Comedy Arts Festival is going to be Crystal-clear |

Comedy Arts Festival is going to be Crystal-clear

Stewart Oksenhorn

Add Billy Crystal to the list of funny people attracted to Aspen by the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Crystal, host of the Academy Awards ceremony the past six years, will be the recipient of the USCAF’s AFI Star Award at the 2001 festival, set for late February in Aspen. Past recipients of the award include Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks.

Crystal began his comedy career on television, playing the homosexual Jody on the cutting-edge sitcom “Soap.” His first break on the big screen came in the 1986 Chicago cop comedy “Running Scared,” which paired him with Gregory Hines. Crystal had a small role in the 1987 fantasy “The Princess Bride,” but he made the most of his part as the witch doctor Miracle Max.

Crystal hit the big time in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally,” which traced a long-simmering romance between Crystal’s Harry and Meg Ryan’s Sally. He was also highly praised for his performance as an aging Borscht Belt comedian in the dark-edged “Mr. Saturday Night.” Other Crystal films have included “Forget Paris,” “City Slickers” and “City Slickers 2: The Search for Curly’s Gold” and “Analyze This.”

The upcoming festival marks the seventh edition of the USCAF in Aspen. Past festivals have put an emphasis on emerging comedy acts but have also featured a wide assortment of top headliners. Last year’s gathering included a live presentation of “The Simpsons,” as well as Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams and more. Past festivals have featured Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” Dennis Miller’s “Citizen Arcane,” Robert Schimmel and “South Park.”

Another annual highlight of the comedy festival has been the reunion of such comedy troupes as Monty Python, “Saturday Night Live,” Second City Television and the casts of “Animal House” and “Cheers.”

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