Global comedians push boundaries

Sarah Pressley

This Labor Day weekend, seven stages across Austin will be filled with comedians from around the world as the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival presents its ninth year in action.

“It’s a sample of anything comedic,” said Jeremy Lamb, executive producer and a UT alumnus. “We want to show what Austin has to offer.”

The festival will cover seven stages, with performers coming as far as Tel Aviv and Amsterdam hopes of giving audiences a good laugh.

The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival was founded by Lamb and his then-comedy troupe, The Well Hung Jury, which was mainly composed of UT students. During their college days, the troupe frequented comedy festivals and workshops, quickly realizing they could create a group of their own. The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, originally the Out of Bounds Improv Festival and Miniature Golf Tournament, was meant to merge the aspects of typical festivals that the group enjoyed.

“I love the idea of a festival,” Lamb said. “We’re going to get as much great stuff as we can and that’s going to build the buzz.”

The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival features all varieties of live comedic performance, from montages of music and movement by Austin’s Pretty Jack Jaybird to monologues from Chicago’s The Belmont Transfer.

“It’s all about variety,” Lamb said. “We very much prize originality in the work that we select.”

Kaci Beeler, an improv performer and set designer for the festival, prizes the diversity the festival allows for.

“Some shows are completely ridiculous and just very loose kind of shock humor, and other things can be kind of deeply meaningful,” Beeler said. “Any show you see could be completely different. It’s one of the best weeks of the year for many of us because we love it so much.”

Beeler’s comedy troupe, Parallelogramophonograph, that also includes Kareem Badr, Roy Janik and Valerie Ward, will be performing a psychological science fiction, space-themed comedy sketch in the festival. The actors will be complete in space suits and actual space patches that the group ordered off of eBay.

“Every time [we perform] we try to push the boundaries of improv, and [the festival] is a good place to do it,” Beeler said. “It’s kind of risky because you want to have a good show at a big festival, but improv is all about risks.”

This year, the festival will be mainly at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre and The Hideout Theatre, though it will also be featured at Coldtowne Theatre, The Velveeta Room and La Zona Rosa.

Lamb said he hopes that this year audience members and festival goers can “go psychotic with comedy!”

WHAT: Out of Bounds Comedy Festival
WHERE: Various locations
WHEN: Through Sept. 5
WEB: Varying prices, visit outofboundscomedy.com for more information