BY NATHAN PAYNE
— TRAVERSE CITY — Stand-up comic, talk show host and movie star Rosie O’Donnell will headline this year’s Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival.
Festival officials announced of partial list of performers, including O’Donnell’s upcoming appearance early today, but won’t release a full list of about 20 comedians who will perform during the three-day festival that begins Feb. 13.
“We’re pretty excited; it should be a pretty good show,” said Deb Lake, executive director for the Traverse City Film Festival. “Almost everybody knows who Rosie O’Donell is.”
O’Donnell’s appearance holds true to the high profile of headliners from the first thee years of the festival which included Rosanne Bar and Bob Saget, Lake said.
But the big names might not be the most exciting for comedy fans who might recognize other lesser-known names in this year’s lineup. Others on the roster this year include Michael Ian Black, Tig Notaro and Tim Meadows.
“I think they’re going to be really excited about who’s coming,” Lake said. “It’s a really strong lineup, probably the strongest lineup in the four years we’ve done it.”
Lake was quick to point out that Meadows, for instance, was the longest-running cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and is well known for his character, The Ladies Man.
The Film Festival again partnered with the National Cherry Festival to produce the winter comedy spree and free winter activities that take over Front Street during the festival. This year free activities will expand into a second block of the main drag and will include a new dual-zipline that will allow riders to fly above downtown Traverse City.
Organizers still are finalizing their list of comedians and will announce a final lineup next week, Lake said.
Tickets to the shows go on sale Jan. 31 at noon online at www.wintercomedy.org or at the State Theatre box office.