Comedy Christmas Comes Early With Moontower Comedy Festival - Valerie Lopez for The Austin Chronicle

April 18, 2024

Comedy Christmas Comes Early With Moontower Comedy Festival

Comedy scene expert Valerie Lopez highlights Moontower Comedy Fest musts, including the iconic Andy Kindler


Moontower Comedy Festival headliner Andy Kindler (photo by Susan Maljan)

For Austin comedy fans, Moontower Comedy Festival is comedy Christmas, and this year the organizers have managed the unimaginable – a 12th consecutive year of outdoing themselves. If I’ve done my math correctly, this is Moontower’s most ambitious lineup ever: a dizzying 126 shows, which started on April 10 and runs through April 21.

Just for Laughs declared bankruptcy in March, and while that put JFL’s partnership with Moontower on pause, it’s just a minor hiccup for the folks behind Moontower, who are accustomed to organizing the festival on their own. Moontower 2024 is primed to deliver a “bigger and better” schedule with 150 comedians performing in 13 venues over 12 days. Following the last two years’ model, headliners dominate the first week and club shows close out the festival. But there’s always something new at Moontower: This year, it’s the introduction of “Theatre Week” at the Paramount Theatre with featured comics performing hourlong specials.

Top-billed Moontower headliners taking over bigger performance spaces include Andrew Schulz at the Moody Center, Shane Gillis at Cedar Park's H-E-B Center, and Ronny Chieng and Tim Robinson each performing at Bass Concert Hall. Scrolling down the list of performers, you'll find festival favorites Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, and Brad Williams. Austin locals also feature prominently with Andrew Murphy, Avery Moore, Roxy Castillo, Joey Z, Dylan Sullivan, Kam Patterson, Genivive Clinton, Sam Lopez, Casey Rocket, and the 2023 Cap City Comedy Club Funniest Person in Austin winner Dylan Carlino. Interested in a show where comics paint their material? The Joke of Painting is for you. Interested in an intimate crowd-work show in the round? Sit in the circle at Surrounded. Want to relive a classic movie with one of its stars? Don't miss Alan Ruck Presents Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Want to witness history? The State reunion has your name on it. I could literally go on with the offerings!

Andy is a must-see comic that should top the list of everyone who loves comedy
Lietza Brass, Moontower Executive Producer

Most of all, I’m excited about the return of Andy Kindler. Before the pandemic, Kindler was a fixture at Moontower. Whether performing at a small club show or dropping in on a headliner show at the Paramount, he was a constant presence. When lockdown hit, though, Kindler took it so seriously that in July 2022, he delivered his annual State of the Industry Address at JFL Montreal as a hologram.

Kindler says he's been willing to go out, but only on his own terms. It wasn't until his brother's recent birthday that Kindler flew again. After over 30 years of traveling for comedy, Kindler earned himself a break. But the comic, voice actor, and Last Comic Standing series judge hasn't been idle. He's done Cameos, voiced Bob’s Burgers' Mort from home, and continued to record his podcast, Thought Spiral.

Kindler’s charm is freely telling you what’s on his mind, be it onstage or not. “Andy is a must-see comic that should top the list of everyone who loves comedy,” says Moontower Executive Producer Lietza Brass. I agree, but, based on Andy’s fast-paced, on-display neuroses, he is likely to disagree. In his own words, one constant with Andy Kindler is “I have never learned not to overshare.”

I have never learned not to overshare.
Andy Kindler

If you need a sneak peek of what you’re in for, listen to his – shockingly – only comedy album, Hence the Humor. He planned to record a new album at Moontower but decided against it. However, he promises new material for those of us lucky enough to see him during his several club weekend shows, including his “Particular Show” at the Hideout on April 19. Kindler will also be in two shows on April 18: the Joke of Painting (Velv Comedy Lounge) and his own headlining set at Higbie’s.

Valerie Lopez is the executive producer of the Comedy Wham podcast.

Moontower Comedy Festival
Wednesday April 10 -Sunday April 21

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Column by

Valerie Lopez