The Biggest and Most Inclusive Comedy Festival Ever

While the world was put on pause due to the pandemic, something amazing was brewing at Netflix. A brand new comedy festival, the first of its kind, was in the works and now it’s ready for the world to Laugh Out Loud!

Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival is a comedy festival happening now in Los Angeles with some of the biggest names in comedy. Spanning over eleven days, from legends to hand-picked rising stars, Netflix has a side-splitting lineup that celebrates the magic of comedy in some of the most iconic venues in L.A.

Among the great acts are Wanda Sykes, Nicole Byer, Seth Rogen, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Aziz Ansari, and Chelsea Handler

The line-up of entertainment also honors the diversity the streaming service exemplifies. Netflix is a Joke is amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ artists and performers of color. With events like drag branches featuring Alaska Thunderfuck and Willam and musical performances by some of the industry’s most talented people, there is something for everyone looking to tap into their funny bone in new and interesting ways.

STAND OUT: An LGBTQ+ Celebration is one of the festival’s biggest nights! Hosted by Billy Eichner, this event will be a historic celebration with performances of the best in LGBTQ+ Comedy. Legends, headliners, and emerging talent will perform at The Greek Theatre for an unforgettable queer stand-up event. You’re not gonna wanna miss this iconic once in a lifetime event. Headliners include: Eddie Izzard, Margaret Cho, Sandra Bernhard, Tig Notaro, Wanda Sykes, and Rosie O’Donnell. The event will also feature: Solomon Georgio, Sam Jay, River Butcher, Patti Harrison, Matteo Lane, Marsha Warfield, Mae Martin, Judy Gold, Joel Kim Booster, James Adomian, Guy Branum, Gina Yashere, Bob the Drag Queen, Trixie Mattel, Scott Thompson, and Todd Glass.

Netflix

The full line-up of all performances can be found at netflixisajokefest.com 

To get our laugh boxes revved up, Instinct got in touch with some of the featured performers of the inaugural Netflix is a Joke festival. We asked Eliot Glazer, Robin Tran, Margaret Cho, Bob the Drag Queen, and Tolliver some of the questions fans always want to know.

Here’s what they said:


Eliot Glazer

May 5 – Elliot Glazer, The Bourbon Room 

Courtesy Netflix

What’s one of your all-time favorite jokes/stories?

Tig Notaro’s story about repeatedly running into Taylor Dayne. Her ability to casually descend into chaotic absurdity is prodigal.

Who are some of your comedic icons?

Bea Arthur, The State, Judy Gold, Sandra Bernhard, Tig Notaro, David Cross, Howard Stern, Tina Fey, Tim & Eric, Jamie Demetriou, Tig Notaro, Unitard Comedy

What is the most important thing you feel has contributed to the evolution of comedy?

Probably the internet allowing comedians the ability to publicly express themselves without being contained to traditional stand-up comedy.

What is your mission as a storyteller?

I’m not looking to complete a mission as much as I’d like to just be able to like…tickle? Delight? If I can make the audience leave feeling better than when they entered, that’s enough.

How does it feel to be a part of the Netflix is a Joke lineup?

I’m excited and grateful to be part of the first festival, but it’s never going to keep me from living for a Lilyhammer reference. I still have no idea what the show is about… but you look at that poster and you know EXACTLY what the show’s about. JUSTICE FOR LILYHAMMER!


Robin Tran

May 5 – Robin Tran, The Elysian Theater 

Courtesy Netflix

What’s one of your all-time favorite jokes/stories? 

My favorite joke I’ve ever told onstage was a Roast Battle against my friend Keith Carey. In 2012 at a random open mic, he briefly opened up about how he was supposed to be on one of the planes that was used on the September 11 attacks. Five years later, I was scheduled to Roast Battle him, and thought that if I could write a joke about that, it would be the loudest reaction I’ve ever gotten onstage. 

After figuring out the wording, which took days because there was so much information to convey in very few words, I got the joke, which was just a long way to go for a joke about his weight: “On 9/11, Keith missed a flight that crashed into the World Trade Center, which means he is personally responsible for killing the two people who took his seat.”

Who are some of your comedic icons? 

A lot of them have been cancelled! But I draw inspiration from a lot of different places. My dad used to be a comedian. Chris Rock was the first comedian I saw on TV (Bigger and Blacker) that made me wanna do this one day. I’m influenced by shows like I Love Lucy and Married with Children, Roast Battles, and professional wrestling heels (villains) because I think mean/roasting comedy is the funniest thing in the world.

What is the most important thing you feel has contributed to the evolution of comedy? I think social media has been great for it, though a lot of comedians disagree or actively fight against it. I think people who aren’t in the industry, who make memes and TikTok videos, have some of the funniest content in the entire world. I think a lot of comedians find it unsettling because it’s decentralized, but I love it. I don’t have to find humor in just standup. I just like laughing. Nothing was funnier to me in 2020 than memes during the presidential election about states counting their votes too slowly.

