Local Comedy Fest Looks To Do More Than Just Make People Laugh

Joe Pettis is a comedian and producer in Atlanta. He’s the man behind Resurgens Fest, which looks to shine a light on local talent and also benefit a cause that’s important to him — the Women’s Resource Center to end Domestic Violence. (Courtesy of Resurgens Fest)

It’s been 10 years since comedian Joe Pettis did his first set at an open mic night in Atlanta.

A decade later, Pettis is now a full-time comedy producer focused on showing off the talent the city has to offer. Next weekend, the second annual Resurgens Fest at the Highland Inn & Ballroom Lounge will do just that.

We have multiple comedy festivals here in Atlanta but they tend to show case out of town comics, so I wanted to do a festival that showcased how talented the local comedy scene is,” Pettis, who heads up 1UP comedy, said.

Over three days, Nov. 16-18, the festival will feature 50 performers. Selected through a submission process, Pettis said the lineup showcases a wide variety of performers — both in style and experience.

Comedian Amber North performs at last year’s Resurgens Fest. (Courtesy of Resurgens Fest)

But the festival is about more than just making audiences laugh. It also benefits the Women’s Resource Center to end Domestic Violence. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to Pettis.

“The reason I picked them is I actually grew up in a house with domestic violence, my mom was a survivor of domestic violence,” Pettis said.

“She passed away about three years ago, so after she passed away I wanted to try and do something in her honor to help other women who have been in her situation.”

Jean Douglas, executive director of the center, said the support of the festival means a lot to them.

“The continued support of local businesses and community members is a vital part of accomplishing our mission,” she said in a statement. “I had a great time at Resurgens Fest 2017 and can’t wait to attend again this year.”

Pettis admits that when he started in the comedy scene, he thought he’d move on quickly to New York or Los Angeles — the places many young performers dream of going to make it big.

But he said something has changed in Atlanta. The uptick in movies and TV shows being produced in Atlanta means there are more eyes on the city’s talent, he said.

Now, he hopes to do his part in shining a light on that local talent.

There are 50 comics and maybe only a handful of them will actually go off and make it but this is your chance to see them before they go do that,” he said.

Resurgens Fest is happening Nov. 16-18 at the Highland Inn & Ballroom Lounge. You can buy tickets here.

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