Valerie Lopez: Moontower Comedy 2019 Recap

May 2, 2019

2019 Moontower Festival is a wrap and I bet you're all wondering how life with my 3 principles worked out for me? Superbly, if I might say so myself. The festival was as smooth as butter and as a 4-time attendee, I noticed subtle changes and a few new discount perks that my pocketbook was grateful for. Throw in the amazing new app, and it was easy to keep track of where to go and when!

Guiding Principle #1

Attend all GDCJs and follow any one of the GDCJ members or guest performers and you will be plenty busy!

Between the live podcast of Josh Adam Meyer's The 500 and watching Jeremiah Watkins sole headliner spot--and the amazing on-stage "meltdown" he gifted his audience--I was a happy camper. And,of course, the GDCJ for 3 straight nights did not disappoint. The fact that Impractical Jokers member Sal Vulcano made 2 unannounced guest appearances (once to a riveting Sure Shot Beastie Boys performance, and another time to a decidedly different style of song in the form of Laura Branigan's Gloria) was a huge deal for me and my son who got to live vicariously through pictures and video snippets I shared with him. I think the standout performance of all GDCJ's was Mary Lynn Rajskub's powerful and vulnerable performance of Radiohead's Creep. It's moments like this that keep me firmly planted as a superfan of the Jam.

In "follow Jeremiah Watkins" news, I watched one of the most amazing Comedy Central's Roast Battle (Jeremiah is a member of The Wave) performances of my life. Our local representatives on the battle did us proud and we're crossing fingers and toes that their performance during Moontower gives them opportunities on the national Roast Battle stage. Dare I say that the locals outshone the national comics who battled? Yes, I dare say! We were so proud at how Jasmine Ellis, Lea'h Sampson, Carina Magyar and Chris Cubas performed!

Guiding Principle #2

Attend the Canadians of Comedy showcase and then follow any of the performers as they take over (in a very typically polite Canadian way) Moontower.

Woah Canada, amiright? I learned a lot by focusing on Canada. The Canadians of Comedy was a fantastic showcase. Met some comics I wasn't familiar with. Some, like Jon Dore, have been coming through Austin for years, but this was the first time I'd ever watched him perform. I loved his flair for misdirection (he also did a perfect misdirect on the GDCJ - ask me about it sometime). I was lucky enough to see DeAnne Smith and Nathan Macintosh a couple of times throughout the weekend and thought their performances, though very stylistically different, were commanding and hilarious.

Guiding Principle #3

Seek out past, present, and maybe future SNL performers and writers to feel a sense of connection to the sketch comedy stalwart as they perform "live from Austin's Moontower Festival".

This principle led me to watch Chris Redd throughout the weekend - I watched him perform standup, sing a rousing rendition of How You Remind Me on the GDCJ, and as a guest on the podcast Off Book (an improvised musical - and a masterfully executed concept on Earwolf, no stranger to excellent podcasts). While I did get to see Jon Rudnitsky and Bowen Yang perform a few times, Redd was for me the standout performer of the festival.

I was lucky enough to sit down with a few performers, so stay tuned for interviews over the next few weeks. It's amazing how much talent comes through Austin for this festival, and we get to share tiny glimpses of that talent with you! Badges for 2020 are on sale now with an early bird discount. Go ahead and grab yours, I'm looking forward to my 5th year of covering the festival and discovering new talents!