Lee Keeler, organizer of The Green Gravel Comedy Festival, an Iowa alternative comedy festival that began last year, announced today that the 2015 festival will be held in Iowa City Feb 27-28, and that the creator of the recent viral video juggernaut Too Many Cooks, Chris Kelly, will be a part of this year’s line-up.
Too Many Cooks, (video above) is roughly what you might expect if some college stoners decided to create the opening credits sequence for a ‘90s family TV sitcom and left it to David Lynch to wrap up the editing. The video short originally aired at 4 a.m. on October 28 as part of Adult Swim’s Infommercials, and, after picking up buzz through fans on Reddit and Twitter, it quickly snowballed into a viral sensation which late last week was profiled in CNN, Rolling Stone and The Atlantic.
As Keeler explained, Kelly will appear at the festival as part of a live performance of Your Pretty Face is Going To Hell, a separate Adult Swim program that Kelly co-created with Dave Willis.
“We were looking to bring in something that had never been done at a fest before. When Dave pitched the idea of doing Your Pretty Face is Going To Hell live, we leaped at it,” said Keeler. “When Too Many Cooks hit, we felt twice as lucky to be having Chris Kelly come to Iowa City. We’re definitely planning on a Q&A session with these guys so that creators in the Iowa comedy community can get some insight into their creative process.”
The full line-up for the festival will be released after the end of Green Gravel’s three-week crowdfunding campaign, launched today, to cover travel and housing costs for the festival. The campaign will offer discounts on pre-sale passes and exclusive merchandise to donors.
Keeler said that many of the acts slated for the festival are well known comedians from the alt-comedy scene of Los Angeles, where Keeler is based.
“We do have some incredible comedians that we’re working to bring out that have never performed in Iowa before, but have been featured on programs like WTF with Marc Maron, Comedy Bang Bang and Conan.”
The festival shows will feature performances in a variety of comedy genres including stand up, sketch, improv and podcast comedy. Venues for the festival will be centered primarily around the Northside of Iowa City and include Riverside Theatre, Gabe’s, High Ground Cafe, and George’s Buffet.
Keeler explains that he was drawn to hold this year’s festival in Iowa City because of the city’s enthusiasm for it’s local comedy scene.
“We’re really excited to bring Green Gravel to Iowa City because there’s a fantastic culture of youth and vitality,” said Keeler. “Students and young professionals come out and support comedy shows at the Yacht Club. They pack them in for Paperback Rhino at Public Space One. This city deserves a comedy fest that can incorporate those elements and take them to the next level.”
As with the live performance of Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, Keeler hopes the unique aspects of the comedy shows Green Gravel is presenting will be a large part of the festival’s draw.
“We are most interested in generating an experience that will go beyond the average comedy show. We want forward-thinking people who enjoy alt comedy, but we also want to blow some minds and inspire audiences. We want to bring something completely unique to Iowa City.”