Sykes, Izzard, Engvall join Vegas Comedy Fest
EmptyNEW YORK -- Performers added to the lineup of this year's The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas now include Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Bill Engvall, John Oliver, Bill Burr , Marc Maron, Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Kennedy & Nick Swardson, Artie Lange, "The Sopranos" star Steve Schirripa and The Kims of Comedy.
They join previously announced comedy stars Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres at the festival, organized by HBO and AEG Live and scheduled to take place Nov. 14-17.
In a conference call Tuesday, Seinfeld and Rock said they hope comedy will continue going strong despite the current lack of new sitcom break-outs. They also discussed how technology has changed performers' lives.
Rock said he's preparing a brand-new standup show for Vegas, which he called "a work in progress," with Seinfeld saying he feels the standup scene overall is "pretty good."
The two cited such talent as Louis CK, Jim Norton and Katt Williams as strong performers with possible further upside.
"We're hoping there's a future," Seinfeld said when asked about the state of comedy and whether comedians will have to switch into reality TV to survive. "I hope it's not (like we are) Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis here, and this is it."
Discussing the Michael Richards racial slurs episode, Seinfeld said: "When I get up in the morning, I just assume that I'm on TV" given the abundance of cell phones and open access video Web sites. "I tuck my shirt in and try to behave accordingly."
Rock said he was surprised about people's need to record everything. "I can't believe people don't trust their memories anymore," he quipped.
On a more serious note, he remarked that Richards had a bad night when he was recorded uttering racial slurs at a club, which he has put behind him and that he himself would never play any comedy clubs that try to censor or curb any of his material.
Rock also said that thanks to cable TV, audiences feel similar to performers from one city to the next these days. "I played London, and it felt like Atlanta," he said. "It's cable. Everybody gets the same stuff."
But Seinfeld said big festivals like Vegas do manage to have a special atmosphere. "It's fun to play for (real) fans," he explained.
When asked who they would like to see get the annual The Comedian award at TCF, former honorees Seinfeld and Rock agreed on George Wallace.
"The third time is definitely the charm for us," said festival CEO Bob Crestani. "We're definitely a can't-miss-event on the Vegas calendar."
Organizers said Schirripa will host a night of comedy "reminiscent of the days when Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. took to the Vegas stage."
The Kims of Comedy group is comprised of Steve Byrne, who won last year's Sierra Mist Stand Up or Sit Down Challenge at TCF, Bobby Lee, Dr. Ken Jeong and Kevin Shea.
Engvall will host a Blue Collar Comedy show featuring up-and-comers Reno Collier, Jamie Kaler, John Caparulo and Juston () McKinney.
Oliver, Burr and Maron will entertain Vegas audiences with politically themed show "Left, Right and Blue."
TBS is TCF's title sponsor for the third consecutive year.