As we try our best to stay on top of Milwaukee’s massive and ever-growing list of summer happenings, it’s also worth mentioning the “City Of Festivals” also plays host to a wide range of fall fests. Included in that array of autumn events is the state’s longest-running and largest comedy festival.

Originating long before the city had anything resembling a sustainable comedy community, Milwaukee Comedy Festival has grown and evolved along with Milwaukee’s stand-up scene. In fact, the annual comedic undertaking has been an invaluable means of pushing local comedy to exciting, new territory. Along the way, Milwaukee Comedy Festival has also brought in noted national talent to headline some of its shows. This year’s installment—which will be taking place October 1-8—is no different, as two outstanding headliners have already been announced for the 18th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival.

Last Friday, Milwaukee Comedy Festival organizers announced the great Todd Barry will be returning to the fest in 2023. The veteran comic and crowd work maestro will be heading up a festival show at Shank Hall on Thursday, October 5. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show costs $25 and they’re on sale now. Act fast because space is limited.

As if the Barry news isn’t already exciting enough, Milwaukee Comedy Festival (in association with Pabst Theater Group) made another headliner announcement this morning. This year’s festival will also feature a performance by none other than Kyle Kinane. The beloved comedian, actor, and Illinois native will return to the Midwest to take the stage at Pabst Theater on Saturday, October 7. Tickets to this show—Kinane’s first Milwaukee appearance since late 2019—go on sale at 10 a.m. CST on Friday, May 5.

Stay tuned for more headliner announcements and for the full 2023 lineup as Milwaukee Comedy Festival approaches. We should also mention that any comedians (including stand up, sketch, improv, one-person show, and alternative comedy performers) who are interested in being part of this year’s festival have until Monday, May 8 to send in submissions.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.