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Female First Friday 

Kay Cannon posing for a picture

Who says it is hard to find great women in comedy? Join us for an incredible line-up including Kay Cannon (Writer/Producer of the Pitch Perfect series), Saskia Maas (CEO of Boom Chicago), Stacey Smith (Festival Artistic Director and Boom Chicago Cast), Shantira Jackson (Writer for The Amber Ruffin Show), Biddy Kemery (Boom Chicago Cast / Stage Manager) and top international talent in What Can’t She Do? our Female-first variety show.

The program:

  • It’s 5:00 o’clock Somewhere Happy Hour with drinks and snacks in the Festival Bar from 17:00-18:00
  • Then we move on with a very exciting Comedy Conversation with Kay Cannon from 18:00-19:00 hosted by Saskia Maas and Stacey Smith
  • At 19:45 the night continues with the headline show What Can’t She Do? a variety show hosted by Biddy Kemery and Stacey Smith
  • Finally at 22:00 we have Womance; a musical improv duo comprised of best friends, Shantira Jackson and Stacey Smith. 

Get a ticket for all three shows!


Mixer Team with Ella Galt: The Big Picture
11:00 – 16:30 Main Hall

a woman smiling for the camera

Symmetry, depth, perspective- all words one might associate with a painting more than an improv performance, yet these elements are what make up our world. This is what the audience sees when they watch your show. The images we present to the audience affect how they interpret our work, while the physical choreography informs everything from a character’s emotional perspective, to the action of the scene itself.


Acting for Improvisers:
Workshop with Sue Harrison
13:00 – 16:00 Student Hotel

a close up of a person

Good acting comes from being in the moment, and in this workshop we’ll hold a space where participants can do just that; where they can connect with each other, put aside the rules of form and structure, and simply play. We’ll look at playing relationships, listening, connecting, sitting in the pauses and giving and receiving emotional offers. 

Level: Intermediate (at least 1 year of improv experience)
Participants: 12


De Speld Writing Workshop (in Dutch)
14:30 – 17:00 Upstairs Theater


Always wanted to know what it’s like to laugh? Then we have good news. For people just like you, De Speld developed the Humor Writing Workshop. The workshop is given by writers and performers from De Speld and is packed with examples of the best humor from the website. You will learn their style of comedy writing in a few hours, but hey: No starting your own website! This workshop is in Dutch. 


A Comedy Conversation with Kay Cannon
18:00 Main Hall

Kay Cannon in a blue shirt

Kay Cannon just finished writing and directing the upcoming musical comedy Cinderella for Disney, which will be in movie theaters during the festival. Arriving with high expectations, the film could crack the top 10 of highest grossing movies ever with a female director.

She received rave reviews for her debut screenplay, the 2012 acapella comedy Pitch Perfect starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson. Kay then wrote and co-produced the follow-up hits Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3. 

Kay directed the groundbreaking Blockers in 2018 starring Boom alums Ike Barinholtz and Colton Dunn. Blockers updated the teenage sex genre for a modern era, paving the way for films like Booksmart

On TV, she was writer and producer for NBC’s 30 Rock (2007–2012), the FOX comedy series New Girl (2012–2014) and Girlboss (2017) for Netflix.

Kay performed in Boom Chicago from 1999-2001 in the era with Brendan Hunt, Liz Cackowski, Ike Barinholtz, and Jason Sudeikis. She helped create Live at the Leidseplein: Your Privacy is our Business, the first major live comedy show anywhere with (secret) cameras, screens and a video director. She also worked with Saskia Maas in Boom’s corporate show department during its infancy.

Join us for a fascinating and funny discussion of comedy, Hollywood and her time in Amsterdam with Boom Chicago owner Saskia Maas and Festival Artistic Director Stacey Smith live. A Comedy Conversation with Kay Cannon is on Friday, July 30, live from Boom Chicago at 18:00. The show will also be presented as a high quality live stream at 18:00 Amsterdam |17:00 London |12:00 New York | 11:00 Chicago | 9:00 Los Angeles. 

The Comedy Conversation Series
For seven consecutive nights during the festival, we present a Comedy Conversation with a different Boom Chicago alum. These Q&A’s will be streamed live from Boom Chicago on the Rozengracht with the hosts and a live in-theater audience. The guests will join us from New York and LA.


Musical Madness
19:30 Upstairs Theater

a group of people on a stage

Two opposite acts on the same stage. Solitaire is (you guessed it) a solo show where the fantastic Nick Condon improvises all parts of a rich story — by himself. Then Fallen Sundays, the premiere musical improv from Denmark, takes the stage with many actors and multiple musicians to perform a true grand finale.

Host: Special Guest. Featuring: Solitaire (US)  and The Fallen Sundays (DK)


What Can’t She Do? Variety Show
19:45 Main Hall

a woman sitting on a bench posing for the camera

A Comedy Super Showcase starring some of the funniest women in the world. Jo Vino starts with her signature dark standup. Chicagoan Holly Souchak follows with sharp character driven storytelling. And then the BCCF festival guests join forces to show what they can do. Spoiler alert: Everything! Guys don’t worry: Boom favorites Stacey Smith and Biddy Kemery host as Tad and Chad.

Featuring: Jo Vino, Holly Souchak (US), Heather Anne Campbell (Rick and Morty, Whose Line is it Anyway?), Ella Galt (Barcelona Improv Festival), Sue Harrison (Showstoppers), Shantira Jackson (Big Mouth, Amber Ruffin Show) and Katy Schutte (The Maydays)


Brexit Calling
21:30 Upstairs Theater

a sign on the side of a river

Three great UK comedy duos in a night of big comedy named after something none of them probably voted for. The UK pair Lois bring their absurd comedy to the BCCF after receiving the only 4 ⅓ star review ever at the Edinburgh Fringe (Theatre Review). McGathy & Miller’s unique and funny improv form shows a relationship in reverse. It starts with a breakup and then goes backwards until we see the cute way they met. And finally, Graham Dickson and Sophia Broido, founders of the FA in London, come to Amsterdam for a rare performance of their hit improvised Tennessee Williams play. 

Featuring: Lois, McGathy & Miller, Night at the Sweet Lagoon 


22:00 Main Hall

a couple of people posing for the camera

Womance is a musical improv duo comprised of best friends, Shantira Jackson and Stacey Smith. Shantira and Stacey have been working together for over a decade. Stacey is a current cast member of Boom Chicago and runs the Boom Academy and this festival. Shantira is currently a writer for Big Mouth and contributor for The Amber Ruffin Show. Together they’ve headlined the Detroit Women of Comedy Festival, the Omaha Improv Festival and the Miami Improv Festival.


Character Counts
23:30 Main Hall

a man talking on a cell phone

A top bill of funny comedians playing unforgettable characters in a late night setting.  Host: Simon L. Featuring: Matt Castellvi, Mr. Beige, Nikk Tetreault and Xiaoli Go


De Speld Comedy Quiz (in Dutch)
23:59 Main Hall



Hey Nederlanders! Which celebrity is officially NOT a virologist? What was the name of the documentary about Britney Spears that Ivo Niehe starred in? You’ll get the answer to these and many more questions in De Speld Newsquiz. After several online editions, with thousands of participants, the famous satirical website premieres their first in-person quiz at the Boom Chicago Comedy Festival. 

Host Michiel Eijsbouts takes you on a midnight journey filled with wonder and roaring laughter. Drinking makes you smarter, so don’t be left behind! The quiz, like all the world’s best comedy, is in Dutch.