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Tom Cotter, Rocky LaPorte to headline 2016 Great American Comedy Festival

March 8, 2016
March 8, 2016

Tom CotterAn all-star lineup of comedians will be coming to Norfolk in June to headline the 2016 Great American Comedy Festival.

Tom Cotter will be returning to the comedy festival to headline the festival’s gala finale on Saturday, June 18. He’ll be joined in Norfolk by Rocky LaPorte, who will headline the festival shows on Thursday, June 16, and Friday, June 17. And Tony V – a finalist at last year’s festival – will return to host the Thursday and Friday performances.

“We’re excited to be bringing a mixture of familiar faces and new faces to this year’s festival. Get ready to laugh,” said Lori Williams, the festival’s executive director.

Tom Cotter, who has performed at the festival twice in the past, was the first comedian to ever reach the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” finishing as runner-up. He’s had his own special on Comedy Central, won several comedy festivals throughout the nation and has been seen on “The Tonight Show,” “Last Comic Standing” and “The Today Show.”

“We are so honored to have Tom Cotter as our headliner this year,” said Eddie Brill, the festival’s artistic director. “His meteoric rise to the top of the comedy world is no accident. His well-crafted material and unique delivery is wowing audiences all over the world. This is one festival you do not want to miss.”

Rocky LaPorte’s appeal comes from his everyman, clean, streetwise style of comedy. He’s become one of the most sought-after comedians after being a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” He was a featured comic on Showtime’s The Godfathers of Comedy, has appeared in two movies with Tim Allen and recently traveled with Drew Carey to entertain U.S. troops in Iraq. He also has filmed his own Comedy Center special.

“Rocky LaPorte is, hands down, one of the funniest comics in this country. His charming, clean and insightful comedy will have the audience in stitches,” Brill said.

Rounding out the 2016 festival lineup is Tony V, who was among the top comedians at last year’s festival in Norfolk and is returning this year to serve as the host for the professional competition. Along with being a popular headliner at clubs and colleges across the nation. Tony V has worked with Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, Stephen wright and Adam Sandler.

“In all my years of comedy, the best host I have ever worked with is Tony V. He’s hilarious, and knows how to move a show a long with expertise,” Brill said. “His integrity and his willingness to work with and mentor younger comics fits right in with what we do here in Norfolk.”

In its ninth year, the festival – which has been voted in the past as Nebraska’s top tourism event – continues its mission of paying tribute to the legacy of Johnny Carson, who grew up in Norfolk.

The festival will again feature a comedy-magic show on Wednesday, June 15, for persons of all ages; and comedy showcases on Thursday, June 16, and Friday, June 17, featuring performances by 20 up-and-coming comedians from across the nation.

The Saturday, June 18, finale also will feature the presentation of the annual Johnny Carson Comedy Legend award. “It’s going to be another funny, special year for the festival,” said Michael Brogan, festival chairman. “You won’t want to miss it.”

Want to learn more?

For more information about the 2016 festival, go to

Tickets are expected to be available for purchase online as of early April.