With a population of 1.47 million people, San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States. San Antonio’s size and active population make it a prime city for a new venue to expand and grow, and the Big-Little Comedy Fest is trying to place San Antonio on the map for comedy and improv.
Jackson Beach, a Trinity junior, works as the press secretary for Bexar Stage, where the Big-Little Fest will be held Feb. 14–18. He and the Big-Little team have big plans for this festival, and big hopes for the impact it will have on the San Antonio comedy scene. Jackson and I sat down to get a better image of the future that Bexar Stage and Big-Little have in mind for San Antonio.
“Compared to Austin and Philadelphia, the San Antonio comedy scene is almost non-existent. Sadly, comedians don’t see San Antonio as a destination comedy city. So part of Bexar Stage and Big-Little’s mission is to change that, to put San Antonio on the map when it comes to comedy in all genres,” Beach said. “They also want to cultivate San Antonio’s already burgeoning improv scene. There is a real interest for it in the city and Bexar Stage is hoping to cultivate that.”
“Sexual harassment scandals have also affected the improv scene. The co-founders of Bexar Stage, Tina Jackson and Dan Grim, have been in the improv scene for decades and people they used to know and work with have been revealed to be some pretty awful individuals,” Beach said. “Before every class, everyone signs a paper that pledges to fight sexual harassment and to create a safe and accepting comedy venue that people can enjoy.”
To accomplish all these ambitious goals, Bexar Stage aims to use the Big-Little Comedy Fest to put San Antonio on the comedic map.
” The festival will be from February 14–18 and will have 13 show blocks with 45 acts within them. These acts will range from improv sketches to standup comedians. The acts will be from all over, including some Texas- and even San Antonio-based comedy groups,” Beach said. “The company that is putting on the festival, Big-Little Comedy, has been doing this for almost 8 years now, with their shows originally being in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then in Cleveland, Ohio.”
San Antonio isn’t so far off from comedy hubs like Austin, Los Angeles and Chicago. It’s a massive city with a population that loves to support homegrown talent — all that remains to be seen is whether people patronize the comedy talent that will be coming to San Antonio soon. The Big-Little Comedy Fest begins on Valentine’s Day and continues through President’s Day weekend at the Bexar Stage; performances will begin at 8 p.m. each day.