Since 2015, the Rogue Island Comedy Festival has been bringing laughs to Newport and numerous parts of Aquidneck Island.
Established comedians such as Lamont Price, Orlando Baxter, Mark Normand, TJ Miller, Sean Patton and Mia Jackson have taken part in past editions, and it’s a stellar showcase of local and national talent.
Last year, the festival evolved into a semi-annual one, with a Spring Fest taking place during Memorial Day Weekend and a Fall Fest over Columbus Day Weekend. This year’s Spring Fest kicks off Thursday, May 26, and runs through Sunday, May 30, with 13 shows and more than 50 comics performing.
While picking a few from this esteemed lineup can be an arduous task, here are five acts you won’t want to miss:
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the organizer of the whole thing, the hometown hero and a guy who is quite funny. Key is a Newport-area native who is currently based in New York City and you can thank him for coming up with the idea for the Rogue Island Comedy Festival.
He’s had the pleasure of sharing bills with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Michael Che while performing at the illustrious comedy club Carolines on Broadway in his adopted home city.
He’s going to be hosting both the Thursday night show at 8 pm headlined by Mitra and TikTok celebrity Jimmy Cash, and the Sunday night show at 8 pm headlined by Sam Tallent and Ian Lara at Top Of Pelham, 3 Pelham Street in Newport.
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Key also will be performing and hosting at all three Saturday night shows at 6 pm, 8 pm and 10 pm at the Jane Pickens Theater Film & Event Center, 49 Touro St. in Newport.
Brooklyn’s Yannis Pappas has been a comic for more than 20 years, even though he took a couple years off during the early 2000s due to being shot during a botched armed robbery attempt outside of a nightclub.
He’s been able to turn that experience into a few jokes, and his talents have gotten him appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “The Joe Rogan Experience,” along with his own special on Comedy Central.
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Pappas will be headlining the late evening show on Saturday at 10 pm at the Jane Pickens Theater Film & Event Center.
Jenny Zigrino is a multi-talented individual from Minnesota who can sing and act along with making people laugh. She’s had supporting roles in the parody flick “Fifty Shades of Black” starring Marlon Wayans and the holiday comedy “Bad Santa 2” starring Billy Bob Thornton.
Zigrino has also been a guest on the late night talk shows “@midnight with Chris Hardwick” and “Conan” along with the variety radio show “Live From Here.”
She’s going to be headlining both Friday early evening shows Diego’s Barrio Cantina, 116 Aquidneck Ave. in Middletown
A staple of the Connecticut comedy scene, West Hartford’s Mo Mussa recently won the Funniest Comic in New England contest last year. He’s been a regular performer at The Elbow Room in his hometown and he’s also taken the stage at the Summit Lounge in Worcester and Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton in Massachusetts.
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On Saturday at 6 pm, Mussa will be one of the headliners at the Jane Pickens Theater Film & Event Center.
Ray Harrington is from Warwick and he got a ton of local recognition right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 due to a memorial stand-up comedy performance on “Conan.”
He’s also the central focus of the award-winning documentary “Be A Man” which came out in 2016 and premiered on Hulu. As part of the final day of the festival, Harrington will be headlining the Top Of Pelham on Monday at 6 pm
Due to a recent fire at The Wayfinder Hotel on 151 Admiral Kalbfus Road, a few of the shows are being moved to different locations.
To keep tabs on future updates and announcements, either log on to rogueislandcomedyfest.com or follow the festival’s Facebook page at facebook.com/rogueislandcomedyfest.