A New March Tradition: MASS MoCA’s High Mud Comedy Fest
By Amy Krzanik
Here comes MASS MoCA again, giving you something you didn’t know you needed—a comedy festival for the in-between months. The aptly titled High Mud Comedy Fest will run Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12, joining the museum’s roster of already popular music festivals: Solid Sound every other summer and FreshGrass each fall.
With curation help from television comedy writer (and MASS MoCA trustee) Jay Tarses (The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show), the fest will feature established comedians alongside regional favorites.
High Mud’s headliner, Tig Notaro, a hilarious and highly praised stand-up adored both by fans and fellow comedians, also is an actress known for her roles on The Sarah Silverman Program and the excellent Inside Amy Schumer where she doubles a writer. Notaro, who was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 30, 2012, addressed the issue four days later during a live performance at Largo in Los Angeles. The set has been described as “instantly legendary,” and Notaro was urged by comedian Louis C.K. to release the audio of the show online so more people could hear it.
High Mud headliner Tig Notaro.
Wilco fans may have caught Notaro at last year’s Solid Sound, says Sue Killam, MASS MoCA’s director of performing arts. “Rachel Chanoff and I both go to the Sundance Film Festival, and we saw Tig’s film and the performance by her last year. She’s hilarious, which is the most important, but also we love everything she stands for and who she is.”
Festival host Ophira Eisenberg is the host of NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” but locals may know her from her appearances at the Mount during the Literary Death Match and Speak Up! storytelling shows. Brooklyn- and Hollywood-based live wire Sean Patton, and writer, musician, actor, radio host and man-about-town Dave Hill round out the roster of national acts.
A handful of “Berkshire’s inspired” comedians who are from here, have ties to the region or have performed here in the past will bring the laughs post-mainstage, at late-night gigs at local venues including The Mohawk Tavern, Desperados and the Freight Yard Pub.
The late-night pub shows will extend the festival feeling, says Killam, as will Saturday’s stand-up workshop with Dave Hill and screening of Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip.
High Mud Comedy Fest at MASS MoCA
Friday, March 11 & Saturday, March 12
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA