Chicago Comedy Fest lined up


NEW YORK -- Film and TV producers Jason Brett and John Davies will put on the Chicago Comedy Fest at the Windy City's Navy Pier in the fall with National Lampoon, James Belushi, Julia Louis Dreyfus and some other big comedy names as partners.

The announcement Tuesday came a week after TBS and Just for Laughs unveiled a new five-day comedy event for Chicago, called "Just for Laughs: A Very Funny Festival," set to debut in early summer 2009. The festival veterans count the famed Second City comedy troupe among its partners.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Comedy Fest is set for three days, which the two organizers ("About Last Night," "Run's House," "Comic Relief Presents") said will feature more than 100 performers, two broadcast specials to be taped live, a comedy film series event in partnership with National Lampoon and a gala honoring a major comedy star with a "Midlife-Time" Achievement Award.

The event will shine the spotlight on various comedy genres -- from stand-up and sketch to musical satire and improvisation. The Pier will have three stages, with headliners to be announced later.

However, the CCF's advisory board already includes such Chicago comedy luminaries as Belushi, Louis Dreyfus, Brad Hall, Tim Kazurinsky, Bernadette Birkett, Richard Kind, Tim Meadows, Harold Ramis and George Wendt.

After two years of developing the event, Brett said: "This is our way of honoring our city's comedy community and giving it the spotlight we feel it so richly deserves."

The Pier's City Stage will feature edgier comedians from Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam, Comic View, Wild 'n Out and Showtime's Latin Comedy AllStars. The Alternative Stage will shine the spotlight on Chicago comedians.