Motion Comics

The First Amendment has no greater champions than some of the most notorious comedians of our time. There's the infamous 1960s obscenity trial of Lenny Bruce, the debate that George Carlin spawned with the “seven dirty words,” and the censorship of Bill Hicks. Besides sparking some side-splitting laughter, each of these late comics helped push the boundaries of free speech.

So it’s fitting that at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 13, comedians will provide an assist to not only the First Amendment, but the Bill of Rights as a whole. Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street, will fill with chuckles as renowned jokesters perform during The Phoenix Comedy Festival, an event fundraiser for the Bill of Rights Monument at the Arizona Capitol, the first of its kind in the nation.

The lineup features some of the funniest defenders of free speech in the comedy world, including Comedy Central regular Lewis Black, blue collar favorite Bill Engvall, Police Academy star Bobcat Goldthwait, ever-acerbic Steven Wright, and venerated Dick Gregory. Last Comic Standing’s Kathleen Madigan, Tommy Smothers, viral video star Chris Bliss, and musicians Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett will also perform.

Sun., May 13, 7 p.m., 2012
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.