Thursday night the Comedy Fest ramped up with the first out-of-towners show at the Charleston Ballet Theatre. The place was respectably packed with a ready-to-laugh crowd, and we sat next to Glennis McMurray and Kate Tellers of Disco Balls: Into the Light. (Glennis revealed that she’ll be making an appearance with Tarot Lounge this weekend, in addition to her solo show).

Atlanta’s Village Theatre started us off with an improv “tag journey” a fast-paced set where the four members continuously “tagged” each other out and took each other’s places. Sounds complicated, but the end result was a tight, fast-paced, surprise-filled show, all inspired by an audience member’s suggestion of Henry VIII.

The Shock T’s took the stage next with a handful of hilariously harmonized songs. The Chicago-based trio Tyler Paterson on guitar, Sarah Shockey and Tim Dunn on vocals did a dramatic take on Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” along with songs about a medium with the munchies and a threesome gone awry. This clever group is definitely one of the best we’ve seen so far don’t miss the chance to see them again (with brand-new songs) Friday night at Eye Level Art.

Village Theatre did another short set before Nate Bargatze took the mic for some stand-up. The Nashville-born, New York-based comic has a Comedy Central special slated for February, so we felt lucky to see him in such an intimate venue. He seemed relaxed and comfortable on stage as he talked about myths about New York “They say it’s a melting pot, but really it’s just a bunch of different pots that want to live next to similar pots” and the challenges of marriage. Nate is performing again on Friday at the Pour House.

After the show, most of the performers from the Ballet Theatre and Theatre 99 headed to Mellow for the L’After Party. Other acts, newly arrived in town, showed up to mingle with their comedic colleagues and enjoy the cheap beer and pizza. The madness continues tonight with more acts than you can shake a stick at. Buy your tickets in advance to save money and ensure you get a seat.