W. Kamau Bell.

Bumbershoot 2014 is taking a decidedly highbrow approach to its 2014 comedy lineup. The just announced comedic offerings look to offer up plenty of laughs and maybe, just maybe, they'll also make patrons think. Headlining the festivities is Eugene Mirman's StarTalk podcast, a show focused on exploring scientific ideas with a humorous kick. Bill Nye will bring the facts to pair with Mirman's jokes when he fills in as guest cohost in the place of regular StarTalk cohost Neil deGrasse Tyson. Literary buffs can check out Paul F. Thompkins The Dead Authors Podcast, where Thompkins plays a time traveling H.G. Wells who goes back in time to have conversations with other comedians playing famous deceased writers. Chicago's the Improvised Shakespeare Company also makes a stop at Bumbershoot 2014 to perform entirely madeup plays in the style of the Bard of Avon based merely on an audience suggestions.

For those just wanting to turn off their brains, annual Bumbershoot fixture Doug Benson returns with his uber-stoned humor and his Doug Loves Moves podcast. Anyone looking for a more traditional comedy expereience can catch standup sets by W. Kamau Bell, Matt Braunger, Rory Scovel, Beth Stelling, Ted Alexandro, and more.

There's also a plenty of Northwest comedy on the slate. Highlights include Unexpected Production's Piggyback (where a three-act play is improvised based on a standup performance before each act), the character comedy of Portland's ALL CAPS, the self-explanatory Seattle People Doing Sketch (which features Emmett Montgomery), and a showcase of local standups from Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland. Northwest comedy gets new, bigger Bumbershoot home this year as the stage moves into the Leo K. Theatre.

Tickets for Bumbershoot are on sale now at Bumbershoot.org. Festival passes range from $120–$575, while single day tickets run $50–$230.

Bumbershoot 2014
Aug 30–Sept 1, Seattle Center, Festival pass $120–$575; Single-day tickets $50–$230

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