Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival 2014 schedule includes comedians, movies, fire and ice, and free family fun all Presidents Day Weekend Long. America’s best comics will be arriving by plane, car, and dogsled in order to appear live on stage in Traverse City, February 13-16, and just announced, Fred Willard will be joining them.
“Yes, improvisational genius Fred Willard—the four-time Emmy nominee with over 1,000 TV appearances from ‘Get Smart’ to ‘Modern Family,’ and over 70 scene-stealing film roles in great movies like ‘Best in Show,’ ‘Anchorman,’ and ‘Wall-E’—will join me on stage in conversation and receive our 2014 Comedy Legend Award,” said festival co-founder and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore.


Willard joins a laugh-packed lineup that includes Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Ian Black, Tig Notaro, Stephen Lynch, Sinbad, Tim Meadows, Dave Foley, Jeff Garlin, Matt Braunger, Kirk Fox, Dan St. Germain, Sarah Tiana, TJ & Dave, Mike Toomey, and Set List.

The show schedule and full festival program (complete with all the FREE on Front details) is available NOW online or for download.
Tickets go on sale this FRIDAY, January 31 at 12 noon, online at and in the Traverse City State Theatre lobby.
“Clean” comedy is also taking center stage this year, starting with a well-known comedian who hasn’t sworn on stage for 30 years: Sinbad (“Houseguest,” “The Sinbad Show”). Keeping it PG and telling jokes his dad “taught him back in the day,” Sinbad marks another addition to our growing slate of clean and family-friendly comedy including returning favorite Mike Toomey, the newly-added Story Pirates, and the brand new Kids Joke Competition.
The Story Pirates are a nationally-renowned troupe of very funny comedians with their own fantastical spin on edu-tainment. They adapt and perform a show based entirely on the stories of elementary students, and part of the show is even made up on the spot by kids in the audience. With fun puppets, cool songs, and hilarious sketches, the Story Pirates will delight and surprise Saturday, February 15 at 12:30 pm at the City Opera House. Families should not miss this!
The Story Pirates crew will also host our first ever Kids Joke Contest. All kids ages 14 and under are invited to come ham it up onstage at the Opera House and share their best jokes (knock knocks, turtles crossing the road, or otherwise). Everyone who participates will receive a prize.
Other schedule highlights include:
  • True American original and this year¹s headliner Rosie O’Donnell (“A League of Their Own,” “The View,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”)
  • Master of irreverent observations and sketch comedy legend Michael Ian Black (“I Love the…,” “Stella,” “Wet Hot American Summer”)
  • Tig Notaro, hailed as one of the best comics working today (“This American Life,” “In a World…”)
  • Musical-comedy genius Stephen Lynch
  • “Saturday Night Live” alum Tim Meadows
  • “Kids in the Hall” creator Dave Foley
  • Festival co-founder Jeff Garlin, star of ABC’s hit sitcom “The Goldbergs” ­ and we’ll also have a regional premiere of Jeff’s new film, “Dealin’ with Idiots”
  • Up and comer Dan St. Germain, acting every inch the Variety’s “Top 10 Comic To Watch” and Time Out New York’s “Comedy Break Out of 2013” that he is
  • Matt Braugner’s (“MADtv” and The Nerdist contributor) affable charm and penchant for the random and absurd
  • Kirk Fox (Sewage Joe on “Parks & Rec”) with his very genuine brand of comedy
  • Sarah Tiana (“Reno 911,” “Chelsea Lately”), discussing her love of sports and the sport of dating
  • “Set List” brings together many of the comedians above for standup improv, where they’re handed a never-before-seen topic (like “Detroit Tourism Slogan Planning Committee”) as they step up to the mic
  • “Late Night Combo Platter” wraps up the festival with the free treat of all of the comics on stage in Horizon’s basement hassling the festival for not giving them chips with the gift bag salsa
  • Living legends of long-form improv TJ & Dave
  • The all-lady improv of Chicago’s Virgin Daiquiri
  • Traverse City improv group Good on Paper will return, along with Open Mic, at InsideOut Gallery, and new this year, two free podcasts
Add to all of this, the spectacular Free on Front, all weekend!
  • An ice skating rink (we provide the skates, or bring your own), a zip line, a big sledding hill, a Ferris wheel, frozen mini golf, and a sports arena with snowblower races, rowboat races, the Slip and Fall Olympics, and National Cherry Festival favorites like the Monster Dog Pull and Kid Competitions.
  • Events in the Polar Vortex Tent right on Front Street including the ever-popular Soup’r Bowl Competition on Saturday, a Frozen Cherry Brunch on Sunday morning, and nighttime parties at the International Ice Bar Friday and Saturday.
  • Bonfires with free s’mores and a mind-blowing “Fire & Ice” display, an ice-stravaganza takes over Front Street, funny family movies, hot chocolate madness, and a Grand Traverse Pie Co. Make and Bake event in celebration of National Cherry Month.
Ticket prices range from 25 cents to $50, and most of the family fun is completely free! The full festival program can be downloaded here.
Volunteers, sponsors, and comedy lovers can find more information at
Volunteer shifts are available for signup now. Grab your friends or the nearest warm body and join in on all the fun. Volunteers receive a super cool tshirt, an invitation to the exclusive post-festival party, our undying gratitude, and the knowledge they helped create something cool for all of Traverse City to enjoy.
Tickets go on sale January 31 at 12 noon online and in the State Theatre lobby from 12 noon to 6 pm daily.
Sponsorships are still available, and sponsors receive early ticketing access— before the general public. Interested comedy lovers should contact


Check out all the fun from last year’s Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival:


 Learn more about the Comedy Arts Festival