“Comedy is an art form, not a sport! – Interview with Kalman Pechy, Producer of Festival Comedy Stage SZIGET

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 The SZIGET Festival is over, unfortunately, but this year we found the happiest location to be on.  If you are planning to attend the SZIGET next year, don’t miss visiting the  Festival Comedy Stage – you won’t be disappointed if you want to meet with super funny, international star comedians.

Comedy is an art form, not a sport! Kalman Pechy the young and talented producer of the Festival Comedy Stage declares when we meet at the location.

Every comedian is unique, and its missing the point to think in terms of who is best. We choose comedians who are funny and original, and most suited to the international audience at Sziget.  We also choose comedians who are reliable and easy to deal with.  Some comedians are brilliant, but their humor might not travel if their references are too specific to their own country.  There are big stars in (for example) the UK, who occupy the prime time TV slots.  But their comedy is too anglo-centric to be understood by a foreign audience.

– he continues.

So it makes me curious, how they’re selecting the best comedians for a big, multicultural/international audience and how they discover new talents…

We have a five-minute spot from a newer comedian each night at Sziget.  Some of the five-minute spots have progressed to doing a full-length spot the following year.  We see many comedians performing in Hungary and other countries.  We invite the comedians we think the international audience at Sziget will enjoy.

Kalman explains.

Our aim is to find comedians from many countries who can make people from many countries laugh.  As the venue we run the comedy shows is an LGBTQ venue, we favor LGBTQ comedians.  But the priority is that theyre funny.

– he added. The diversity is clearly shown in this year’s selection – during the six nights of comedy, they platformed comedians from eleven countries – Hungary, Austria, Poland, Iran, the UK, Belgium, America, Ireland, Canada, Finland, and Hong Kong. Kalman is very optimistic about the future. “ At Sziget, we book the most accomplished comedians we can get within the budget we’re given.  A larger budget would allow us to have more comedians and bigger names.“

The stage was visited by celebrities this year. Even the world-famous Hungarian supermodel, Barbara Palvin was sharing a post about the location that was always full. (The tent can accommodate 700 people.) “We are very proud of the fact that almost every day we have a full audience waiting sometimes 10-20 minutes ahead of our show’s start to see our comedians. And yeah, celebrities showed up. Peter Puskas the famous Hungarian musician has featured our comedy stage in his Instagram stories. With his wife together they had an amazing time watching our comedians. We read that Barbara Palvin said that she was not sure if she would visit the Sziget Festival again, claiming it was bland in 2022.  She said Somehow, Sziget doesn’t have the same magic for me now. We at the Sziget Comedy Stage wonder if she would have found our comedy shows bland.  We dont think so.

The producers

Hungarian Kalman Pechy has directed many short films and has worked in Hollywood movies.  He can share knowledge of high-tech, crypto-currencies, and all aspects of the entertainment industry fluently in three languages.  Having run live stand-up shows in Budapest, and having a passion for watching stand-up, Kalman approached the Sziget Festival organizers to propose a comedy stage.

British Dave Thompson has performed stand-up professionally in 47 countries, which equips him with an up-to-date awareness of who’s on the form. Dave hosts the comedy shows at Sziget Festival, and when he’s not performing stand-up all over the world, he works as a screen actor.  His most well-known role is that of wearing the Tinky Winky costume in the world famous ‘Teletubbies.’

– Virág Vida –

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