Out of Bounds comedy festival to use interactive sketches

Kenny Chilton

Comedy lovers in Austin and beyond will rejoice when the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival begins on Tuesday, bringing 500 comedians to perform in 80 shows over the week leading up to Labor Day.

The Out of Bounds festival is the premier live comedy event of the year in Austin, promising a show bigger and better than those before it.

The festival, now in its 10th year, will take place downtown at The Hideout Theatre, ColdTowne Theater, The Velveeta Room and The State Theatre and will include a variety of performers, such as former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tim Meadows and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” improv comedian Greg Proops. Meadows and Proops are just the forerunners in the abundance of talent scheduled to perform every night.

Out of Bounds offers several different types of comedy including sketch, improv and stand-up. Producer and comedian Kerri Lendo said that stand-up comedy has only been added to the festival in the last five years, marking the pattern of progress the festival makes every year.

“This is a huge festival. Improv, sketch and stand-up are all super accessible for an audience,” said executive producer Jeremy Lamb. “It’s very inviting, interactive and spontaneous.”

Lamb started the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival a decade ago, initially starting with only a handful of comedians. It has since evolved into an impressive demonstration of comedy.

“I started Out of Bounds with an old troupe that I started in high school called Well Hung Jury,” Lamb said. “Then, right as I was graduating from school, we started this festival, and it was very small. We only did three or four nights worth of stuff on one stage, and over the years, it has just grown and exploded.”

The growth of the show has not gone unnoticed by comedians around the nation, and Lamb said getting comedians to perform at Out of Bounds is mostly a matter of “word-of-mouth among the performers.”

“We’ve always tried to be really good to people traveling from out of town. They come from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, wherever really, and each of those places has their own little stand-up or improv or sketch scene,” Lamb said. “Then they come to Austin and have a good audience and a good time and go back talking about how great it was here at Out Of Bounds.”

For Lendo, the festival is another prime opportunity to perform.

“I’ve been performing for six or seven years,” Lendo said. “Everyone’s always laughing and enjoying themselves, and as a comedian, I don’t want to stop. I want to just keep going and going and never get off stage.”

Printed on Monday, August 29, 2011 as: Out of Bounds.