What is your mission as a storyteller?

I like to offer my own perspective and my own inner monologue of how I felt about incidents I’ve gone through. This requires a lot of introspection and really asking myself WHY this incident is funny, which requires a lot of deconstruction of an event. The biggest compliment to me is when someone tells me that my stories are so specific but feel universal, and I think it’s because I tap into universal feelings we all feel, and the incident is just a backdrop to tap into those universal feelings (jealousy, anger, joy, embarrassment, etc).

How does it feel to be a part of the Netflix is a Joke lineup?

It’s sincerely wonderful, which isn’t necessarily a great thing beforehand because when I’m really looking forward to a big show, my body gets physiologically nervous and falls apart like it’s trying to escape having a bigger life and potential new fame, so I hide away in bed and eat all sorts of bad food. And then after the shows I’m like “wow that was amazing I’m so lucky! Oh my god I’m so grateful!” But we are a week out before the snows and I am very stressed, about to order some fast food on Postmates actually, which means I’m REALLY honored! 


Margaret Cho

May 6 – Margaret Cho, The Wiltern

May 7 – STAND OUT: An LGBTQ+ Celebration, The Greek

Courtesy Netflix

What’s one of your all-time favorite jokes/stories?

I love that my mom would ask “is he THE Gay?”. I don’t know if he’s “THE Gay” but he is a gay. This is still funny to me.

Who are some of your comedic icons?

Joan Rivers, Ali Wong, Wanda Sykes

What is the most important thing you feel has contributed to the evolution of comedy?

People going to see comics like ROCK STARS! Stadium tours and the glorious tradition of mixing comedy and music.

What is your mission as a storyteller?

To bring hope.

How does it feel to be a part of the Netflix is a Joke lineup?

I’m deeply honored to be a part of this amazing festival


Bob the Drag Queen

May 7 – STAND OUT: An LGBTQ+ Celebration, The Greek

May 8 – The Drop in Hosted by Bob the Drag Queen, Outdoors at Hollywood Palladium

Courtesy Netflix

What’s one of your all-time favorite jokes/stories?

I love whenever someone gets a lot of sugar or cream in a coffee and someone goes, “You want a little coffee in your cream?” It’s really silly but at its heart is a very funny joke and I laugh every time i hear it.

Who are some of your comedic icons?

Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes are my favorite comedians!

What is the most important thing you feel has contributed to the evolution of comedy?

I think it’s all at different times. There was a big turn when Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette came out. When Chris Rock did Bigger & Blacker. I feel like there was a big turn when Whoopi Goldberg did her one-woman shows on Broadway. I feel like there was a big turn when The Office came out.

What is your mission as a storyteller?

I just try to find the humor in what makes me laugh and see if people find it funny as well. Sometimes it’s about a bigger thing, sometimes it’s social, sometimes it’s political, and sometimes it’s just a really funny story about me pissing myself on stage. 

How does it feel to be a part of the Netflix is a Joke lineup?

It is interesting. I have never done 7 minutes on stage in a very long time. It feels like a stepping stone in my career. For me it feels appropriate for where I am in my career. I do think there are some comedians in this who are further along and I think it’s a great celebration and conversation about queer people in comedy.


Tolliver

May 8 – Tolliver, Outdoors at Hollywood Palladium

Courtesy Netflix

What’s one of your all-time favorite jokes/stories?

Corie Johnson is one of my favorite standups walking, and she has a joke where her dad takes her to a doctor in Venice and the doctor asks her dad’s permission before he puts a finger in her butt. It crushes me every goddamn time. What a gem she is.

Who are some of your comedic icons?

I came up with Beth Stelling in Chicago, and she’s out here killing it. TALENT…hunny! Hannibal Burress, Key and Peele, the Wayans and every gay comic I’ve ever seen.

What is the most important thing you feel has contributed to the evolution of comedy?

RAPID FIRE INFORMATION aka the information superhighway aka Twitter, basically. Also I was at one point known for making Tik Toks fast as SHIT after a major news event. But then the kids bullied me off the app. One girl earnestly said I look like her grandfather…didn’t even mean it as an insult. But it was time for me to leave.

What is your mission as a storyteller?

I’m very open about sex and half the world HATES my hair (mostly aunties) and I’ve been evicted 1.5 times and I feel like there isn’t much that’s off-limits. I want other people to feel that way. Just do you, playette!

How does it feel to be a part of the Netflix is a Joke lineup?

Feels freaking incredible. I was straight up about to just go and support my gay homosexual friends at their sets, and now I’m performing my damn self. Too blessed to be stressed!


Get your tickets to Netflix is a Joke: The Festival at netflixisajokefest.com 

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