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Vail Comedy Festival Insider Tips

The Vail Comedy Festival — held annually in May over Memorial Day weekend — is a side-splitting, three-day laughter extravaganza bringing together more than 30 comedians from around the country.

Founded in 2022, the festival is part of founder Mark Master’s mission to bring more laughter to Vail Village. In a short time, it has become a can’t-miss Vail event held each spring.

Comedy fans love the intimate atmosphere of the festival, too. You might even find yourself dining at a Vail restaurant next to the performer who was cracking you up the night before!

Here’s how to get the most out of Vail Comedy Festival:

Usama Siddiquee performs a surprise standup set at Bridge Street Bar in Vail, Colorado during the Vail Comedy Festival.
Photo credit to Nick Holmby (DUDE IDK CREATIVE)

What Type of Comedy Can You Experience?

At Vail Comedy Festival, you can expect a wide range of comedic acts, like sharp and witty cracks about the world we live in, hilarious anecdotes about people’s love lives and one-liners that’ll leave you in stitches. Event shows host a lineup of entertainers, including star performers.

If the festival’s headliners look familiar, it’s because many have appeared on talk shows like “Conan,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Some have even competed on “America’s Got Talent” and “Last Comic Standing” or have been seen on Netflix, HBO and Comedy Central.

Past headliner comedians include:

    • Leah Bonnema
    • Dustin Chafin
    • Rob Haze
    • Al Jackson
    • Carmen Lagala
    • Nancy Norton
    • Caitlin Peluffo
    • Steven Rogers
    • Usama Siddiquee
    • Derrick Stroup
    • Brandt Tobler

See This Year’s Lineup

At 10th Mountain Whiskey in Vail, Colorado, four comedians sit around a table with microphones and record a live podcast session.
Photo credit to Nick Holmby (DUDE IDK CREATIVE)

Special Festival Events

Each year brings new surprises to Vail Comedy Festival, like the time when Netflix comedian Usama Siddiquee performed an unannounced set for a late-night crowd at Bridge Street Bar.

In addition to the laugh-out-loud stand-up shows, past festivals included live podcast tapings, a roaming street magician, show-up showcases (aspiring attendees are welcome to take part!) and family-friendly entertainment at the RocketFizz Stage at Sunbird Park in Lionshead Village.

An audience wearing their Vail Comedy Festival badges laughs and smiles at a comedian's joke in Vail, Colorado.
Photo credit to Nick Holmby (DUDE IDK CREATIVE)

Vail Comedy Festival Passholder & VIP Perks

A few shows have extra tickets available; however, the best way to guarantee you get into all 20-plus events is with a festival pass. For an extra-special experience, level up to VIP status.

As a VIP Passholder, you’ll have access to exclusive celebrations and activities. Previous events included yoga classes for VIPs with comics, private parties and barbecue dinners. Being a VIP is also an excellent way to get behind the scenes before and after shows and meet the performers in person.

Surrounded by lounge chairs and decorative plant pots, two pools at Antlers at Vail in Vail, Colorado, tempt guests to cool off in their blue waters.
Antlers at Vail

Vail Hotels Near the Fun

Most of the festival events happen at venues in Vail Village and are within walking distance of the cascading Gore Creek and the Covered Bridge. Stay close to the laughter with nearby accommodations, like Sonnenalp Hotel, Christiania at Vail, The Sebastian Vail, Antlers at Vail and Lodge Tower.

Find more great lodging options throughout Vail

Two people each walks with a bike through the uncrowded streets of town near Vail, Colorado.

Things to Do in Vail Before & After Performances

Stay close to the village with a visit to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens for educational tours or stroll the paved paths on your own to see a trickling waterfall and vibrant wildflowers. If the Vail outdoors are calling your name, spend some time exploring the mountains and forests with a hike or bike ride on panoramic trails before a performance.

Take advantage of Vail’s thriving culinary scene and grab local delicacies between events, like juniper-rubbed venison loin or tender wagyu beef at the MICHELIN-recommended Sweet Basil, buffalo fries and plum duck at The George or savory crepes and hearty burgers at The Little Diner. Restaurant reservations can be hard to get, especially on popular event weekends, so be sure to book your table in advance.

After the show, enjoy Vail’s nightlife with live music, breweries and more.

At 10th Mountain Whiskey in Vail, Colorado, comedian Erick Hellwig interviews fellow comedian and NFL veteran Joe Barksdale.
Photo credit to Nick Holmby (DUDE IDK CREATIVE)

Tips for Attending Vail Comedy Festival

Reserve your pass: Vail Comedy Festival passes often sell out. So, reserve yours sooner rather than later — plus, you’ll get better rates farther out from the festival date.

Come early: Arrive ahead of time to snag the best seats — there’s nothing like the front row at a comedy show.

Travel like a local: Make transportation easy — and be good to Mother Nature — by using Vail’s free bus system or cycling to the venue. Watch for bike stands conveniently located throughout the village.

Dress in layers: While Vail starts to warm up in spring, it’s still a high-elevation mountain town. Come prepared for all the elements — from sun to rain to snow. Wear multiple layers, too, so you can adjust your temperature easily as you need.

Vail Comedy Festival headliner, Carmen Lagala, cracks jokes on stage for a live audience in Vail, Colorado.

Where to Get Tickets

Get Festival Tickets

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Hero and feature photo credit to Nick Holmby (DUDE IDK CREATIVE)