Dick Gregory, Aisha Tyler at Zanies highlight ‘Wild West Comedy Fest’

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Zanies Comedy Club will host two comedy superstars when this year’s ‘Wild West Comedy Fest’ comes to Nashville, featuring some of the funniest comedians in the world May 14-18. The historic Ryman Auditorium, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Jack White’s Third Man Records, and Zanies Nashville host festival performances. Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Productions is producing the festival in partnership with Nashville’s premiere concert promoter Outback Concerts.

Civil Right Activist and Comedian Dick Gregory takes the stage at Zanies Comedy Club for One Show only 7 pm, Wednesday, May 14, to kick off the Wild West Comedy Fest. Dick entered the national comedy scene in 1961 when he was booked at the Chicago’s Playboy Club as a replacement for White comedian, Professor Irwin Corey. He so won over audiences at the Playboy Club that his initial contract for several weeks was extended to three years.

By 1962, Dick was performing across the county and selling out nightclubs and starting to make television appearances. He became known as the ‘Black Mort Sahl’ while Mort became known as the ‘White Dick Gregory.’ Gregory drew on current events, especially the racial issues, for much of his material, e.g., ‘Segregation is not all bad. Have you ever heard of a collision where the people in the back of the bus got hurt?’ Through the 1960s, Gregory spent more time on social issues and less time on performing, and is passionate about his activism. He with his wife Lil are the parents of 10 children.

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler’s talent and versatility sparked her rapid ascent in Hollywood. Her hot-streak stint at the head of E! Entertainment’s Talk Soup landed her firmly in the Hollywood spotlight and revitalized the Emmy-winning show, which she was the first woman andAfrican American to captain. She is currently a co-host of CBS’ hit show The Talk, and voices the character of sexy superspy Lana on FX’s hit animated series Archer, currently in its fifth season of production. Aisha is the new host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? filling the role previously held by Drew Carey, as it returned to the CW becoming an immediate smash hit. Aisha is the creator and host of an award-winning podcast, Girl on Guy.

 

Roy Wood

Roy Wood

Ahmed Ahmed, Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin and Roy Wood, Jr. of TBS’s Sullivan and Son will all perform One Show Only at Zanies at 9 pm on Thursday, May 15. Other comedians coming to Zanies include Billy Gardell, Marc Maron, and Ralphie May. Other Fest acts include: Aziz Ansari, Chelsea Handler, Seth Meyers, Dennis Miller, Bill Burr, The Lonely Island, Demetri Martin, Rodney Carrington, Eugene Mirman, Daniel Kitson, The Tenderloins, Nick Swardson, BJ Novak, Vince Vaughn and more. Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick will bring a live taping of @Midnight to TPAC’s Polk Theatre Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 at 10 pm, CT. See www.wildwestcomedyfestival.com for details.