Local comedian and improviser Mike Hammond is launching a new comedy festival in St. John’s. The Braxton Comedy Festival will run from August 7th-12th at the LSPU Hall.

Emerging out of the ashes of the Yuk Yuk’s closure, the new festival will highlight established local talent as well as offer workshops and stage time to emerging voices.

The fest’s featured comedians include Paul Warford, (Just for Laughs, Yuk Yuk’s), Nicole Downton (Serious XM Radio, Yuk Yuk’s), Halfhandsome Sketch (Almost Baymous), Stanley Braxton Improv Co. (*blank* The Musical, St. John’s Short Play Festival).

A highlight of the Festival will be the “My First Festival Time (Stand-Up Challenge Finale)” show hosted by Unpossible NL and Night Out Productions. The evening’s line up will be composed of fifteen 2017 Stand Up Challenge participants.

This July, the Stand Up Challenge invited anyone (regardless of their experience level) to write, practice, and perform five minutes of standup comedy in a month.  The “My First Festival Time” set will showcase some of the new voices who premiered their fresh five-minutes at the Challenge’s weekly open mic in July.

Celebrated comedian, Stephen Coombs (Just for Laughs, Serious XM Radio, Yuk Yuk’s) will headline the Festival’s closing night gala. The Gala will be his first major performance since taking a two-year hiatus from comedy to battle cancer. Coombs said, “To return to stage with many of my comedy friends who were there to support me means the world to me!”