W. Kamau Bell, Carmen Lynch, Rory Scovel (top), and Ted Alexandro.

Once something of an afterthought, comedy has ascended to Bumbershoot's best reason for being. This year's lineup is packed with the hottest-shit comedy stars of the day, alongside beloved locals, most performing multiple times. Here's a mercilessly concise guide to every single comedy act appearing at Bumbershoot 2014, telling you what everything is, when it's happening, and why you should go see it.

StarTalk Live! with Bill Nye and Eugene Mirman

WHAT: A modified version of Neil deGrasse Tyson's podcast, in which comedians, scientists, and celebrities discuss the intersection of science and pop culture. For Bumbershoot, Tyson's hosting duties will be assumed by local hero Bill Nye the Science Guy.

WHEN: Sat, 2:30 pm; Sun, 2:30 pm; Comedy at the Bagley

WHY: Alongside the brainy charms of Bill Nye will be the hilarious geekery of Eugene Mirman, plus as-yet-unnamed "cerebral and celebrated guests."

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

WHAT: A critically acclaimed Midwestern improv troupe trafficking in made-up Shakespeare.

WHEN: Sat, 6:30 pm; Sun, 6:30 pm; Mon, 6:30 pm; Comedy at the Bagley

WHY: Time Out Chicago calls them "staggeringly brilliant... smart, sophisticated, [and] downright hilarious."

Paul F. Tompkins's Dead Authors Podcast

WHAT: A live taping of the popular podcast in which dapper comedian Paul F. Tompkins pretends to be H. G. Wells, and uses his time machine to bring forth long-dead authors, who are subjected to onstage interviews.

WHEN: Sat, 4:45 pm, Comedy at the Bagley; Sun, 8 pm, Comedy at the Playhouse; Mon, 4:45 pm, Comedy at the Bagley

WHY: Tompkins is delightful, and all the dead authors he interviews are played by comedic performers you probably know and love.

Pete Holmes

WHAT: A popular stand-up comedian who happens to share a name with the Seattle city attorney.

WHEN: Sat, 4:30 pm; Sun, 6:15 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Not only is he an acclaimed comic, but he also provides the voice of the baby in the E*Trade commercials!

Doug Loves Movies

WHAT: A live taping of the podcast in which stoner comedian Doug Benson interviews a surprise guest about "his first love—movies."

WHEN: Sun, 4:45 pm, Comedy at the Bagley

WHY: Stoners always have the best film insights.

W. Kamau Bell

WHAT: The star of the brilliant-but-canceled FX series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell does his brilliant, sociology-enhanced stand-up.

WHEN: Sat, 6:15 pm; Sun, 2:45 pm; Mon, 1 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Not only will you laugh, you'll be made smarter.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

WHAT: A live taping of the podcast in which comedian Pete Holmes interviews other comedians.

WHEN: Mon, 3 pm, Comedy at the Bagley

WHY: Holmes is beloved for his vast personal openness and ridiculous laugh, and Bumbershoot will give him an exemplary talent pool from which to draw interview subjects.

Ted Alexandro

WHAT: An acclaimed comedian you've seen all over your television (from The View to Inside Amy Schumer).

WHEN: Sun, 1 pm; Mon, 2:45 pm and 6:15 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Besides being beloved by all the comedians you love, he's been heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement!

Matt Braunger

WHAT: A Chicago-based comic now making splashes all over the national comedy scene.

WHEN: Sat, 2:45 pm; Sun, 4:30 pm; Mon, 8 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: The Onion's A.V. Club praises his "gleeful energy" and fanciful surreality.

Beth Stelling

WHAT: A Chicago-based comic now making splashes all over the national comedy scene.

WHEN: Sun, 1 pm; Mon, 4:30 pm and 6:45 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Not only is she the former Humorous Interpretation champion of Ohio, she recently "won the internet" on Chris Hardwick's @Midnight!

Rory Scovel

WHAT: A South Carolina comic who's not afraid to do lots of funny voices.

WHEN: Sat, 1 pm; Sun, 6:15 pm; Mon, 4:30 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Among his many fans is Jack White, the seemingly humorless owner of Third Man Records, which released a Scovel comedy LP in 2013.

Carmen Lynch

WHAT: An ambitiously bilingual comic (she's half-Spanish) who's performed her stand-up all over your TV.

WHEN: Sat, 4:30 pm; Sun, 6:15 pm; Mon, 2:45 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: Her recent set on Letterman was so hilarious it drove Marlo Thomas to write about it on the Huffington Post.

