5 Year Anniversary with Brendan K O'Grady and Gabi Montemayor

February 4, 2021

Photo Credit

Brendan K O'Grady, Gabi Montemayor


Valerie Lopez

Richard Goodwin


Scott Sticker


Com­e­dy Wham Presents (the pod­cast) has offi­cial­ly been here for five years! To cel­e­brate, we sat down (vir­tu­al­ly) with a long-time sta­ple of the scene and a younger per­former who has been hearti­ly carv­ing out her niche to dis­cuss the state of Austin com­e­dy and so much more.

Bren­dan K. O’Grady, along with his com­e­dy part­ner, Dun­can Car­son, was our first guest ever, so it’s only fit­ting to invite him back for this anniver­sary episode. Gabi Mon­temay­or is a young com­ic who – even in the face of Covid – is run­ning a mic and grind­ing away to expe­ri­ence the stage as often as possible.

The tur­bu­lence of our cur­rent virus-dom­i­nat­ed world made for an inter­est­ing time to talk about where com­e­dy stands in Austin. In this last year the changes in the scene have been astro­nom­i­cal: we’ve lost a sta­ple club with the shut­ter­ing of Cap City Com­e­dy Club, shows and venues have moved entire­ly online, a house­hold-name come­di­an now calls Austin home, and so much more. The age-old ques­tion of is Austin the next big com­e­dy city?” is rapid­ly turn­ing to can com­e­dy sur­vive this?”

I don’t know if [com­e­dy] is going to be 100 peo­ple in a base­ment [again],” Bren­dan said. If Cap [City Com­e­dy Club]can go down, any­one can go down… I’m afraid peo­ple will have a hard time find­ing those venues to start their own shows and build their own things. That’s the stuff that long-term can have a real­ly rough impact on [standup comedy].”

There’s a magic of live shows. Covid infringes on comedy more than any other artform.
Gabi Montemayor

There’s a mag­ic of live shows,” Gabi said, You feel oth­er people’s laughs as much as you feel your own laughs in your heart.” Since standup relies on the expe­ri­ence of hav­ing an audi­ence in the room with you, she said, Covid infringes on com­e­dy more than any oth­er artform.”

Right from the start of the pan­dem­ic, Com­e­dy Wham worked hard to put on enter­tain­ing com­e­dy shows online, pulling comics from around the coun­try and the world to do sets into their web­cam. Those episodes are avail­able on our Twitch, Youtube, and FB Video channels.

Gabi said she has loved online shows, while Brendan’s purist men­tal­i­ty made him steer clear. They both agreed that online shows are not standup”. Gabi said she had fun with it by think­ing of it as a dif­fer­ent beast, though. It’s not valid to call it standup com­e­dy. Peo­ple need­ed to stop think­ing of it as setup/​punchline,” she said, it has to be weird and dif­fer­ent.” (You can check out some of Gabi’s weird and dif­fer­ent online shows on our YouTube channel!) 

Bren­dan said he saw the val­ue in online shows, they just weren’t for him. “[Standup is] the only per­form­ing art that does­n’t exist with­out an audi­ence in the room with you,” he said. The dynam­ics of play­ing off of the live crowd in real-time…the dynam­ics at play are what define the expe­ri­ence for the per­son per­form­ing and that nec­es­sar­i­ly defines the per­for­mance. So, it’s not standup com­e­dy, but you can still have fun on the fuck­ing inter­net, right?”

They both agreed that com­e­dy doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly require a hot base­ment with low ceil­ings, but it def­i­nite­ly helps draw the crowd togeth­er. Which in a time of social dis­tanc­ing, draw­ing a crowd togeth­er is the last thing peo­ple real­ly want.

[Standup is] the only performing art that doesn't exist without an audience in the room with you.
Brendan K. O'Grady

Any­time some­one on the inter­net asks where they should move to do com­e­dy, Austin is almost always at the top of the list of answers – even dur­ing a pan­dem­ic! Since Gabi cur­rent­ly runs an open mic, she is see­ing first-hand that peo­ple are still flock­ing to Austin for com­e­dy. Hav­ing a big name like Joe Rogan in Austin has also changed the con­ver­sa­tion, ele­vat­ing our sta­tus to some peo­ple. Even after Cap City closed, peo­ple were hope­ful that Rogan would open a club of his own. Bren­dan said that famous peo­ple mov­ing to our scene shouldn’t real­ly have an impact.

Joe Rogan does not do what we do, which is main­tain a com­e­dy scene,” Bren­dan said. We’re the ones who are the com­e­dy scene – the peo­ple who run mics, the peo­ple who run local showcases…Famous peo­ple are going to come and famous peo­ple are going to go … The Austin com­e­dy scene is the comics who come up here; it’s the comics who main­tain the infra­struc­ture that allows peo­ple to do com­e­dy in Austin.”

The scene is still thriving and existing. It’s like double-Dutch, you have to join into what’s already happening, you can’t start a new tempo.
Gabi Montemayor

What­ev­er comes after the pan­dem­ic, Gabi and Bren­dan are both excit­ed to ride it out and get back to pro­duc­ing shows (and kick­ing unruly audi­ence-mem­bers out of them!). And we’re hap­py to con­tin­ue to sup­port the Austin com­e­dy scene for years to come.

Bren­dan and Gabi can be seen and heard:

  • Gabi hosts the week­ly open mic Wan­der­lust Wine Co. on Thurs­days at 7:30pm
  • Bren­dan and Dun­can Car­son are founders of Sure Thing Records

Fol­low Bren­dan -

Fol­low Gabi -

Brendan K. O'Grady
Gabi Montemayor