Cabo Comedy Festival

“Where the Land Ends and the Fun Begins”
BY: ANITA LAF

After inaugurating the first Cabo Comedy Festival in 2013, Hurricane Odile crashed into Cabo in 2014 causing the event to be cancelled for that year. Fortunately, the event returned last week for a five day run. This year’s festival featured a variety of stand-up shows by comedy veterans and newcomers with more than 50 comedians from the U.S. and 20 more comics from Mexico.

Performances started on Thursday night in two locations: Desperados Cantina hosted the English language shows and La Divina had a special series of shows in Spanish hosted by Pinchi Peter and local Cabo comedian Minister Marco. Each night ended in boozy revelry at the after party at Baja Junkie.

Highlights of the festival included the Jack Rollins talent competition, Sirius/XM live recording, the Giant of Comedy award presentation, as well as workshops on the business of the comedy industry for the performers, which was closed to the public. (No sweat, it wasn’t funny anyway.)

The Jack Rollins Breakthrough Talent Competition was on Thursday and Friday nights and showcased 20 new comedians. The top five each night went on to compete in the finals on Saturday night. The competition judges included Hillary Rollins (daughter of Jack Rollins who recently passed away at 100 years old), Claudia Cagan, and Judi Brown-Marmel. The winner of the competition, Ben Morrison, won an appearance on Gotham Comedy Live by AXS TV, held at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City.

Sirius/XM sponsored the Best of the Fest shows on Friday and Saturday night with entertaining performances from a diverse range of comedians including Tiffany Haddish (from the TV series The Carmichael Show), Drew Lynch (runner-up on America’s Got Talent last month), Aida Rodriguez (2014 top 10 finalist in The Last Comic Standing), and Ben Gleib (from The Late Late Show). The Sirius/XM live recordings will run on their comedy channels in the next few months.

The Giant of Comedy award was presented to well-known comedian Elayne Boosler on Saturday night who also congratulated Ben Morrison, the winner of the Jack Rollins Breakthrough Talent Competition. After the award ceremony, festival headliners performed, including comedy industry veteran Ahmed Ahmed, (formerly on the TV series Sullivan & Son). This was watched by Whitney Port, (reality TV star from The City and The Hills), and all of the ladies in her bachelorette party.

The Cabo Comedy Festival is the brainchild of John Zaring whose Zaring Group produces the event with Wind Entertainment, and receives sponsorship from the Los Cabos Convention and Tourism board.

As a special bonus to the local Cabo community, the festival organizers donated some of the proceeds of the event to DIF Los Cabos. DIF is a charity that supports children and families in need.

John Zaring has been promoting special events in Mexico and Los Cabos for almost a decade; he hopes to make the Cabo Comedy Festival an annual event that will open our high season at the beginning of October.

Many of the comedians, including Ahmed Ahmed, know John personally from his work in the entertainment industry. They are excited about the potential for this festival to become an annual industry event, remarking that it is a place where they can network with their peers, exchange knowledge in workshops, and mentor new talent. They are already marking their calendar for next year and so should you!