Welcome to a whirlwind of wit—the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival! An annual event that tickles the ribs of its attendees with relentless hilarity, this festival has grown into a cornerstone of the comedy circuit in the heart of Pittsburgh. It’s not just a series of shows; it’s a celebration of laughter that brings together comedy aficionados from all walks of life.

If you’re planning to immerse yourself in the comedic arts or simply looking to add a spark of joy to your routine, here’s why the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival should be marked in bold on your calendar.

Pittsburgh Comedy Festival provides information about their event including festival dates, headliners, schedules, ticket purchasing options, workshops, and planning for your visit. It also has sections for sponsors, opportunities to donate or volunteer, and contact details. Additionally, the site highlights its affiliations and sponsorships, such as being a project of Comedy Arts Pittsburgh and having fiscal sponsorship from Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.


History and Evolution

The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival didn’t spring from thin air; it was born out of a passionate desire to spotlight the pulsating heart of Pittsburgh’s comedic talent. What began as a modest gathering in a local community center has blossomed into an uproarious event that attracts some of the nation’s top comedians and countless laughter lovers.

From its humble beginnings in the early 2000s, the festival has metamorphosed, adding layers of complexity and charm with each year. The transition from a small local event to a nationally recognized celebration is a testament to the dedication and zest of its organizers. Initially featuring mainly local stand-up comedians, to see Gabriel Iglesias tour 2024, the festival now boasts a medley of performances including improv troupes, sketch comedy groups, and solo acts that shine a spotlight on both seasoned veterans and gleaming new talents.

The festival’s evolution mirrors the transformation of Pittsburgh itself—from a steel-centric powerhouse to a vibrant cultural hub. Each year, the festival’s growth attracts more visitors, which in turn fuels its expansion, creating a cycle of success that propels it into new realms of comedic exploration.

This year marks yet another chapter in its storied history, promising to offer more diversity in comedy than ever before. With a lineup that’s as varied as it is vibrant, the festival stands as a beacon for the art of comedy, continuing to draw laughs and lovers of good humor from across the nation.


Comedy Arts Pittsburgh (CAP) is pleased to report that W. Kamau Bell and North Coast Presents: ANYBODY will headline the fourth annual Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (PCF). They will each will headline two primetime shows during the festival, which will feature more than 40 local and national comedy acts, including family-friendly programming.

The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival brings together stand-ups and improvisers in a four-day celebration of all things funny. Our goal is to expose Pittsburgh to the art of comedy while we expand and engage our community of performers. That means informative workshops, programming for comedians and comedy fans young and old, and best of all, fantastic shows in the intimate setting of the Henry Heymann Theater.

What to Expect at This Year’s Festival

Prepare yourself for a symphony of smiles and a cacophony of chuckles at this year’s Pittsburgh Comedy Festival! 🎭 As the curtains rise, the stage is set for an unforgettable blend of comedy styles and talents. Whether you’re a fan of sharp stand-up, whimsical improv, or carefully crafted sketch comedy, there’s something here to tickle your funny bone.

This year’s lineup includes an eclectic mix of famous faces and fresh finds. Headliners this year are not just seasoned pros but also include breakout stars from popular comedy podcasts and viral internet sensations. Their performances are more than just shows; they are vivid canvases painted with the broad brushes of their unique comedic voices.

Amidst the laughter, look forward to engaging with the comedians through Q&A sessions, meet-and-greets, and even surprise drop-in sets. These interactions often lead to spontaneous bursts of unscripted comedy, turning the festival into a hotbed of creative experimentation and audience participation. Be prepared; the thrill of live comedy lies in its unpredictable nature—you never know when a simple audience shout-out becomes the centerpiece of an act!

Moreover, this year’s festival makes a concerted effort to shine a light on diversity with shows dedicated to various themes and communities, ensuring that laughter is universal and inclusive. Whether it’s a night highlighting female comedians, LGBTQ+ performances, or comedy that spans cultural boundaries, there’s a place here for everyone’s voice and laughter.

With a lineup as diverse as the city itself, this festival promises to be a melting pot of hilarity, insight, and entertainment. So, grab your tickets, hold onto your seats, and get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions!

What to Consider

The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival (PCF) was the first of its kind in Western Pennsylvania. The event brought stand-up and improv acts from across the nation to Pittsburgh’s growing comedy community. In addition to generating comedy buzz about Pittsburgh, the festival supported artistic growth by offering talks, workshops, and programming that delighted artists and audiences of all ages.

The festival featured performances by festival headliner Judah Friedlander, improv headliners Cackowski & Talarico, a Kids’ Comedy Cabaret, and over 30 other acts from around the country. These performers entertained more than 1000 attendees over the course of three days!

Here is some of the feedback we received from performers and festival attendees:

“This was my first comedy show, and I never really had much interest in stand-up before, but now I’d like to make it a point in my life to see more comedians live.”

“First time in this city and I LOVE IT!!!”

“Great job! I’ve been to a lot of festivals, and this was wonderful!”

“The crowd. The stage. The publicity. The experience.”

“The people. The gorgeous stage.”

“Thank you for your dedication and for the sacrifices you all made which made this festival top-notch.”

“Our family really enjoyed every part of this! Our 11 year-old son is celebrating one year of being cancer-free today, and this was a great way to do it! Thank you!”

PCF is a project of Comedy Arts Pittsburgh (CAP)–an arts organization founded to raise the profile of comedy as a performing art in Pittsburgh and to raise Pittsburgh’s profile nationally. Using comedy as a universal language, CAP partners with artists, public and private organizations to promote comedy and the life skills it imparts.

Venues and Atmosphere

The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival dances across several stages, each with its own unique flair and vibe, catering to the eclectic tastes of its audience. The primary venue, the historic Liberty Theater, boasts ornate decor and a grand stage that has hosted legends of laughter for decades. Its walls, steeped in comedic history, create an intimate yet expansive setting that amplifies every punchline and whispered aside.

For those who prefer a more interactive experience, the downtown Comedy Hub offers a cozier atmosphere. Here, smaller crowds gather for up-close performances in a setting that feels like a friend’s living room—if your friend’s living room were equipped with a professional sound system and served craft cocktails! 🍹

Each venue is more than just a backdrop; it’s an active participant in the festival. The Liberty Theater, with its sweeping curtains and dramatic lighting, tends to host the festival’s marquee events and headliner acts, providing a touch of grandeur to the evenings. Meanwhile, the Comedy Hub often features experimental and improv comedy, where the line between performer and spectator blurs, creating a symphony of interactive spontaneity.

The atmosphere of the festival is electric, charged with anticipation and punctuated by bursts of laughter. Audience members come ready to be entertained, often leaving with cheeks sore from smiling and spirits lifted from laughter. The communal experience of shared humor fosters a sense of connection, making each performance not just a show, but a shared moment of joy.