Cape Fear Comedy Festival is turning 10 years old in 2019. To celebrate, they’re bringing 48 comedians to Dead Crow Comedy Room, Waterline Brewing and Bombers Beverage Company from May 8 through 12.
Aimee Elfers and the Dead Crow Comedy Room review panel decided to book fewer comedians and scale down the event to only three venues. They had just under 400 submissions for 2019. “We feel it will lend to a more intimate experience, to allow each performer more time on stage,” Elfers says.
Yet, paring down the shows didn’t really come easy. The panel had to watch submission tapes multiple times to often decide who would make the cut. “We look for more than just funny jokes—we like to see a polished set, fresh ideas, and great stage presence,” Elfers tells.
The sets are 8 to 12 minutes each, with comedians bringing their unique style, energy and cadence to the stage. Returning as one of three headliners will be Maria Bamford performing two shows on May 12 at Dead Crow ($35). Bamford performed at the inaugural Cape Fear Comedy Fest and will bring back her self-deprecating humor and insight about living with a dysfunctional family.
Matt Fulchiron (Ful-SHRON)—known as “The Full Charge,” based on his podcast “The Full Charge Power Hour” (and the mispronunciation of his name by a kid years ago)—focuses a lot on relationships, marijuana as medicine, and the joys of sleeping on a bed over an air mattress. Fulchiron will perform at Waterline on May 9, and best of all it’s free!
On May 10 Robert Dean will take over Waterline for two shows as well ($8). Dean’s delivery has been honed since the ripe age of 13, when he first fell in love with comedy.
“After five years of saying I wanted to be a comedian, I first performed when I was 18 and have just been performing since,” he tells encore. “The only dream career I had before was to be a professional basketball player. I was neither good nor practiced.”
In fact, he credits one of his heroes as his 8th grade basketball coach. And Dean didn’t even make the team.
“He saw my potential—not as a basketball player but as a towel boy,” Dean quips. “His name was Richard Seaman, but he went by Dick. I owe everything to Dick Seaman, for putting me on the right path. I will always be Dick Seaman’s towel boy.”
Dean oftentimes sees the askew in everyday situations and finds the funny in the mundane—like watching pigeons fuck in New York. It’s a bit Dean did in “Never Have I Ever Comedy Hour” back in April.
“The mating process is great to watch,” he reveals. “The male pigeon puffs out his chest and chases the female pigeon around. And nine times out of 10, the female pigeon flies away. And you get to watch the male pigeon deflate. It’s so beautiful.”
Though now traveling countrywide with his observational humor, Dean first tested his material to his teenage peers during a high-school open-mic. “I received a standing ovation,” he notes. “I don’t think it was sarcastic. It was my first time performing and I got a standing O. I have not gotten another since. Hoping for my second one maybe this weekend.”
Dean is constantly working to find new ideas relatable to an audience. His process is to write and rewrite, think on life experiences, and just test it. While it may seem daunting to the everyday person, Dean calls it one of the most exciting aspects of his job.
“I’ve recently written material about becoming an uncle because I recently became an uncle,” he explains. “I write what I think is funny, audiences tell me what they enjoy in those bits from laughing, then I edit and rewrite and try again—adding new jokes as I discover more elements to this new uncle persona I’m trying. . . . New material working is the greatest feeling.”
The Cape Fear Comedy Fest schedule will feature multiple showcases and locals. “Eight Wilmington-based comedians were invited to perform, along with a few that have moved far away (Charlie Dawson and Lydia Manning), for example, got their starts in Wilmington,” Elfers says. More so, it’s great therapy, according to the general manager. “Comedy is a way to laugh off life’s stresses and challenges, and I love we are able to provide that.”