Festival preview: Brew Ha Ha

From the July 12, 2012 edition

For the past three years, Shadowbox Live has hosted sketch comedy troupes from around the country for its Sketch Comedy Competition. This year Shadowbox is partnering with other Brewery District businesses to expand the event and add stand-up comedy, live music and beer tastings. The Brewery District will be a veritable playground for adults during Brew Ha Ha’s debut.

“Just a slew of events are going on each day. It’s going to be crazy,” said Nikki Fagin, Shadowbox Live’s spokeswoman.

The centerpiece is still the Sketch Comedy Competition, hosted and judged by “Saturday Night Live” veteran and current “2 Broke Girls” cast member Garrett Morris, on Shadowbox’s main stage. Four sketch troupes perform each of the first two nights from 7-9 p.m. All sketch troupes at the festival will take the stage Wednesday night.

Following the sketch comedy performances, headlining stand-up comedians Michael Kent, Hamell on Trial and Drew Hastings will perform on the main stage. And before and after the competition local comedians (and two from Cincinnati on Tuesday) will be showcased on the Backstage Bistro stage.

On Monday and Wednesday sketch troupes will also perform at Via Vecchia winery, and on Tuesday evening the winery will host eight local stand-up acts.

Stand-up comic Justin Golak — who’s hosting the Via Vecchia show and opening for Hastings — organized the local comedians for Brew Ha Ha. He said he’s excited that the lineup at Via Vecchia serves as a showcase for some of Columbus’ best comedians.

Rounding out the three-day hullabaloo is live music each night at Brewmaster’s Gate, Claddagh, The Patio, Victory’s and World of Beer. And local breweries will offer beer on The Patio (outside of 500 S. Front St.) each night.

Garrett Morris