For the fourth consecutive year Akumal hosted the Akumal Comedy Festival. The event was started by Dan Schlissel founder of Stand Up! Records and Grammy award winning producer and the late Gus Lynch a former celebrity comedian and actor. They started the festival to showcase rising stand-up comedy stars outside of the U.S. as well as the people, restaurants, and businesses of the area.
The Akumal Comedy Festival, 10 show, 7 venues in three city’s over 5 days. All for a good cause.
The Akumal Comedy Festival supports the Red Cross of Mexico. The Red Cross in Mexico different than in other countries, they operate without any financial assistance from the government. Each chapter is responsible for its own fundraising, and relies entirely on the generosity of donors and the dedication of their volunteers. They operate without charge, offering lifesaving medical treatment to anyone who needs it, and are a lifeline to many of the local poor communities. All of the proceeds from the festival go to the Red Cross Playa del Carmen and Tulum chapters.
I happen to attend the Friday night show in Akumal Center at the Grateful Dead Stage. At the beginning of the show the host announced that they had already surpassed their fundraisers goal of 150,000 MXN, which was double last year’s efforts. He stated that before tonight show started the Akumal Comedy Festival had already raised 165,000 MXN and that they were only halfway through the festivals events.
The beautiful evening started out with a musical comedy duo. The couple set the stage for the evenings event, singing funny songs about their significant others, work and the area.
The night was hosted by local Craig Norton. Craig was one of the founding members of Comedy Below Sea Level, a local comedy troop that keeps the community laughing year round. Craig, an expat from Canada joked about what it was like to live in Mexico and how different it is from Canada.
Next to take the stage was Colleen Doyle Justice. Colleen has a unique perspective on the ordinary. This was her first debut at the Akumal Comedy Festival. Colleen was a riot telling somewhat inappropriate jokes about her family. Justice also shared with the audience that her mother was worried about her traveling to “lawless Mexico” alone, making her text every day that she hadn’t been murdered yet. The other day she text her mother that she had been murdered. I know that you are thinking but don’t worry, later that day she text that she was only kidding.
The evening ended with headliner Tommy Ryman. Tommy was a semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and was very funny. Tommy a some-what needy gentlemen, told jokes about how he brought 19 bottle of 3oz. sunscreen (legal allowed by airport security) and how Mexico doesn’t need to sell oil, they have high priced sunscreen for sale. He also told the audience that he knows everything about being married because he has been married for two years now and if you need any advice he’s here to help.
I evening was enjoyed by all. Everybody who attended had some laughs for a good cause.
If you missed the comedy festival this year don’t worry there is always next year. But if you are look for something to do this month remember the Riviera Maya film Festival starts this week April 23rd – 29th in Playa del Carmen. The Riviera Maya Film Festival is completely free, showing films in English and Spanish on gorgeous locations like the white sandy beaches, and in the movie theaters. Additional, there are several awards ceremonies during the week with Hollywood celebrity’s in attendance.