A shirtless Chris Trew invites you to Hell Yes Fest, which begins tonight.
  • A shirtless Chris Trew invites you to Hell Yes Fest, which begins tonight.

When's the last time you saw live comedy in New Orleans? I don't mean Sinbad at Mahalia Jackson Theater. I don't mean Chris Tucker at the UNO Lakefront Arena. I mean local comics, improv groups and open-mic nighters, or touring and New Orleans comics in comedy theaters, smokey clubs, pizza joints and bars, while servers call out orders for Vietnamese food between laughs.

If your answer is somewhere around an "I don't remember" or "Never, ever," you can cram in dozens of performances, beginning tonight through Saturday, via Hell Yes Fest.

Hell Yes Fest begins tonight, bringing together not only the local comedy circuit but also national acts, from Upright Citizens Brigade and Improv Olympic alumni to rising standup stars.

The four-night festival is curated by Chris Trew, (the future New Orleans Hornets owner) who founded the Austin- (and now New Orleans-) based comedy theater The New Movement (TNM). Featured performers include Moshe Kasher, Sears Tower, Zach and Zach, Laughter Against the Machine and dozens others.

I'm not going to reflect on the "future of New Orleans comedy" like it's a thing that didn't exist until today. It was a small scene, compared to the massive comedy hubs of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles — but equally hilarious. Now it's growing, thanks to The New Movement, and open mic hosts like Scotland Green, die hards like Dane Faucheaux and the Henehan Twins, and performance spaces like Shadowbox Theatre, welcoming younger audiences and performers. With Hell Yes Fest, there's now an annual showcase for all that local talent.

The shows will bounce from Republic (828 S. Peters St., tonight only) to St. Claude Avenue's Shadowbox Theatre (2400 St. Claude Ave.) and the recently opened Cafe Istanbul (2372 St. Claude Ave.), with a bonus show at the Hi-Ho Lounge (2239 St. Claude Ave.). Hit the jump for a full schedule.

Laughter Against the Machine
  • Laughter Against the Machine

Wednesday, Nov. 9:

Moshe Kasher, Chris Trew and Dane Faucheaux

9 p.m. Republic New Orleans

Thursday, Nov. 10:

Improv Mini-Marathon:

TNM Level 2 Recital, The Filmores, Awkward Headbutt, Claws with Fangs, 7 p.m.

Disco Box (Austin), Stupid Time Machine, Laser Heart (Austin), 8:30 p.m.

Chris and Tami, Dance Crisis, A-Train (Chicago), 9:30 p.m.

Shadowbox Theatre

Friday, Nov. 11:

TNM Houston, Boy Butter (NYC)

8 p.m., Shadowbox Theatre

Cyrus/Drew, Personality Plus, High-5 Boys, Lucas Bros (NYC), Zach & Zach (NYC), Karl Hess (L.A.)

9 p.m., Cafe Istanbul

TNM Austin, Sears Tower (Chicago)

9:30 p.m., Shadowbox Theatre

Laughter Against the Machine

10:30 p.m., Cafe Istanbul

Battle Rap Royale After-Party

Hi-Ho Lounge

Saturday, Nov. 12:

Spirit Desire (Austin), Tesla (NYC)

8 p.m., Shadowbox Theatre

Shawn Dugas, Rob Gagnon (Austin), CJ Hunt, Leon Blanda, Scotland Green, Vacation Jason (Bahamas), Zach Broussard (NYC)

9 p.m, Cafe Istanbul

Handbomb (Austin), Whirled News Tonight (Chicago)

9:30 p.m., Shadowbox Theatre

Cassidy Henehan, Neal Stastny (NYC), Kath Barbadaro (Austin), Sean Patton (NYC)

10:30 p.m., Cafe Istanbul

Shows are $10; the Bad Ass Pass is $55 and includes entry to all shows and priority seating.