The Plano Comedy Festival recently announced its official 2020 lineup for the Plano Virtual Comedy Festival 2.5, packed with celebrity headliners and comedy juggernauts like Laurie Kilmartin from Conan on TBS and NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Karith Foster from Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, and Kurt Braunohler of Bob’s Burgers and The Big Sick.

The event will be held Oct. 1-4, 2020 on Zoom. It’s their third annual festival, and the first to be transitioned to a digital platform because of the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Still, despite its new venue, Plano Comedy Festival is going to be a big show, with 17 comedy shows in 4 days including a comedy brunch, a free family friendly comedy show and roast battle. There will also be workshops with comedy greats, Dean Lewis of the Stand-Up Workshop and Daryl Felsberg of Tower City Comedy. New shows this year feature sketch, alternative, and musical comedy acts.

It’s a change of pace for participants, but a welcome one. Anna Barden, a local comedian who has been performing in the DFW area for two years, says she is excited. She hasn’t gone out to perform or watch shows in person since the outbreak started, and has only done virtual shows on Facebook Live.

“The feedback has been great, but it’s really weird to not hear live, audible reactions,” Barden says. “Verbal reactions obviously fuel every performer, so you just have to trust that the Facebook laugh reacts are true.”

During the Plano Comedy Festival, she is going to have three performances. One is her regular set, another will be an alternative comedy set — where she reads her diary — and she will also participate in the roast battle.

The comedy scene in Plano is mellow compared to bigger cities such as Dallas, in her experience. Unfortunately, during the COVID-10 pandemic they have lost some of the most iconic local comedy venues, like Dallas Comedy House, where she got her start, and Hyena’s Plano. The comedic community is ready for a chance to gather, even virtually, and do what they love.

“This virtual festival is organized by some of the best in the biz, and I trust the producers with my life (on stage at least) so I’m really excited to see how it all unfolds,” Barden says.

Feature celebrity headliners include:

Laurie Kilmartin (Conan on TBS, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Karith Foster (Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Steve Hofstetter (Laughs on Fox, CBS’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Showtime’s White Boyz in the Hood) Roxxy Haze (YouTube, Vibe, CBS Radio), Mary E. Kennedy (Showtime’s Shameless, Conan on TBS, Boston Comedy Festival), Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, The Big Sick) and The Comedy Arena home of ComedySportz (Plano Comedy Festival) along with over 100 of the funniest nationally known and up and coming stand-up, improv, sketch, and musical comedians from all over the world.

Musical entertainment will be provided by DJ Alexx, and there will be after parties each night of the fest hosted by The Comedy Arena and Folding Chairs Comedy Troupe with game shows, karaoke, prizes, and more.

Plano Comedy Festival

When: Oct. 1-4, 2020

Where: Zoom

Tickets: Tickets for individual shows, Day Passes, and VIP All Access Passes are on sale now:

More: Stay up to date with the latest information about the Plano Comedy Festival such as the 2020 festival lineup, tickets, schedule, performer bios, photos and more via the official Plano Comedy Festival website