If you couldn’t tell from the pun-riddled title above, I have been known to dabble in the comedic arts. But don’t worry: I’ll leave the jokes to the professionals at this weekend’s North Texas Comedy Festival.

Denton comedy took center stage last year at the first-ever Denton Comedy Festival, but this year’s festival is a whole new ballgame. The North Texas Comedy Festival is a brand new venture with new leaders, new venues and a wide range of state and national acts poised to make Dentonites crack up for 72 hours straight. Leading the charge is Joe Coffee, a local comedian who probably knows the Denton comedy scene and its talent better than anyone.

In May, Coffee launched “Nobody Knows with Joe Coffee,” a weekly DentonRadio.com show where Coffee and co-host Richie Flo give comedians and other local artists a stage to talk about the work they’re doing.

“We bring in comics and talk about comedy,” he says. “There’s more to it than that, of course, and we do stuff with music and other artists in Denton, but it’s always rooted in comedy.”

Booking guests on the show has never been a challenge for the comedian. Coffee has been doing stand-up in Denton and DFW for over three years, and has ample experience booking comedic talent for various venues.

He got his start in stand-up with an open mic that he learned of while working at Denton Skate Supply.

“My coworker’s friend walks in with a flyer for a show that night, and I figured, ‘What the heck?’ I went on stage, and sort of fell in love with it from there.”

When he’s not performing in Denton or Dallas, Coffee runs the open mic at Killer’s Tacos and spearheads the North Texas Comedy Festival team. The inaugural fest for what Coffee hopes is an annual event kicks off this Thursday, October 5th at 8 p.m. at Killer’s Tacos and runs through Saturday, the 7th with a final performance at the Black Box Theatre and an after party at Backyard On Bell.

From Latrice Allen to 12-year-old comedy wunderkid Saffron Herndon, those three days will feature plenty of North Texas favorites performing alongside national acts.

“We didn’t want just one big headliner and a couple of shows; we wanted a bunch of headliners to go along with a bunch of shows.”

The fest’s big headliner, Houston funnyman Slade Ham, will perform in Saturday’s finale at the Black Box Theatre. Coffee believes that guys like Ham and other Denton first-timers in Denton will see what makes the city and its comedy scene so special.

“The great thing about Denton is that it's a town that supports local art,” he says. “You see it with music, and now you’re seeing it with comedy.

“When everyone works together, cool things happen.”


For more details about this week’s North Texas Comedy Festival, read on here.