Donnie Marsh performing at The Comedy Catch. (Photo: Contributed)

As the city’s music scene continues to receive accolades and national attention, the local stand-up comedy scene is also quietly building a similar reputation for quality. A new local and regional festival hopes to highlight the scene this fall.

The Lookout Comedy Festival will be Oct. 11-13 at several venues throughout the city, including JJ’s Bohemia, The Honest Pint, The Comedy Catch and more.

Festival organizer Donnie Marsh said the inaugural event will be small by design. Marsh is the host of Chatt Talk Tonight, a monthly show at the Palace Theater.


He’s been working on the idea for a Chattanooga comedy festival for more than two years.

“The first year for me is about earning credibility,” Marsh said. “Chattanooga has a lot of excellent regional comics that have 15 to 20 minutes [of material] that are as good as anybody working.”

A full list of performers will be announced soon. So far, comics Natasha Ferrier, Luke Marter, Bridgitte Martin, Trevor Lynn and Ryan Darling will participate.

Marsh said comics for the first festival will be by invite-only, but he encourages comedians to send their video clips and inquires for future consideration. The contact page is here. 

There are a bunch of different facets to the local and regional comedy,” Marsh said. “I think it’ll be a great time to showcase the venues that support local comedy.”

The festival will highlight various aspects of the local comedy scene, everything from regular open-mics and comedy showcases to improv groups and role-playing comedy.

Marsh is seeking local sponsorships for the inaugural festival.