Saturday, 17 November 2018

Accidental Comedy Fest bringing Jim Tews, other funny folks to Cleveland

Accidental Comedy Fest bringing Jim Tews, other funny folks to Cleveland
19 Sep

Drowning out the roar of planes taking part in the Cleveland National Air Show during Labor Day Weekend will be the laughter emanating from the Accidental Comedy Fest. The seventh annual comedy festival takes place Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 at both the Hilarities 4th Street Theatre and the Frolic Cabaret venues.

One of the national headlining acts, appearing Aug. 30 at the Frolic Cabaret, is comedian Jim Tews, who spent a decade in Northeast Ohio before moving in 2011 to New York City.

“Around 2000, I got stationed in Cleveland when I was in the Coast Guard,” said Tews, calling from Queens. “I started stand-up in the last six months of enlistment. Afterwards, I stayed in Cleveland.

“I figured, if I’m pursuing comedy, I might as well get a degree in something that leaves me with a little safety net and is somewhat related. So I graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in film.”

Considering Tews came from Allentown, Pennsylvania, he found a similar Rust Belt mentality in the area that actually played a key role at the beginning of his stand-up career.

“Between Cleveland and Allentown, it’s very blue-collar,” said Tews, who lived in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood and Lakewood. “It’s, like, find a way to make this work and maybe just not being focused on the getting lucky part of it, but more focused on the working at it part.

“Like, my dad is a cop, and my mom an insurance adjuster. Trying to explain to them comedy is how I hoped to be making a living, they said, ‘Well, act like it. Go out, work at it and wake up every day and put something into it.’ That definitely helped.”

As for the Accidental Comedy Fest, Tews has performed every year. The funnyman, who cited storyteller comedians such as Dave Attell and Jim Gaffigan as influences, isn’t surprised to see Lorain native and Accidental Comedy founder Ramon Rivas II’s festival grow over the better part of the last decade.

“I’m delighted by it,” said Tews, who directed 2015 feature-length documentary ‘Make Fun,’ about Cleveland’s independent comedy scene. “I think Cleveland has always been a good place to do comedy. That was the case even when I started. It’s just been cool to see that it actually has grown.

“It seemed like every year there were more little shows and more comics popping up that were trying new things. And Cleveland is good at supporting its own, for sure.”

The upcoming Accidental Comedy Fest lineup features national acts Doug Benson’s “Doug Loves Movies” podcast, Liza Treyger, Clayton English, Joyelle Johnson, Sean Patton, Deb DiGiovanni, Billy Wayne Davis, Jermaine Fowler, Nore Davis, Felonious Munk, Ryan Dalton, Amy Miller, Stavros Halkias and Nick Mullen.

Cleveland-based comics appearing at the Accidental Comedy Fest include Mike Polk Jr., Bill Squire, Juanda Mayfield, Joshua Morrow, John Bruton, Cody Cooper, Jimmie Graham, Mary Santora and Martin Malloy.

Over the last decade, Tews has watched his own career grow. Not only is the “Last Comic Standing” veteran a regular on the touring comedy circuit, but he’s also a published author with New York Times Bestseller “Felines of New York.”

Earlier this year, Tews garnered national attention when he created an animated video for Weezer song “Happy Hour.” The entire experience happened on a lark after Rivers Cuomo, via Twitter, requested ideas for the band’s new song. Eventually Tews finished the animated video, which Weezer tweeted out from their official Twitter.

“It got some pretty good views and was really cool because Rivers followed me on Twitter,” Tews said. “The band also hooked me up with concert tickets a couple of weeks ago. It’s like a weird and strange connection to my favorite band and a really cool credit.”

At the very least, Tews’ parents had to be happy he was using his college education.

“More than proud — they’re probably surprised,” Tews laughed. “Like, ‘Oh, that worked?’”

Accidental Comedy Fest

When: Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 (times vary).

Where: Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, Cleveland.

Tickets: $10 to $20.

Info: 216-736-4242 or

Don’t miss

>> Steven Dietz’s ‘Bloomsday’ in full blossom at Akron’s none too fragile | Theater review

>> In solid post-Holocaust drama ‘Operation Finale,’ Kingsley and Isaac are riveting | Movie review



« »


Related Articles