|Photo Credit||Lara Smith|
Just when you think an amazing festival can’t get any better, Moontower Comedy Festival arrives and proves you wrong. This year’s lineup and schedule made for some difficult choices, at times, but if you planned it strategically, you had a good chance of seeing almost every comic at the festival. Even with a few last minute changes, the festival seemed to flow effortlessly.
I use the word “seemed,” because I know in order to produce a festival that makes attendees and performers so satisfied, it takes a good team and a lot of work. While we were enjoying this year’s comedy, the team at Moontower was already two weeks into planning Moontower 2020! And yes, badges are already on sale.
What struck me most about Moontower this time was the realization of the sense of community the festival, now in its eighth year, has cultivated. This is my fourth year at the festival and it seems to have a culture and a life of its own now. For that time period, I am immersed in comedy and Austin feels like a vacation spot, not just my home. After returning to Moontower, you recognize faces, you may even know names, of others that you see each year. In this way, Moontower itself becomes a comfortable old friend.
There is no better example of this sense of community than The Goddamn Comedy Jam. The creation of Josh Adam Meyers, the Jam returned for its fourth year and many of the same faces showed up. Almost like a religious experience, the crowd is asked to “give yourself over” to the experience and fully participate. Resistance is futile because it is the most amazing way to close your evening. Last year a mascot was chosen, so to speak. Robert was hand picked from the crowd to come on stage and become a part of the show. He embodies the literal transformation, that at Moontower Comedy Festival, performers and fans blend so naturally, you may become part of the performance. Robert is our everyman, or should we say “everyfan.” Quickly reprising his role this year, he was brought to the stage with his theme song and chants of, “ROBERT! ROBERT!” I challenge you to find a festival that gets so personal with the fans.
In addition to GDCJ, the festival brought back its signature showcases, Stars in Bars, Major FOMO, Bye Felicia!, and SHEBANG, just to name a few. However this year the addition of Austin Film Festival’s Story On, gave more focused interviews with greats such as Kevin McDonald and Dana Gould. This year also so the addition of one Roast Battle, hosted by Brian Moses. The lively show, paired with huge audience participation, leaves me hoping Roast Battle becomes as much a part of the festival as GDCJ!
Another thing Moontower excels at is blending seasoned and fresh talent together. Bringing in comedy icons, up-and-comers, and new faces, the festival gives variety to fans and wonderful opportunities to performers. Festival goers get a taste of the local scene peppered throughout the show, as well as in Austin Towers showcase.
I believe PMD (Post-Moontower Depression) may be added to the DSM as an official diagnosis soon, because coming down off the high of almost a week of laughter is difficult. My prescription for this seasonal condition? Go support your local comedy scene and get your badges for next year now!