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The Early Draft: Hell Yes Fest: Watch like a comedian (Part 3)

Comedian and show producer Derek Dupuy

Comedian and show producer Derek Dupuy

I know, it hurts. This unseasonable cold snap has got you scurrying around, butt-cheeks clenched, hating everyone you see. Fear not, dear reader. For there is a way out. There exists a place in this city where, night after night, strangers are gathering to bask in warmth, joy and laughter. No, I’m not talking about my cult (I told you, I stopped going to that, and it wasn’t even technically a “cult”). I’m talking, of course, about Hell Yes Fest. Running Nov 12 - 16, the fest presents a mix of local and national comedy acts sure to warm the iciest of hearts.

In our third profile of the fest, #TheEarlyDraft talks to comedian and show producer Derek Dupuy about his picks for this year’s Hell Yes Fest. Derek is co-founder and former artistic director of The New Movement. He also travels the country performing sketch comedy with sketch/improv group Stupid Time Machine. You can see him perform at HYF at The Shadowbox Theatre on Saturday Nov 15 at 9 p.m. with the improv group Super Computer.

Dupuy’s Hell Yes Fest picks:

Vanessa Gonzalez + Oakwood Glenn: Friday, November 14, 9 p.m. at The New Movement (2706 St. Claude)

Austin-based comedian, Vanessa Gonzales performs a selection from her new solo sketch show “I Don’t Know Dating.” The show is headlined by Oakwood Glenn, a solo sketch show created by co-founder of The New Movement Tami Nelson. “Vanessa Gonzalez is hands-down one of the funniest people I’ve ever met,” says Dupuy. “She just commits to these hilarious premises in a way that really disarms the audience. Tami Nelson set a new standard for all of us this year with her solo show. Her character work is spellbinding, and she manages to weave story and character effortlessly.”

Quiet on the Set: Friday, November 14, 10:30 p.m. at Shadowbox Theatre (2400 St. Claude)

Dupuy describes this all-silent improv show as “Charlie Chaplin meets Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The show features two elderly hosts who invite the audience into their living room to view their favorite silent films -- all created on the spot by some of the city’s best improvisers joined by Second City’s Tim and Micah.

At Hell Yes Fest events, Derek says he watches for:

The total package.

“Whether it's improv or sketch, I love watching performers whose performance power matches the strength of their ideas,” says Dupuy. From teaching, performing and traveling the country doing comedy Dupuy has met plenty of funny people. “There are actors who can perform the hell out of a script and idea people who can nail a premise. But when you see a performer can do both of those things, it’s like watching a magic show.” And if anyone knows magic shows, it’s certainly Derek Dupuy.

CJ Hunt is a comedy writer and performer living in New Orleans. His NolaVie blog and personal brand, The Early Draft, is dedicated to comedians-in-the-making. It’s a look into the career decisions and creative processes of funny people chasing the dream. You will hear from comedians with big names. And those with names you haven’t heard of…yet. Check back each week for a look into that weird cluttered back-room workshop where comedians are made. Watch CJ work at GOcjhunt.com. Follow him on Twitter @gocjhunt.