Brooks Wheelan

WHAT: The rare stand-up comedian who has a degree in biomedical engineering AND was recently fired from the cast of Saturday Night Live.

WHEN: Sat, 6:15 pm; Sun, 2:45 pm; Mon, 1 pm; Comedy at the Playhouse

WHY: He's way funnier than SNL ever let him be.

The Doppelganger Show

WHAT: The brainchild of Seattle comics Jeremy Horn and Nam Huynh, in which comedians perform sets and then immediately re-perform each other's sets.

WHEN: Mon, 7:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Watching comedians impersonate other comedians is fascinating.

All Caps Comedy

WHAT: A harmonious tribe of Portland stand-ups, actors, musicians, and sketch comedians devoted to character-based comedy.

WHEN: Sun, 7:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Characters appearing at Bumbershoot range from the sweet satanist Sugar Plum Gary to the creatrix and kombucha brewer Winter Menuka Bhakti Tatum.

Piggyback

WHAT: A stand-up-meets-improv extravaganza in which performers improvise a three-act play based on the sets of three stand-up comedians.

WHEN: Sat, 7:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: The show's been delighting audiences at Seattle's Unexpected Productions since 2013.

Comedy on Trial

WHAT: A Seattle-based stand-up competition where the audience judges the performers.

WHEN: Mon, 5:45 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Involving yourself in democracy is important.

PDX Comedy Block Party

WHAT: Three acclaimed Portland stand-ups—Whitney Streed, JoAnn Schinderle, and Andie Main—join forces for a showcase.

WHEN: Sun, 5:45 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Besides their hilarity, it's awesome that these comics don't present themselves as "ladies of comedy!" or any of that shit. (When was the last time you saw anyone hype a "male comic showcase"?)

Laughs Comedy Spot Showcase

WHAT: A showcase of Seattle comics, presented by Kirkland's Laughs Comedy Spot.

WHEN: Sat, 5:45 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: All the performers—Duane Goad, Cameron Mazzuca, Brett Hamil, Brian Moote, and Jonas Barnes—are beloved Laughs regulars.

Wine Shots: Comedy's Happiest Hour

WHAT: A comedy cabaret conceived by and starring Seattle's Elicia Sanchez, Sarah Skilling, and Jennifer Burdette.

WHEN: Mon, 4 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Among the regular delights are stand-up comedy, movie monologues, and performances by the all-female Michael Bolton cover band, Lightning Bolton.

Out & In

WHAT: Seattle's popular LGBT comedy showcase, hosted by Nick Sahoyah.

WHEN: Sun, 4 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Queers are designed by God to be hilarious.

The Comedy Womb

WHAT: The female-friendly "safe space" of comedy that also manages to be reliably hilarious.

WHEN: Sat, 4 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: You won't hear any rape jokes.

Seattle People Doing Sketch

WHAT: A conglomeration of Seattle comic performers doing sketch comedy.

WHEN: Mon, 2:15 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Among the players are comic Emmett Montgomery, sketch duos Love Snack and Now with Dames, and performance art duo Gude/Laurance.

Punchline Comedy

WHAT: The popular amateur comedy night, relocated from Jai Thai on Broadway to Bumbershoot.

WHEN: Sun, 2:15 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: All the Punchline Comedy with none of the fried-oil smell.

NW Comedy Fest's Canadians of Comedy

WHAT: A bunch of funny Canadians, exported to Bumbershoot!

WHEN: Sat, 2:15 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: Canadians mock themselves better than anyone.

The Early Late Show with Yogi Paliwal

WHAT: According to its creators and producers Yogi Paliwal and Chris Leher, "The Early Late Show sets out to combine artisanal, hand-crafted sketch comedy with cruelty-free stand-up in a late-night-show format."

WHEN: Mon, 12:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: They really go all-out with aping the late-show format, from warm-up comedians to musical guests.

Comedy Mystery Mutants

WHAT: A comedy variety show with its eye on the weird and seedy.

WHEN: Sun, 12:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: It's fun to squirm alongside your fellow humans.

Comedy Grab Bag

WHAT: A Portland comedy extravaganza led by Jay Flewelling and Kimberly Brady and built around revolving themes.

WHEN: Sat, 12:30 pm, Comedy at the Leo K.

WHY: The Bumbershoot theme is "Variety Show," including improv, stand-up, sketch comedy, and video. recommended