Dave’s Guide to Moontower Comedy Fest

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By David Thomas

My Comedy Wham cohorts mentioned picking shows and performers for Moontower Comedy Festival is like picking your favorite kid. I’d love to get in on the analogy but due to the brouhaha, I got to get to brass tacks.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Brian Gaar (Source: Moontower)
Brian Gaar (Source: Moontower)

I am already torn. Missing Austin Towers at the Velv Comedy Lounge would be a travesty. The show starts at 8:3opm and features an amazing cross section of Austin comedy. Andrew Dismukes, Pat Dean, and Derek Phelps alone make the show worth seeing. Then they throw in Brian Gaar, Zac Brooks and Kath Barbadoro and that still isn’t the entire lineup. This is a show I normally wouldn’t think twice about.

This year though, I do have to think twice about Austin Towers because Maria Bamford is headlining the Paramount Theatre at 9:30pm with Erin Foley and Jackie Kashian. If you’re an Elite or Ace badge holder, or if you’ve purchased a ticket to the show, then beating feet from the Velv to the Paramount may not be a big deal. If you’re holder of a Fan Badge, you may be forced to choose between the shows, since Fan Badge holders get in after ticket and upper level badge holders – making it a first come, first serve scenario.

I’ve recently immersed myself in Bamford’s comedy and I would very much like to see her live. Besides, she’s also performing with Jackie Kashian and Erin Foley. I’ve been able to see Kashian and Foley on past Moontower Comedy shows and I dug their sets.  Austin Towers or Maria Bamford… maybe I should rethink my intro paragraph.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Jessica Williams (Source: Moontower)
Jessica Williams (Source: Moontower)

SheBang is a female themed showcase taking place at *pm from 800 Congress. Greg Behrendt (not a female) hosts a fun crew of female comics including Erin Foley, Jackie Kashian, and of course, Austin’s very own, Maggie Maye. If you recall my dilemma from my Thursday recommendations, you’ll note that two out of the three performers from Maria Bamford’s show are on SheBang. So if you’re a fan badge holder and chose Austin Towers, this may be a bit of a consolation for you/us (I  won’t make up my mind until I stand in line on Thursday).

My experiences watching Jackie Kashian, Erin Foley and Maggie Maye have always entertaining. On top of that, what other time will you be able to see Janeane Garofalo, and The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams in a smaller venue?

At 10pm staying at 800 Congress is a good idea for the Stars in Bars showcase. Locals Mike MacCrae, Matt Bearden and Martha Kelly tell jokes alongside Ari Shaffir, Hasan Minhaj and others. I  enjoy line ups like Stars in Bars. It lives up to its name. Bearden, MacCrae and Kelly are old school members of the Austin comedy scene and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see them live, let alone on the same show.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kurt Metzger (Source: Moontower)
Kurt Metzger (Source: Moontower)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest checking out the Ping Pong Slapdown at Stateside at the Paramount. The event starts at 2pm and is hosted by the Sklar Brothers. Believe it or not, the comedians participating get very competitive. It’s a fun event and there may be a chance to get some free stuff.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are recording their podcast, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, at 5pm from Speakeasy. This is one of several podcasts being recorded over the course of the weekend. This event is badge only and seats are sure to fill up fast.

This Is Not Happening is… ahem, happening at 8pm from The Parrish. Many of the acts on the bill have been mentioned in my other recommendations. The reason why I suggest this show is because of Kurt Meztger and Kat Ramzinski. I love these two comedians. The NYC based Metzger’s blunt style of comedy is appealing to me and Ramzinksi is one of the rawest female comedians you’ll come across. Austin is lucky she calls it home.

Other Suggestions

  • Wednesday is the official start of Moontower. While the schedule is light, there are shows at Stateside at the Paramount, Cap City Comedy Club, and the Paramount Theatre.
  • The Stephen F. Austin bar serves as the official lounge of Moontower Comedy Fest. It gets the busiest after the shows start wrapping up. While they accept cards and open tabs, it’s a good idea to take cash to make things quicker at closing time.
  • Many comedians are on a variety of shows during the festival. If you miss a particular act, you have a good chance of catching it again.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the time your shows start, and travel time between venues.
  • Have fun.


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