Funny Business 

Savannah Bearden says there's nothing worse than a bunch of "frigging comedians trying to plan an event." She may or may not be making a joke. Bearden, who's been known to do a bit of improv, became a fan of the Memphis Comedy Festival after its inaugural event last year. But she also thought it was missing something: her. "I'm not a standup, but I am a professional comedy supporter," she says. "I put on events and produce live shows, so I asked if I could help out." Bearden says this year's festival, which is presented by the Memphis Roast Club, will include an open mic night at the P&H Cafe and an interactive film in the spirit of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Flyer: If I go to the Memphis Comedy Festival, am I going to laugh my guts out?
Savannah Bearden: Oh, I think you will, definitely. Especially if you like a lot of standup. There is a lot of standup. We've got comedians in from New York and Chicago. There is double the amount of out-of-town comics coming.

Are there any special surprises in store?
No, not really. We tried to get a big headliner. And we did get Doug Stanhope, but he's not coming 'til March, so the timing's a little off, although it's still under the Comedy Festival/Roast Club banner. This year, it's a full four-night event. There's standup and improv. Also, short comic films are being submitted by improv troupes and local filmmakers like Bart Shannon and Corduroy Wednesday.

If I do laugh my guts out, are you insured for that?
No. We don't have money for all that right now, but hopefully this year we'll make enough money to go bigger next year. We'll see.

Memphis Comedy Festival at TheatreWorks, Thursday-Sunday, February 7th-10th. $40 for a weekend pass. memphisroastclub.com

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