Saturday was the last night of the 2009 Charleston Comedy Festival, and it was a little bittersweet. The faithful were losing steam after nightly afterparties, some lasting til 4 or 5 a.m. Volunteers were tired, and the comedians had to be feeling it too. But it didn’t show in the acts I saw. (P.S. Please forgive the pictures’ sizing – I’ll fix tomorrow.)

[image-1]I started out the night with Roseville: A Suspenseful Comedy, which sadly was probably one of the most overlooked shows of the festival. We could maybe blame it on the name or the hard-to-find venue (Lance Hall), but the place was less than half filled during both performances. Folks really missed out. Jet Eveleth and Brendan Jennings (also of Cook County Social Club) presented a wide variety of scenes and characters that came together beautifully in the end. My favorite part of the show was watching the characters’ transformations between scenes, along with the intense physical comedy they used (Eveleth’s clown training showed). My least favorite part? When Jennings came off the stage and decided to include my friend and I in the act. Can we say worst nightmare? Still, it was hilarious and a bit of a refreshing change from the other improv-centric acts.

[image-2]

[image-3]After the show I rushed up King Street to the Ballet Theatre to catch Hot Sauce. But the Buffoons went well over their time, and by the time the audience got out, the lobby was packed with a rowdy bunch who parted, creating a path for the audience, cheering every last one of them on their way out the door. Everybody’s a comedian. NYC-based Hot Sauce started out by interviewing a member of the audience for improv inspiration. Turned out the lady was a native Charlestonian, and she gave the guys plenty of crazy Lowcountry details to work with.

[image-4]We had to leave Hot Sauce early to make it to Theatre 99 for the Finale, which was sold out and then some. Every seat in the house was full, and people sat in the aisles and stood against the walls to get a view of the best show of the fest. Familiar faces were everywhere, with comedians, volunteers, and show-goers coming together for the last event of Comedy Fest 2009. Several groups gave abbreviated performances for the two-hour finale, including Roseville, J. Reid, Jon Steinburg, God’s Pottery, FUCT, Hot Sauce, and I Eat Pandas. After that, Cook County Social Club, Jet Eveleth, the Buffoons, Hot Sauce, and the Have Nots gathered on stage for one last improv jam. They performed well together – better than the previous night’s jam – and it turned out to be some of the best improv of the festival. When the show ended around one, I’m told folks kept the party going at Theatre 99. But this little lady went and got some 1 a.m. dinner at McDonalds and slept til noon.

[image-5]

Final count: 8 shows. And not drinking again for awhile.

Look out tomorrow for a fuller photo gallery.