Sonoma Laughfest brings a taste of L.A. to wine country

COURTESY // Brooke Tansley

The one thing that everyone on this earth loves to do is laugh, and if there’s one person that knows this best it’s Brooke Tansley. 

Tansley is responsible for Sonoma Laughfest, taking place Oct. 20-23. Tansley is executive producer of the second annual Sonoma Laughfest, a comedy festival that brings over a 100 comedians together from across the nation into one affordable experience for the community.

Tansley is no stranger to comedy, she has a rapport in acting and comedy that spans 26 years. She was apart of Amy Poehler’s “Upright Citizen Brigade,” an improvisational and sketch comedy group which laid the groundwork for what would eventually become Sonoma Laughfest. During her time with “Upright Citizen Brigade,” she met co-founder and best friend Kristen Rozanski.

Tansley originally came to Sonoma County in 2013 and eventually fell in love with the place. In her first six hours in Sonoma, she fell in love with a man that would eventually become her husband. As a result of these magical events, Tansley eventually moved to Sonoma. 

She was eager to find a way to connect with the community and become a part of it. Tansley noticed the area didn’t present her with things that she was heavily interested in. 

There weren’t a lot of things young people could do. She recalled when she lived in Los Angeles, there would be comedy shows twice a week that many people would attend. 

Tansley wanted to bring what she loved about L.A. to Sonoma. Tansley and Rozanski began working on a plan to bring all types of comedy, be it sketch, stand-up or improv to the local community.

Last years Laughfest was planned in a little over a month and a half. However, Tansley and Rozanski had much more time to plan and prepare this year. They wanted to go bigger and better. 

They put out the word they were searching for comedians, and over 600 hundred replied with videos of their work. 

A majority of the comedians have extensive backgrounds working on television, be it writing or acting. Tansley and Rozanski spent an entire week narrowing down their selected acts.

The chosen comedians have been featured on shows like “Broad City,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Modern Family” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!”

Tansley and Rozanski themselves have been featured on “Ugly Betty” and “Law and Order.”

Once the acts were chosen, it took a lot of coordination to get everything up and running. They had to schedule the acts, find housing and transportation for them, get sponsors and start marketing the event. 

At the heart of everything, it was really important to Tansley to make this as cheap and inexpensive for everyone in the community, especially the younger crowd. 

“So much in Sonoma is geared towards the luxury crowd,” said Tansley. “It was really important to me to make something for the community that was affordable.” 

Tickets start as low as $14 and even have multiple show passes that start at $39. The shows will be held at the Sonoma Community Center with three to four shows a day, offering plenty of times for those with busy schedules.

Why should you go to Sonoma Laughfest? Well, in the words of Tansley, “It’s an incredible opportunity to enjoy the show with the company you love, with the people you love and have a great time.” 

Visit for tickets and more info.