The St. Louis comedy scene is a busy one. Just about any night of the week, you can catch local comedians honing their sets at open mic night, improvising madly on stage with a troupe of their closest friends or battling each other with wit and good humor as local drunks cheer.
For the past three years, a three-day comedy festival has brought those disparate elements together. The Flyover Comedy Festival launched in 2017 and returns to the city’s Grove neighborhood beginning Nov. 7. It’s a showcase for local talent in the scene and also a chance for big names to show off their best stuff.
On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, co-founder Zach Gzehoviak discussed the festival with local comedians Kenny Kinds and Tina Dybal.
Gzehoviak credited the Improv Shop’s move from the Central West End to the Grove as the impetus for the event. “We’d been talking about a comedy festival for a long time, and it just seemed like the perfect time. You had these local businesses who could support an event like this, where comedy fans could walk from venue to venue to see all these shows,” he said.
“The first year, none of us knew what to expect,” Dybal added. “We were like, ‘I hope people show up to one of the shows.’ … And every night was packed. It was so cool.”
“That’s the cool thing about a festival,” Gzehoviak said. “If there’s one weekend to go out and see some comedy in the city, this is a really great weekend to do it. We have 59 performers coming in from out of town. Many of them have never been to St. Louis before. It’s a great opportunity to show them our city, a great networking opportunity for all these comedians in town, and it’s just exciting to have all these performers recognize St. Louis and see the great talent and venues that we have here.”
The festival is also a chance for local comedians to raise their profiles in their own stomping grounds. Said Kinds: “A lot of St. Louisans really only go to shows of people that they see on television. It’s good to draw them in with the bigger names, and then they [see] us [and think], ‘This is also great.’”
What: Flyover Comedy Festival
When: Nov. 7-9, 2019
Where: The Grove neighborhood, St. Louis, MO 63110
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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