This is a show you can’t see anywhere else in the world’ |

This is a show you can’t see anywhere else in the world’

Jennifer Davoren

The seventh annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival had barely rolled out of town before organizers began labeling it a success.

“I can definitely say this was our best festival ever,” executive producer John Moffitt said. “There were hardly any complaints, but if there were, I don’t think there’s any staff member that didn’t treat it with a smile.”

The performances during this year’s festival helped make it a memorable one. Shows hosted by Billy Crystal and Steve Martin offered audiences unique experiences, Moffitt said.

“Billy Crystal hasn’t done stand-up for years. He’s very reluctant to do it,” he said. “He was playing for his friends, playing for his peers and playing for a few locals.

“This is a show you can’t see anywhere else in the world.”

Seeing some of the top comedians in the business sharing a stage is another aspect of the festival that makes it unique, Moffitt said.

“The fun thing is seeing them react to each other,” he said.

The festival is known for bringing world-class comedy to Aspen, but the event also serves as a venue for rising stars hoping for a break.

Bill Larkin traveled to Colorado with the Fernwood 2 Night anniversary show but ventured to other events in order to promote his one-man show and comedy CD, “Bill’s Family Funtime.”

“It’s just a great way to meet people,” he said.

Moffitt said young comics are drawn to the fest for the connections they can make with established directors and producers.

“When they come to Aspen, they realize they’re going to get a lot of high-end people,” he said. “They get exposure to the people that would never come to see them at this stage in their careers.”

Checking out the other acts also gives the novice a peek at professional acts. Moffitt recalled a comedian who once said coming to Aspen “was like going to comedy camp for a week.”

Seeing established acts like Catherine O’Hara, Bob Newhart and Lewis Black is enough to inspire budding comics, Larkin said.

“Lewis Black is phenomenal. This is probably the best thing I’ve seen so far,” he said. “He says what everybody needs to hear.

“There are just so many comedic geniuses here,” he said.

Festival-goers are provided the opportunity to see comedic genius at work, but it also offers the chance to rest up from a long day of skiing, said Jerry Berliant of Chicago.

“I ski and I’m here during March. It’s a nice break from the mountain,” he said. “I’ve seen quite a bit of the shows. I like coming.”

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Posted: Monday, March 5, 2001

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