Moontower Comedy 2021: Val's Picks & Recommendations

September 20, 2021

Photo Credit

Moontower Comedy Festival


Valerie Lopez


Valerie Lopez

2020 was a mess. We made lemon­ade out of lemons when it comes to com­e­dy, but the biggest rea­son it was a mess was because we missed out on the annu­al April com­e­dy Christ­mas tra­di­tion that is Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val. When it did not look like April 2021 would bring back the fes­ti­val, the pan­ic set in…until the Sep­tem­ber dates were announced, that is. And as we’ve inched clos­er and learned of the fes­ti­val’s safe­ty plan (get your vac­ci­na­tion cards or neg­a­tive test results ready!), we’re thrilled to see that Moon­tow­er is back!! For it’s 10th anniver­sary year no less. 

I like to steer my rec­om­men­da­tions based on 3 guid­ing prin­ci­ples and this year, I’ve got 2 new ones, so buck­le up, this is going to be a wild ride — at least that’s my plan! After near­ly 2 years of chaos, I don’t need a soft entry” back into my com­e­dy Christ­mas, I want some­thing to shake me out of this haze of Covid living.

But first, a few pub­lic ser­vice announcements.…

Practical Pointers for the Fest

Get Your Walking Shoes Ready!

With a record 11 venues hosting shows this year, planning out your festival will require a bit more planning than usual. Of course if you want to hit up multiple venues, you can do the scooters (ride responsibly people!) or try ride sharing. Otherwise, make sure you wear comfortable shoes to get around.

The Moontower App is Back for 2021!

The festival has an app available for both iTunes and Android users. You can download yours and pick out your favorites with the content from its website available on the app.

Comedy Wham Added a Moontower Events Page!

Want to check out our dedicated events page for the festival? Thanks to our web guru Richard Goodwin, we've created a page with all 4 days listed with a search function that lets you search for when your favorite performer is performing or what shows are happening at your favorite venue.

Val’s 3 Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples for 2021 Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Festival

Home­town Heroes

I’m so excit­ed about 3 comics that had their starts in Austin com­e­dy that are hav­ing BIG BIG BIG moments at Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Festival.

Before the Covid shut­down, Daniel Webb was the tour­ing open­ing act for Mar­garet Cho. How amaz­ing is that??? We get to see our beloved Daniel open for Cho on Fri­day night at The Para­mount The­ater. If you haven’t watched his spe­cial Hoe’s Parade: Live at the Rose Bowl, what are you even doing with your life?

Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez is that favorite sis­ter or cousin — every­one loves her and she’s always the life of the par­ty. That big smile and that sil­ly nature have launched her career after her move to Los Ange­les. We, at Com­e­dy Wham, feel espe­cial­ly proud because she was one of our first pod­cast inter­views and we were hon­ored that she agreed to do our online Iso­la­tion Com­e­dy show last sum­mer (her first zoom show!). Wednes­day night, she has an epony­mous show called Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez and Friends” and you know she keeps good friends close by, so it’s going to be a stel­lar moment for her. You’ll be able to catch her a few nights dur­ing the fes­ti­val, but the fact that she’s got a show named after her dur­ing one of the biggest com­e­dy fes­ti­vals in the coun­try, well, it’s a big deal.

Of the 3 comics we’re pro­mot­ing here, only Chris Tellez has stayed firm­ly plant­ed in Austin. His big moment is a debut album record­ing on Thurs­day night. Tellez has been a favorite of Moon­tow­er for years and I per­son­al­ly can’t recall any oth­er com­ic get­ting their album record­ed at the Fes­ti­val, so this may be a first and this is def­i­nite­ly a big deal for Chris. We don’t think you should miss this tap­ing, but we sup­pose if you do, we’ll be encour­ag­ing you to buy the album when it comes out.

Absurd is the Word!

