When it makes its debut on May 18, the Crapshoot Comedy Festival will be the biggest comedy event ever to hit the streets of Downtown Las Vegas. Featuring 27 comics performing a collective 32 shows at several different venues over the course of three nights (don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of booze and no long division), it will achieve the distinct and rare honor of being something that’s never happened in Vegas before—and that’s just what its founders intended.
“Vegas was really missing a true comedy festival,” says Paul Chamberlain, who created Crapshoot with his wife, Kacky. “You’ve got the headliners on the Strip, but we’re bringing something different.” The husband-and-wife team also produced the Maui Comedy Festival in 2014 and longed to bring a similar destination comedy event to the mainland. As former Las Vegas residents, they knew that the Fremont East district, with its dense collection of bars and clubs, would make the perfect location.
On Friday, Tig Notaro joined the Crapshoot roster (while the name of the festival implies risk, the Chamberlains seem to be stacking their deck with industry heavy-hitters). Fresh off her hit Amazon series One Mississippi, Notaro will perform in two all-female “Nasty Women” showcases at the Fremont Country Club on Saturday night that will benefit the ACLU.
“As the tenor of the country has changed over the past year, we’ve seen the growth of comedy as a truth-teller, and protector of [the] first amendment,” says Chamberlain. “We want to support causes that matter to us.” And, yes, Nasty Women is a dig at the 45th president. Joining Notaro will be Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson of the Guys We F@#ked podcast, among others.
Another new addition to the schedule is a local comedy showcase hosted by Chris Porter, on Friday at Zappos Chamber. (Zappos is the festival’s inaugural sponsor, and the plaza in the Zappos headquarters will be a “party zone” throughout the event.) The Nevadan talent on display will include Jozalyn Sharp, Bobby Wayne Stauts and Brandon “Gooch” Hahn.
Dave Attell will headline Thursday, also at Zappos Chamber, but fans coming to see him—or Notaro, or Bert Kreischer, who anchors the Friday lineup—will also have the opportunities to see dozens of other powerhouse comedians at shows with names like “NSFW in DTLV” and “Brains at the Beauty Bar.”
“I mean, you can see Michelle Buteau and Aparna Nancherla for $20,” Chamberlain says, sounding star-struck. “We’re bringing talent who have never played Vegas before. You’re being exposed to things you wouldn’t normally see.”
Crapshoot Comedy Festival
May 18–20, times and prices vary, find the full line-up at crapshootcomedyfestival.com