Big-name comedians to take the stage at big outdoor comedy festival in Cincinnati

The Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, the largest craft beer and stand-up comedy festival in America, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by focusing on Cincinnati breweries. CONTRIBUTED
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The Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, the largest craft beer and stand-up comedy festival in America, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by focusing on Cincinnati breweries. CONTRIBUTED

Michael Ian Black, who is co-headlining the annual Cincy Brew Ha-Ha festival this weekend (he performs Saturday night), is a familiar face for many people. You may have seen him in movies like "Wet Hot American Summer," or on "Celebrity Poker Showdown," or as one of the commentators on VH-1's "I Love The (insert decade)…" series. You may have even read one of his children's books to your kids.

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Michael Ian Black will co-headline the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha craft beer and comedy festival this weekend. CONTRIBUTED

Michael Ian Black will co-headline the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha craft beer and comedy festival this weekend. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Michael Ian Black will co-headline the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha craft beer and comedy festival this weekend. CONTRIBUTED

“I’m thrilled to do anything that doesn’t involve me working in a shoe store,” he said. “And that lets me nap in the afternoon.”

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Unlike many multi-faceted comics who insist that stand-up is their foremost identity, Black said he doesn’t consider himself to be any one thing over the other.

Caption
The Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, the largest craft beer and stand-up comedy festival in America, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by focusing on Cincinnati breweries. CONTRIBUTED

The Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, the largest craft beer and stand-up comedy festival in America, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by focusing on Cincinnati breweries. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
The Cincy Brew Ha-Ha, the largest craft beer and stand-up comedy festival in America, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by focusing on Cincinnati breweries. CONTRIBUTED

“It has a lot to do with having as much control over my career as I can,” he said. “I do as many things I feel capable of doing, and that gives me more options.”

Many comedians have complained about how political correctness and online outrage mobs have continued to encroach on stand-up comedy, supposedly the last space in America where you can cross the line on what you can say and joke about. Black himself has been involved in recent, highly publicized Twitter feuds with ex-adult film star, Jenna Jameson, and conservative blogger, Mike Cernovich, about Tweet jokes that Black made about pedophilia in the early 2010s. Yet Black is circumspect both about political correctness and social media, even though he says he’s on the receiving end of backlash every day.

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“I’d say Twitter has been more good than bad for me,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends and cool relationships. I’ve gotten work through Twitter. I think the criticism is fair because as a comedian you have to expect that any joke you make is going to live on in the public square. I think political correctness is more good than bad, too, because it makes you more thoughtful, which is a good thing. I’m glad I can still tell fart jokes.”

Black said he only became politically vocal recently. (“With Trump, it’s all hands on deck,” he said). Yet it seems for every political fight that goes badly, such as Black’s sparring with conservative commentator, Steven Crowder, on his podcast over whether rape culture exists, a more positive connection also happens, such as Black collaborating with Meghan McCain, daughter of Republican Sen. John McCain and co-host of “The View,” on a book.

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“I’ll debate with anybody as long as it’s in good faith,” he said. “I don’t know with Crowder. That podcast happened before #MeToo. After #MeToo, I contacted him, and he still claimed that sex crimes weren’t a serious problem. Meghan McCain and I met through Twitter. What brought us together was probably love of country, though from very different perspectives. Our (respective critics) consider us militant, but apparently we’re not militant enough to prevent us from being friends.”


WANT TO GO?

What: Cincy Brew Ha Ha

When: Aug. 24-25, 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday

Where: Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati

Cost: $5 (beer wristband), $1 = 1 beer ticket

More Info: www.cincybrewhaha.com

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