Comedy on Center Stage

Toledo Laughfest features all things funny

Toledo Local Features  |  By Kelly Thompson  |  09/28/2016 9:00 am

For the next month, things are gonna be funny in Toledo. 

Not the driving-through-major-road-construction kind of funny. The good kind, the laughing kind. 

Toledo Laughfest is a celebration of comedy that began as a collaboration between the Toledo Mud Hens / Hensville organization and the Stranahan Theater. For the next month, multiple venues in the city will participate in featuring a variety of comedic acts, “everything from stand-up comedy to improv, to a famous comedic opera, to comedy movie screenings, to laughter yoga,” according to Michael Keedy, director of events and entertainment at Hensville.

“We were discussing ideas for collaboration, and when you look at our community, the interest in comedy is huge, yet we didn’t feel like we were doing everything we could to meet that interest,” Keedy said.

It’s true that Toledo’s comedy scene has often been overlooked, but the art of the joke has become more visible in the last few years, as the metro area continues to attract a bigger nightlife crowd. The Toledo Repertoire Theater will host Improv Night, and The Ottawa Tavern will present Comedy Nights every Tuesdaystarting at 8 p.m. With the closing of local comedy club Laffs, Inc. in January, a focus on comedy, and especially stand-up, is more than welcome.

Hensville’s participating venues include Fleetwood’s Tap RoomThe Armoryand NINEThe Valentine Theatre, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Lucas-County Public Library, and of course, the Stranahan Theater & Great Hall  will also host events through the month of October and beyond. Keedy says all venues were responsible for finding their own acts. Festival headliners include Jerry Seinfeld at The Stranahan on October 7, Bobcat Goldthwait at NINE on October 8, and Jay Leno at the Stranahan on October 28. (View the full calendar here.)

“When the committee was planning the schedule of events . . . we were less concerned with scheduling events on the same day, and more concerned with scheduling a diverse lineup that would attract many different people,” Keedy said in an email interview September 22. “We wanted there to be something for everyone, and we feel like we accomplished that in year one.”

The lineup is set for this year’s fest, but Keedy encourages local comics to contact him via email at if they are interested in future participation.

“We have world class entertainment organizations, venues, museums and a high demand for the arts,” Keedy said. “Working together, we hope to not only become more attractive for national headlining acts, but nurture our home grown talent as well.”

Get tickets and more details about Toledo Laughfest here.