Saturday, June 22, 2024

Inaugural Comedy Fest Brings a Week of Laughter to Boca Raton

As with Jewish Festival of Lights, Boca Raton is prepared to celebrate its own eight crazy nights—and days—with the inaugural Flamingo Comedy Festival beginning this weekend. Every evening, and certain afternoons, from Oct. 18 to 25, professional and emerging comedians, stage magicians and authors will perform at venues throughout the city, along with specialized, interactive spins on bingo and trivia nights, all to raise funds for nonprofit organizations.

The festival is presented by Comic Cure, the standup performance series and incubator run by Rich and Ben Leis, which has been building a dedicated audience for its comedy shows in Boca and Delray over the past couple of years. The weeklong event is, in a way, a culmination of everything Comic Cure has stood for thus far: luring national acts to Boca, nurturing the next generation of humorists, bringing communities together through laughter, and supporting worthwhile charities.

While the festival’s biggest marquee name is sold out—that would be Miami legend Dave Barry, who will be addressing a packed library on Sunday—tickets are still available for the other events, some of which are free. Here’s the run-down:

2 p.m. Oct. 18: Author Dana Eagle in Conversation with Katherine Murphy—How to Be Depressed: A Guide

Where: Faulk Center for Counseling, 22455 Boca Rio Road

Cost: Free with registration

Comedian Dana Eagle, whom we interviewed last year on, is the epitome of the “comic cure,” deploying humor on the front lines of her own battles with depression. At this event, she’ll be discussing her 2017 book How to Be Depressed: A Guide, which offers cheeky, wry, offbeat but seriously helpful advice for those suffering from this pernicious ailment.

3:30 p.m. Oct. 19: The Amazing Mr. A’s Not So Scary Halloween Magic Show & Costume Contest

Where: Boca Raton Innovation Campus, 5000 T-Rex Ave.

Cost: $10

The Amazing Mr. A, a dexterous ventriloquist and four-time Florida State Magic Champion, will perform a family-friendly magic set keyed into the Halloween season. Attendees are encouraged to arrive in costume, with a prize awarded to the most impressive getup.

8 p.m. Oct. 19: Florida’s Funniest Female with headliner Dana Eagle

Cost: $25

Eagle, who has appeared on “Last Comic Standing,” “The Late Late Show” and other national programs, returns this time for a proper standup set. She’ll be preceded by no less than 16 Florida women from Key West to Jacksonville vying for the annual title of Florida’s Funniest Female—including two promising acts from here in Boca Raton.

3 p.m. Oct. 20: Dave Barry

Where: Boca Raton Public Library, 400 N.W. Second Ave.


This event registered to capacity quickly, as the library is a tiny venue for an author of Barry’s stature. The longtime humorist will discuss his two 2019 books, Lessons From Lucy and A Field Guide to the Jewish People. A bummer it’s sold out, but hopefully a tech-savvy attendee will load it onto YouTube.

7 p.m. Oct. 21: Introduction to Standup Comedy Class

Where: Flamingo House, 4160 N.W. First Ave., Suite 22

Cost: Free

Richy Leis, who cut his teeth in the South Florida standup scene, is now an influential comedy producer in Los Angeles, working with artists from Dana Carvey to Whitney Cummings. At this rare, no-cost class, he’ll teach the basics and background of standup comedy, which he has honed over 18 years in the business. Seating is limited, so arrive early.

8 p.m. Oct. 22: Trivia Challenge hosted by Wilma McAwesome

Where: Dubliner, 435 Plaza Real

Cost: Free

This free trivia night has been stumping attendees for 12 years and counting. We expect especially witty questions for next week’s program.

8:30 p.m. Oct. 23: Open Mic with Mike Cintron

Where: Mad Robot Brewing Company, 2621 N. Federal Highway, Suite Y

Cost: $3 or two canned goods to benefit Boca Helping Hands

Singers, musicians, magicians, poets and comics are encouraged to sign up an hour in advance at this limited-seating event; the order of talent will be determined by a “random bucket drawing.”

7 p.m. Oct. 24: L-O-Elks Bingo

Where: Elks Lodge, 1395 N. Federal Highway

Cost: $10

Laugh it up with one of Comic Cure’s favorite partner organizations, the Elks Lodge, with a bingo night benefiting Elks Charities.

8 p.m. Oct. 25: United We Stand Up Starring Phil Hanley

Where: Boca Raton Innovation Campus, 5000 T-Rex Ave.

Cost: $25

Funnyman Phil Hanley, whose resume includes appearances on Comedy Central, “Late Night” and “The Pete Holmes Show,” headlines an evening of standup featuring veterans of the Armed Forces. Five comics, who have served in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Army, will precede Hanley’s set, with proceeds benefiting local veterans and disability-serving organizations.

Tickets for paid events will increase $10 the day of the event, so festival organizers recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Do so at

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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