This year's festival, as always, included 20 so-called "New faces of stand-up comedy," culled from a nationwide pool of some 2,000. But the faces weren't exactly new to many in attendance, and with the networks heavily into pilot season, this isn't exactly a hot deal-making time. Indeed, stand-up comedy, which could use a lift out of the prestige gutter, took a back seat in Aspen to the aforementioned star showcases, though Jim Gaffigan and Louis Ramey were two bright spots. Ramey won the award for best new stand-up artist.
HBO, while committed to putting on a yearly comedy festival, will take a hard look at whether to hold the event in Aspen next year, said festival executive director Stu Smiley. While a help in drawing big name stars for a weekend in the mountains, Aspen lacks large venues, is expensive and poses travel difficulties, Smiley said.
By weekend's end, talk of the festival was still drifting back to Evans, though that much coveted cliche--good buzz--was also focused on "Bill Graham Presents . . . A One Man Show," starring actor Ron Silver as the late rock impresario; Kravits & Jones, a comedy troupe out of New York; and Moon Zappa, an L.A.-based performance artist and daughter of the late Frank Zappa.