Laughter is good medicine and not just for the audiences who guffaw at the jokes, but also for clubs, resorts, and cities. The funny business of live comedy shows and festivals generated about $300 million a year in 2014, according to Billboard. Resorts have taken notice as more and more of them offer comedy getaways.
Some events, such as Williamsburg, VA’s Kingsmill Comedy Weekend takes place during their off season in February as a way to boost business but other joke-fests take center stage during prime time such as Telluride’s Comedy Festival in February’s ski season. Here are some festivals where you can laugh your worries away, at least for a little while.
Just for Laughs Resort Week, Nov. 8 -14, Royalton Riviera Cancun, Mexico
The resort’s first-ever comedy week features Saturday Night Live’s Jim Breuer, Alonzo Bodden (winner of season three of Last Comic Standing), Comedy Central alums Ryan Hamilton and Pete Correale, as well as magician Ben Seidman, a resident magician at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. Some shows target all ages and others aim at adults.
Recover from side-splitting laughs by sunning and swimming. An all-inclusive property, Royalton Riviera Cancun (pictured above and at top) offers accommodations for families as well as adults-only rooms at Hideaway at Royalton Rivera Cancun, a boutique property within the larger Royalton Riviera Cancun. From $1,200 for a four-night stay.
Comedy @ Kiawah, Jan. 29-30, 2016, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, SC
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, a family-oriented golf and tennis property, promises two nights of “clean comedy.” Comics include Andy Woodhull and Don Friesen, who have appeared on Comedy Central, plus Pete Lee, a Last Comic Standing contestant and performer on the David Letterman show.
Kiawah, a 10,000-acre barrier island off the South Carolina coast, features 10 miles of beaches and a Lowcountry landscape of lagoons, marshes and forests of pine, palmetto and live oak trees. Stay in condominiums (villas), detached homes and a hotel. Rates from $169 per person.
Telluride Comedy Festival, Feb. 11-14, 2016, Telluride, CO
The Telluride Comedy Festival is going into its 17th year. While this year’s comics won’t be announced until December or January, last year’s lineup featured Paul Scheer from ABC’s sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, and Rob Huebel, known for his sketch work on the MTV series Human Giant. The event promises off-the-slopes giggles and guffaws.
Telluride, a picturesque town surrounded by the snowcapped mountains, is known for its 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and its upscale accommodations, although less expensive lodging options are available too. Choose your lodging and book your seats to specific comedy events. Tickets range from $30-$125.
Kingsmill Resort Comedy Weekend, February 12-14, 2016, Williamsburg, VA
Designed to beat the winter blues with belly laughs, Kingsmill offers two nights of comedy, plus use of the resort’s indoor pool and gym. Laugh masters include Andy Woodhull, who has appeared on Comedy Central; Keith Alberstadt, a contributing writer for Saturday Night Live; Kerri Louise, a finalist on Last Comic Standing; Lachlan Patterson, a runner-up on Last Comic Standing; and Bengt Washburn, winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition.
Kingsmill, a AAA 4-Diamond condominium resort, sprawls on 2,900 acres along the James River. From $225 per night per couple, two-night minimum, includes lodging, breakfast, and comedy tickets for two nights.