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Bentzen Ball Laugh it off

The nightlife denizens at Brightest Young Things had often served one purpose and one purpose alone: to tell young D.C. the location of The Party. But with 2009’s ambitious Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival, the empire that Svetlana Legetic built established itself as a media voice that multiple demographics could trust regarding the often underrepresented world of stand-up comedy. So the festival’s return after a four-year hiatus, albeit on a smaller scale, was welcome—mostly. A handful of local comics took to Twitter, though, suggesting that the District’s comedy scene was at best underrepresented and at worst misrepresented at the festival. Some went so far as to put on a competing show in protest. At least part of the vitriol was directed toward BYT employee Jenn Tisdale, who ultimately did not perform. On the flip side, many of the shows over the course of the weekend (including the opening night with curator Tig Notaro at the 9:30 Club) sold out, and both up-and-coming stars (Moshe Kasher, Jena Friedman) and reliable all-stars (Ira Glass, Wyatt Cenac) put on memorable, sidesplitting performances.

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