Submissions have ended


Submissions have ended

Submissions have ended for the 2019 Memphis Comedy Festival, and we will be in contact with our featured performers for the festival as soon as we have carefully selected them from the many submissions we have received! Thank you to all you that submitted to this year's festival, we really appreciate you!

Submission FAQ

Submission FAQ

Submission FAQ

The Memphis Comedy Festival Submission date starts November 1. We do not accept submissions early.

Read on below for tips and suggestions for your submission.

What are you looking for in a submission video?

At a minimum, your video should be:

  1. Easy to see and hear

  2. Five minutes long

  3. Submitted as a public link hosted on YouTube

  4. Continuous footage with no edits. A clip from a longer video is allowed but must itself be continuous.

For an exceptional video, consider the following:

  1. Cut the intro, start with the action. The judges will only watch five minutes of your recording. Don’t waste time!

  2. Make us laugh in the first 30 seconds and definitely by 60! Hook us before you hit that two-minute setup.

  3. Give us good quality! We reject videos we can’t see or hear. That said, it doesn’t have to be a professional taping. Just steady the camera (try a tripod?) in a location near you and away from chatty audience members. Our judges will love you!

  4. Know your audience. If your jokes are racist, sexist, ableist, homo- or transphobic, etc., this probably isn’t your town or festival.

Why YouTube?

Because of the way that YouTube streams, the video tends to be played back with the least amount of buffering. Sites like Vimeo don’t optimize their streaming for playback at lower qualities, so the video can, and usually will buffer and stop during playback. This can be an issue when the judges are watching hundreds of videos in a day. While we stress that this shouldn't be a factor in anyone's decision making toward a video, it can lead to bias. That's why we recommend Youtube, as it evens the playing field for everyone.

Will you take a video shorter or longer than five minutes?

Yes. If you submit less, we’ll watch the whole thing. If you submit more, we’ll watch the first five minutes.

When will selections be announced?

As soon as submissions close, we begin the selection process. Once finished, we announce our performers. This takes about a month. Notice is sent via email.

Why does it take so long for selections to be announced?

Because we love you. Really. You deserve due diligence. We promise to watch the first five minutes of every submission and guarantee it’s viewed by at least three judges of diverse backgrounds and tastes using specific criteria and measures that are calculated for a final ranking. The board of directors then reviews the scoring for anomalies and biases and selects the finalists. This takes some time, but you’re worth it.

Will the festival feature local comics?

Historically, Memphis comics serve as show hosts and volunteers and let the out-of-towners take center stage. That said, all submissions are judged equally and locals can submit. All selections are made based solely on the video submitted, regardless of prior knowledge or experiences with the comic.

Will the festival have headliners?

Yes. Headliners will be announced when negotiations are finalized.

Do I still have to submit if I know you guys?

If you know us, you know the answer. (It’s yes and you owe us a beer for asking.)

Why do I have to pay a submission fee, especially if you’re a nonprofit?

First and foremost, our submission judges and board are volunteers and your fees help feed them while they spend whole days watching your videos. Trust us, you wouldn’t like them hangry. Fees also help with the basics of the festival - feeding performers and volunteers during festival, deposits, merchandise, attorneys fees, etc. Festivals are expensive! Your support is truly invaluable.

Submission fees also weed out frivolous submissions. In years with no fee we’ve received videos shot in bedrooms, first-time-on-stage videos, and a poetry reading. We figure if you’re at least serious enough to scrape together $15 for the early bird submission, we’re willing to take a gamble on you with five minutes of our lives we can never get back.

My video was filmed on a cellphone – is that ok?

Sure! As longs as it fits the minimum criteria. Pro tip: cell phone videos are best shot horizontal.

More Questions?

Click ‘contact’ above.