Comedy Festival adds to roster

Izzard, Sykes to join Seinfeld, DeGeneres

HBO and AEG Live have fleshed out the roster for the third annual Las Vegas-hosted Comedy Festival, adding name-brand stand-ups including Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Jamie Kennedy, Bill Burr and Marc Maron to a list that already included Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres.

Trumpeting these additions, Seinfeld and Rock held a somewhat surreal teleconference with reporters where they discussed their plans for the fest, which runs Nov. 14-17 at Caesars Palace — or, rather, their lack of plans.

“You know, you guys are all about the future,” quipped Seinfeld, who has acts slated for Friday and Saturday night at the festival. “But we’re comedians, we’re kind of loose.”

For his part, Rock, who follows Seinfeld both nights at Caesars’ Colosseum venue, admitted only to having the opening of his act worked out. “‘What’s up, Vegas?’ I’m gonna open with that,” he said.

With HBO’s more industry-targeted U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in limbo, Seinfeld and Rock were asked to asses the significance of the Vegas event, which now stands out as America’s only major laughs confab.

Seinfeld framed his answer in typically existential terms.

“I don’t know if there’s a need for any of this,” he remarked. “This whole industry is kind of unnecessary; it’s a whole career based on convincing people that they need you. But I suppose it’s good when people are forced together in these places.”

Still, both comedians seemed to derive purpose and fulfillment from the bathroom-stall-centered scandal involving Idaho Sen. Larry Craig.

“This is one of the greatest things that ever happened (to stand-up comedy),” declared Seinfeld, who pondered the odds of such a sting operation netting a U.S. senator. What, he wondered, factored into the undercover cop who arrested Craig to decide, “I’m just sit on this toilet and wait?”

Asked if their close Comedy Festival collaboration is leading to Rock and Seinfeld to plan any joint projects, Rock intuitively stuck his tongue in his cheek and noted, “We’ve talked about doing ‘Brian’s Song.'”

Responded Seinfeld: “Yeah, and I want to play Gale Sayers, so that’s what’s holding that up.”

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