After four wildly successful years, it looked like the Columbus Comedy Festival at Wild Goose Creative was no more. The festival - a three-night collection presenting Columbus' funniest in standup, improv, sketch, storytelling and really anything hilarious - had been regularly held in April, but previous organizers couldn't dedicate the time to make it happen this year. Once word got around, a new group stepped up, because the show must go on - just later in the year.

After four wildly successful years, it looked like the Columbus Comedy Festival at Wild Goose Creative was no more. The festival — a three-night collection presenting Columbus’ funniest in standup, improv, sketch, storytelling and really anything hilarious — had been regularly held in April, but previous organizers couldn’t dedicate the time to make it happen this year. Once word got around, a new group stepped up, because the show must go on — just later in the year.

“It needs to happen. It’s one of the best things we put on, as far as representing the talent the city has,” said co-organizer Dustin Meadows during an interview at his north campus apartment with others involved in this year’s festival.

Meadows joined with fellow standup comic Mike Myers and president of Wild Goose’s board of directors Sarah Fulmer to put together the latest incarnation of the Columbus Comedy Festival.

“There was a lot of momentum having the festival the last four years, and it just seemed a tragedy to not have it again,” said Fulmer, who will participate in Speak Easy, the storytelling portion of the festival. “It’s a really great way to showcase not only what happens at Wild Goose, but outwardly in all of Columbus. There are different audiences that follow standup, improv and [Wild Goose’s monthly sketch comedy night] Monday Night Live. To get them all in the same space is just really cool. I wanted to make sure I was part of it.”

Myers, a comic who gets to the point with deadpan aplomb, reiterated Meadows and Fulmer’s sentiments with brevity, and captured the true spirit of the festival.

“It’s packed crowds, and they’re all there for comedy. It’s just awesome, and I really can’t describe it any other way,” Myers said.

Each night features two hours of standup; one hour in the middle of the event with shorter sets, and another hour closing each night with 20-minute sets from some of Columbus’ funniest standup veterans. Each night will have improv, live and video sketch comedy and storytelling interspersed with the standup.

“It’s a culmination of all the audiences [that attend] Wild Goose. It’s a good way to make them aware of other shows that happen at Wild Goose,” Danny Stratton said. “I’ve been doing standup four years and easily, far and away, the two best sets I’ve ever had were at the Columbus Comedy Festival.”

There are two new elements this year in “Struck a Nerve” and “Out to Lunch.” “Struck a Nerve” is Meadows’ brainchild; pop culture-based digressions that he describes as “anything but standup,” and will feature the “best of” from 2014 shows. The “Out to Lunch” portion will be a live podcast hosted by Alex Moore and Kyle Tolliver that features standup comics and improv/sketch character humor.

Tickets for the Columbus Comedy Festival are $10 each night — cash only — and three-night passes are available for $25 at the opening Thursday. A different food truck will provide eats each night, and the festival is BYOB.

Photos by Maddie McGarvey