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Comedy fest to come back to Columbus

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The Short North Arts District is a destination for food, drink and shopping. Starting Thursday, it will also offer jokes and laughter.

The Arch City Comedy Festival returns for its second year this Thursday through Saturday.

The three-day event set to feature about 40 stand-up comics from across the country in various locations in the Short North.

The festival debuted last year when producers Mat Alano-Martin and Natalie Heflin both felt that Columbus would be a great city to host a comedy festival.

Rhea Butcher headlines the Arch City Comedy Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Natalie Heflin

Rhea Butcher headlines the Arch City Comedy Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Natalie Heflin

“This festival contributes a different type of festival to the Short North and Columbus in general,” Heflin said. “We structure and select talent for the festival so it’s different and intriguing to Columbus. This festival exposes Columbus to talent they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”

The festival is named in honor of the arches that line the Short North and will fill four stages in the district. The Garden Theater (1187 N. High St.) will lend its main stage and adjoining Green Room and Ethel’s Stage Lounge spaces, and Barrell on High (1120 N. High St.) is also set to host performances a block south.

“We wanted to keep all performance spaces within walking distance so it’s very easy on our guests,” Heflin said. “These venues have been wonderful to work with and such creative performing spaces.”

The 40-performer roster including headliners Tim Northern, Rhea Butcher and Ryan Singer. Columbus-based comic Brooke Cartus and Travis Irvine, who splits his time between Ohio and New York, are also set to take the stage.

“We are really excited about this year’s headliners and features, as it’s a very diverse lineup with many different styles,” Heflin said. “We are really fortunate to have such great headliners and features for year two.”

Fifth-year in physical therapy at Ohio State, Georgia Barnes will be one of the stand-up comics featured in the festival. Her stand-up comedy career began when she started performing at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe near campus. She is now president of the Buckeye Standup Comedy Club, which hosts regular shows throughout the year.

Barnes describes her style as “observational absurdist,” and said that she likes to say insane things.

Georgia Barnes performing stand-up comedy. Credit: Courtesy of Georgia Barnes

Georgia Barnes performing stand-up comedy. Credit: Courtesy of Georgia Barnes

“I’m a female comic that doesn’t talk too much about being female,” Barnes said about what makes her comedy stand out.

Heflin expressed her excitement to have Barnes involved.

“We are thrilled to have Georgia part of this year’s comedy festival,” Heflin said. “She has really laid back deadpan delivery that is sure to be a favorite of the festival. (It’s a) very unique and different style that we’re looking forward to.”

Barnes said she thinks Columbus is  good fit for a comedy festival.

“Columbus is a great city for comedy,” she said.

Single show tickets will cost $15, with multi-day passes and VIP passes also available.

A complete schedule is available at the Arch City Comedy Festival website.

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