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This Weekend, Laugh It Up at the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival

August 23, 2016

By Meg Campbell

Summer may be winding down, but the laughs are ramping up at the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (PCF).

Hosted by Comedy Arts Pittsburgh, PCF was the first comedy festival in Western Pennsylvania when it launched in 2014. Now in its third year, PCF is bringing three days of local and national acts and workshops to the Henry Heymann Theater in Oakland Aug. 25 to Aug. 28.

It all kicks off Thursday night with headliner Quincy Jones – not that Quincy Jones, as his website reminds us – who refused to let a Stage 4 cancer diagnoses slow his rise to comedy fame. After doctors gave Jones a prognosis of one year last August, he decided to ignore them and start a Kickstarter to star in his own standup special and hasn’t looked back.


Standup headliner Quincy Jones! #PCF16 #pghisfunny

A photo posted by Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (@pghcomedyfest) on

PCF’s second headliner, Chicago’s improv-duo Sheldon, takes the stage on Friday night.

We couldn’t be more excited about this year’s festival headliners,” says Nilesh Shah, PCF 2016 programming director.

Jones’ story and comedy are a great fit for the intimate, community environment that PCF has become known for. Our improv headliner, Sheldon, epitomizes the spontaneous fun and real relationships that have helped our local comedy community grow so much over the past few years.”

Shah is excited for Pittsburgh comedy lovers to see the show. “We’re proud to bring two fantastic, hilarious and very different national comedy acts to our stage in August,” Shah says. “Audiences will be in for a treat.

In addition to the two headliners, PCF features rising local and national improv and stand-up acts including LGBTQ Bert, Improvised Mythology and John Dick Winters.

While many PCF shows are adults-only, Saturday afternoon is packed with all-ages fun for the whole family at the Kids Comedy Cabaret. In addition to shows for everyone, kids will have a chance to explore their own creativity with collaborative stations and creative exploration with the Mattress Factory.

The SET was made by all the KIDS for the KIDS COMEDY CABARET! #pghisfunny #happiness #colors #joy #laughs #art

A photo posted by Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (@pghcomedyfest) on

The weekend also brings back PCF Workshops to give everyone a chance to go from watching comedy to performing. Saturday’s workshops are taught by local and national improvisers, many of whom are performing on stage as well. While some do require experience, there are workshops for all ages and all skill levels, leaving no reason to wait in the wings.

Caught the comedy bug? Come back on Sunday for the Pittsburgh Improv Crash Course, a three-hour session with Pittsburgh’s three improv theaters.

This year several of the performances and community workshops will be pay what you can to ensure they are accessible to as wide an audience as possible. PCF provides a suggested sliding scale, as well as guidelines for how to pick the best payment level for your situation. If the minimum suggested price point is still above your budget, they encourage you to email them.  

With something for all ages, audiences, skill levels and budgets, this year’s PCF is sure to leave you laughing. Tickets are available online.