Laugh it up with 8 comedians at virtual comedy festival

The Angel of the Winds Arena will host the Saving Our Jobs Virtual Comedy Festival on Feb. 14.

Justin Rupple won Dana Carvey’s TV competition “First Impressions.”

Justin Rupple won Dana Carvey’s TV competition “First Impressions.”

Valentine’s Day is a favorite time of year to go see a stand-up comedy show.

It’s one of the reasons Angel of the Winds Arena is hosting the Saving Our Jobs Virtual Comedy Festival on Feb. 14 on its own website.

The all-day festival features eight comedians from the U.S. and Canada, including Adam Yenser, Alex Elkin, Justin Rupple, Ralph Porter, Ron Josol and Tashona Smith.

All of the featured comics will perform a 45-minute set live from the Angel of the Winds Arena. The show’s host, Chris Gainz, has his set prerecorded for the festival.

A Feb. 14 show was planned because many of us are either looking for a special Valentine’s Day date or a way to forget that we don’t have one. Let’s face it — laughter helps no matter which camp you’re in this weekend.

“It’s going to be a fun day of comedy,” said Larissa Long, marketing director for the Angel of the Winds Arena. “Every single comedian has a different type of comedy, so if you don’t like one comedian’s sense of humor, you can tune in later and catch the next one.”

In addition to the seven comedians mentioned, an eighth lucky comic will join the lineup. The winner of the Saving our Jobs National Comedy Contest will also get to perform at the festival.

The finalists are Kelly Taylor, Mike Corning, David Green and Chris Swarthout. The audience will watch each finalist perform a prerecorded set, then vote on their favorite comic. The comedian who gets the most votes will get to do another 10-15 minute set — this time live.

The Daily Herald spoke with each of the three headliners of the show: Adam Yenser, Alex Elkin and Justin Rupple.

Adam Yenser, 38, of Los Angeles, has been a stand-up comedian for 14 years. An Emmy Award-winning comedy writer for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Yenser also has written jokes for the Oscars and “Saturday Night Live.” He said the highlight of his career was performing stand-up on “Conan” in 2013.

“It’s something I’ve always loved,” Yenser said, adding that he specializes in observational humor with a punchline. “When other kids grew up watching sitcoms, I was constantly watching sketch comedy and stand-up specials.”

Alex Elkin, 40, of Eugene, Oregon, has been performing stand-up since 2016. The winner of the 2016 San Francisco Comedy Competition, Elkin was a cruise-ship comedian for the Carnival Cruise Line before COVID-19 hit. He was recently hired as a voice actor for the “Tuttle Twins” TV show, which will be based on the popular children books of the same name. He will provide the voice for Derek the Raccoon.

“Stand-up comedy is not only the last bastion of free speech, but it’s the best way to perform, if you just want to perform (by yourself),” said Elkin, who describes his comedy as brazen and energetic. “I like to rely on me and me alone. It’s a challenge, and it’s fun, and there’s a real rush that you get from an audience that laughs.”

Justin Rupple, 37, of Los Angeles, has been a comedian since 2006. Also an impressionist and voice actor, Rupple won Dana Carvey’s TV competition “First Impressions” and was the winner of the 2019 Voice Arts Award for his role as Tuffnut in “How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World.”

His biggest accomplishment? The fact that he hasn’t needed a day job for eight years in a row.

“Surprisingly enough, for comedians, the mark of success isn’t necessarily the amount of accolades we get it or the amount of credits we amass,” said Rupple, adding that his influences include Jim Carrey, Brian Regan and Richard Jeni. “It really is, ‘Can we pay our bills as a comedian?’ If you can do that, that’s your true badge of honor.”

Can’t watch the show on Feb. 14? No problem. As long as you purchase a ticket, you can stream the festival for a year.

While the festival starts at noon, you can log in as soon as 10 a.m. to read up on the featured comedians before the show.

Bonus: If you purchase your ticket today, you can get 15% off during the Angel of the Winds Arena’s “flash sale.” No promo code necessary.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046;; @sarabruestle.

If you stream

Angel of the Winds Arena presents the Saving Our Jobs Virtual Comedy Festival, featuring comedians from the U.S. and Canada, from noon to 10 p.m. Feb. 14 via Stand-up comedians include Adam Yenser, Alex Elkin, Justin Rupple, Ralph Porter, Ron Josol, Tashona Smith and Chris Gainz. Tickets are $20-$40. One ticket per household. A link to the show will be provided at least one hour before the event. For mature audiences only.

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