The Hawaii Comedy Festival

About Us

Established in 2014, The Hawaii Comedy Festival (formerly known as The Hawaii Sketch Comedy Festival) is a showcase of original comedy highlighting work by Local, Hawaii-based comedians, writers, directors, and actors.

Our mission is to support creative entrepreneurs at every level. One major bonus? The gift of laughter for all involved. In heavy times, what better way to escape and find joy for a moment than by building a joke and hearing a stranger’s laugh? It’s music to our ears.

Hawaii-Based Creatives

Since its inception, The Hawai’i Comedy Festival Start-Up Team (a small group of aspiring Hawaii-based comedy writers) has written and produced five live sketch comedy shows and nine original musical comedies, including Windbreaker: The Musical by Ixchel Lopez, Crazy Karaoke Asians by Kimee Balmilero, Colonize Me by Sean Joseph Choo, and Starbucks: The Musical by Anette Aga. 

The festival has also hosted Honolulu-based comedy acts, including stand-ups Jasmine Bautista, Michael Madsen, Fernando Pacheco, and Ray Lamay, as well as local comedy troupes Improv Hawai’i, Oil in the Alley, and Boyz II Badd.

In 2021, The Hawai’i Comedy Festival conceived and co-produced the first-ever Polynesian AF comedy variety show with our partners at Asian AF The program featured original live and filmed comedic sketches, music, and stand-up comedy with an all-Polynesian cast, including popular local comedians Tumua and James Mane and Brook Mahealani Lee – the only Native Hawaiian Miss Universe to date.

Mentors and Special Guests

Over the years, The Hawai’i Comedy Festival has enlisted the minds of professional comedic mentors such as Kathryn Burns (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Key, and Peele), Zach Reino (UCB, Off Book Podcast), and Will Choi (creator of Asian A.F.) to guide our local talent. The festival received public support from comedic icons like Wayne Brady and Bill Burr in its first year.

Other special guest performers include J.R. De Guzman (Netflix, Jo Koy Gala), Kevin Camia (Late Night with Stephen Colbert), Amy Hill (Magnum PI), Ian Anthony Dale (Hawaii Five-0), Filipino AF (San Francisco Sketch Fest, Upright Citizens Brigade), and Sam Brown (Whitest Kids You Know).

To commemorate its tenth year and to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Hawai’i Comedy Festival premiered the first-ever AAPI AF Show at The Doris Duke Theatre. A two-hour comedy variety event showcasing the talent and work of an all Asian-American and Pacific Islander cast – the show featured talent from the Los Angeles casts of Asian AF, Filipino AF, South Asian AF, Gaysian AF, and our very own Polynesian AF based here in Honolulu, as well as other local performers from Improv Hawai’i.

About Our Founder

Filipino American and Hawai’i-born actor, Kimee Balmilero is best known for her role as Medical Examiner Dr. Noelani Cunha on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. In 2022, she was cast opposite of comedian Jo Koy in the ABC pilot Josep, playing his sister Geraldine. Josep was the first TV pilot by a major network to feature a Filipino American family.

Other credits include Doogie Kameloha MD on Disney+, Two Tickets To Paradise on The Hallmark Channel, and the Original Broadway Cast of Mamma Mia. Since returning home, Kimee has launched several creative ventures, including The Hawai’i Comedy Festival, Improv Hawaii, and Tiny Stage Hawai’i.

Our Non-Profit Partner

The Hawaii Comedy Festival’s mission is to elevate Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs by providing business skills, guidance and platforms to produce and showcase their original work. Linking up with the 501(c)3 non-profit iD8 was a perfect fit as they’re fiercely dedicated to championing creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.