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NC Comedy Arts Festival Celebrates 15th Anniversary

From Press Release: 

Returning this February is the 15th annual North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival(NCCAF), which showcases performances in stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy. With acts coming in from all over the country, NCCAF is the largest festival of its kind in the southern United States. The 15th annual NC Comedy Arts Festival will run from February 3rd through February 15th at venues in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham, North Carolina. Ticket, venue, and scheduling information can be found online at

Helping to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the festival will be nationally recognized and critically acclaimed stand-up comedian Maria Bamford, presented in partnership with Carolina Theatre of Durham.

Other headlining acts for the festival include veteran stand-up comedian Emo Philips, RISK! Podcast with Kevin Allison, and founder of the world-renowned iO Theater in Chicago, Charna Halpern. Along with featured performers traveling from all over the country (and Canada), NCCAF will include a slate of special home-grown programs.

On February 3rd, the festival will kick off with the adult Spelling Bee co-sponsored by Flyleaf Books and UNC Humanities. On February 7th will be the 4th annual NC Laughter Championship. We Cause Scenes (film) will be screened on Friday February 13th at 3:00 p.m.

Helping to close out the festival on February 15th will be the 8th Annual Carolina’s Funniest Comic Competition, produced for the second year in association with Alchemy Comedy Theater from Greenville, South Carolina.

“This festival started simply as a college improv weekend in 2001, with under 30 performers in one venue on campus at UNC Chapel Hill, explains founder Zach Ward. “But then someone asked when we were planning to schedule the 2002 festival and the rest was history. We worked hard, played hard, and grew exponentially those first five years, spinning off festivals all over the country founded by Dirty South alum, and the festival you see today and the comedy scene in NC has been expanding ever since.”

About NCCAF In 2001, Dirty South Improv (DSI) produced the first North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival to give audiences and students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the chance to experience workshops in the art of Chicago-style improvisation.

Now, 14 years later the festival has rapidly become one of the largest comedy festivals in the nation. As it continues to grow, the festival now features talent that has been seen on the small screen on Saturday Night Live, MTV, Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central, and on stages at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and Second City. As the festival grew, DSI presented professional performances in Chicago and New York and created a college touring company.

In 2005, the festival saw the opening of the DSI Comedy Theater, an 80-seat venue in North Carolina and the new home for shows and the DSI Comedy School. In 2014, NCCAF will celebrate its 15th anniversary with 13 straight days of shows in DSI's new 150-seat theater located on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill and partnerships with venues in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham.

The festival itself has attracted instructors in improv, sketch and stand-up comedy including: Eddie Brill, Charna Halpern, Kevin Allison, Asaf Ronen, Jeff Griggs, Curtis Gwinn, Eric Hunicutt, Anthony King and Jill Bernard.

From the DSI Comedy School and DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill, NC to its productions in Chicago, and professional Touring Company, the Dirty South name has spread around the country, drawing audiences, performers and world-renowned teaching staff to its annual comedy festival year after year.

For more information on the NCCAF, visit

For more information on DSI Comedy Theater, visit