuts and HBO’s Crashing.
America Is the Greatest Country in the United States – Trailer feat. Judah Friedlander who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
You may know deadpan weirdo Judah Friedlander as Frank from 30 Rock, or from being very good at standup comedy for a very long time. His latest feature-length standup special for Netflix is a moody affair, shot in black & white and highlights his knack for crowd work and burgeoning run for President of the United States of America.
Seeing a Penis for the First Time feat. Yamaneika Saunders who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
Yamaneika Saunders is a delightfully filthy comic whose knack for provocative, raw material has landed her guest appearances on series like This Is Not Happening and Comedy Central Presents. Her latest standup special is streaming on Netflix as a part of their series showcasing some of the filthiest minds in comedy, The Degenerates.
Comedy Up Late 2018 feat. Seaton Smith who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
Seaton Smith’s killer crowd work and laid-back stage presence makes him a must-see on a festival lineup full of must-sees. He crushes in any and all scenarios, including in guest appearances on TV shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Girls!
The Heart, She Holler interview feat. Heather Lawless who is @ DC Comedy Homecoming! @ Entertainment and Sports Arena October 26
Heather Lawless is perhaps best known as a comedic actor and voice over artist, appearing in such hallucinatory Adult Swim classics as Xavier: Renegade Angel and The Heart, She Holler, and the trailblazing series Wonder Showzen. Her latest and greatest spot is as Ruth, the Lady Who Lives in the Woods on the wonderful At Home with Amy Sedaris.
Call Your Girlfriend who are @ Call Your Girlfriend LIVE! @ The Lincoln Theatre October 26
The feminist icons from the Call Your Girlfriend podcast are gracing us with their presence for one night only here in D.C.! Live episodes of this outspoken chat show give the hosts a chance to spread out and dig into various topics, ranging from the personal to the political and everywhere in between.
Wendy Wroblewski Stand Up Comedy Washington DC March 6 2019 who is @ Bentzen Belles: Future Headliners Showcase @ Kennedy Center October 27
Wendy is a master jokesmith, crafting perfectly constructed goofbombs with ease. We could listen to her riff on topics as minor as trail mix and as huge as obsessive compulsive disorder all day long!
Chanel Ali on Uber, Philly Movie Theaters, and Wack Sex who is @ Bentzen Belles: Future Headliners Showcase @ Kennedy Center October 27
NYC-based standup Chanel Ali is a favorite at clubs around the city, and for good reason. She’s also been featured on MTV, TruTV, and Food Network, and absolutely deserves to be on your radar, as you can tell from this killer set recorded in Brooklyn a couple years back!
How Women Can Tell If an Ex Has Slept with Someone Else feat. Rosebud Baker who is @ Bentzen Belles: Future Headliners Showcase @ Kennedy Center October 27
Rosebud Baker has been handpicked by the folks at Just For Laughs and Comedy Central as a comic to watch out for, and we can’t help but agree. That’s why she’s one of the four comics featured at our must-see Future Headliners Showcase at the Kennedy Center!
Franqi French Dec. 14, 2018 who is @ Bentzen Belles: Future Headliners Showcase @ Kennedy Center October 27
Franqi French is one of our favorite up and comers, and once you’ve had the privilege of seeing her, we’re sure you’ll be a convert as well!