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Stafford resident launches inaugural Northern Virginia comedy festival, debuting this summer

From stand-up to film production, the Greater Northern Virginia Comedy and Film Festival will showcase local, up-and-coming talent.

Chandra Gore is the founder of the Greater Northern Virginia Comedy and Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Chandra Gore)

Stafford resident Chandra Gore has always been a fan of comedy. From the courage it takes to crack jokes in front of a crowd to the patience needed for production behind the scenes, it all appealed to her. 

Over the course of three years, she has been able to turn her interest into a passion project that is finally coming to life in Northern Virginia.   

The Greater Northern Virginia Comedy and Film Festival will start on Aug. 21, and continue through Aug. 25 at several comedy clubs and restaurants throughout the region.

While this is its inaugural year, the idea for the festival really came to life in 2017 when Gore was assisting in the production of varying comedic events in the DC Metro area and realized a missing piece of the community here in NoVA. 

The festival will be held from Aug. 21-25. (Photo courtesy of Chandra Gore)

“DC has a comedy fest and Baltimore has a comedy fest, but nobody is paying attention to Northern Virginia, where there is some of the best talent in the country,” Gore says. 

In addition to giving local artists the chance to perform, the event also was inspired by a desire to showcase female producers and comedians who don’t often get their chance in the spotlight, according to Gore. 

The event is a competition, where comedians will perform against one another on the stages of local venues, including Alley Cat in Alexandria, Summers Restaurant in Arlington and Fredericksburg Comedy Zone for the final night of laughs. As Gore prepares for the five-day showcase, she is continuing to finalize other locations for the event. While most comedy festivals typically consist of a team—marketing, production, social media strategists—Gore is handling this one all on her own.

“The winner for each round won’t be announced until the very end of the night, when people will vote on social media for their favorite performance,” Gore says. “Then, on the final night, we will announce the winner, who will be able to open for a comedian from the area who has made it to the big time.”

As of now, there are 40 performers registered for the event, including Woodbridge-based comedian Brandon Moore, Woo Woo The Comedian, Davine Ker and more. While registration is still open, the official lineup and schedule for where to go for some unforgettable laughs will be finalized by the end of this week. Visit gnovacomedyfest.com for more details.

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