I need to add a bit of absur­di­ty to my plan this year. What with miss­ing 2020 Moon­tow­er and being cooped up inside for the last near­ly 18 months, I need some­thing fun and wild to watch dur­ing 2021 Moon­tow­er. Here are some of my picks for the more absurd choic­es available:

  • Scis­sor Bros - It’s not secret I’m a huge fan of Jere­mi­ah Watkins (3‑time guest of our pod­cast) and he’s 25 episodes in with his co-host Stee­bee Wee­bee (broth­er of Bob­by Lee, yes, that one) on this hilar­i­ous pod­cast. It’s cen­tered around this sil­ly, but sup­port­ive friend­ship with wild chal­lenges each episode. The pod­cast recent­ly hit 50K sub­scribers so, it’s res­onat­ing with lots of fans.
  • Please Don’t Destroy — This New York based sketch com­e­dy group has a ton of videos for you to watch on their Youtube or Tik­Tok chan­nels. The videos start inno­cent­ly enough before launch­ing into an absurd premise. This made me think of local premise break­er, Mac Blake. And guess what? Please Don’t Destroy (in addi­tion to their big head­lin­er shows) will per­form on Fri­day night WITH Mac Blake. Com­e­dy Christ­mas indeed!
  • Unhinged — As far as show­cas­es go, a name like Unhinged, sounds promis­ing. I plan to catch a few show­cas­es and with atyp­i­cal standup per­form­ers like Jere­mi­ah Watkins, Jes­si­ca Kir­son, Avery Moore, and Nick Saveri­no, I know I’ll be in good hands!
  • Dis­gust­ing Hawk — Speak­ing of Jes­si­ca Kir­son, among the many live pod­cast tap­ing options avail­able this year, I’m look­ing for­ward to Kir­son­’s self described vari­ety pod­cast fea­tur­ing a series of eccen­tric char­ac­ters”, includ­ing Puz­zles the con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist clown or Mandy the spoiled teenag­er. Kir­son is a leg­end of New York com­e­dy, and I’ve only known her as a standup per­former. I’m excit­ed to see the leg­end as char­ac­ter study.
  • Joke of Paint­ing — This could be fea­tured in the Home­town Heroes sec­tion, but hon­est­ly, there are a few local shows get­ting their Moon­tow­er debut (notably, Joey Z’s Glow Show, Hunter Dun­can and Carl­ton Wilcox­sons Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober, and Zac Brooks and Tay­lor Dowdys Home Base). What endears me to this pas­sion project by Andrew Mur­phy and Avery Moore is how absurd the idea is but also equal­ly charm­ing. And, my shame­ful secret, is the show is often very close to bed­time and I have not yet wit­nessed it first hand. Thank you Moon­tow­er for adding Joke of Paint­ing to the roster.
  • Just for Us — I can’t fig­ure out what this show is, but with impres­sive reviews, awards, and nom­i­na­tions from Edin­burgh Com­e­dy and the Mel­bourne Inter­na­tion­al Com­e­dy (Bar­ry Award for Best Show), this caught my eye. The show is the third solo show by Boston­ian Alex Edel­man, a pro­lif­ic writer and per­former across the world.

GDCJ (The Peren­ni­al Favorite)

What is GDCJ? If you are among the con­vert­ed, you know that the God­damned Com­e­dy Jam (GDCJ) with Josh Adam Mey­ers is a cathar­tic, near­ly reli­gious expe­ri­ence. Blend­ing tra­di­tion­al com­e­dy show­case with song cov­ers the par­ty is front­ed by fire­crack­er Mey­ers along with his back­ing band and road­ie” (Jere­mi­ah Watkins). The 2021 line­ups for the GDCJ have yet to be announced but in the past, we’ve seen incred­i­ble per­for­mances by Mary Lynn Rajskub, The Sklar Broth­ers, Nik­ki Glaser, Big Jay Oak­er­son, Brad Williams, and Adam Ray. For 2021, the Jam” is sched­uled for every sin­gle night of the fes­ti­val (grow­ing from 3 nights to 4), so pre­pare your hon­ey tea and lozenges because you will be singing your hearts out.

The Plan­ning Details

  • God­damn Com­e­dy Jam is every night from Wednes­day to Sat­ur­day night at Antone’s. Start times vary from 10:00 to midnight. 
  • Scis­sor Broth­ers — Fri­day 7pm at The Velv Com­e­dy Lounge
  • Please Don’t Destroy — per­form­ing Wednes­day through Sat­ur­day at var­i­ous venues and times.
  • Unhinged — Thurs­day and Fri­day at The Creek and the Cave. Line­ups vary each night.
  • Dis­gust­ing Hawk — Sat­ur­day at 5:30pm at Park­er Jazz Lounge
  • Joke of Paint­ing — Sat­ur­day at 7pm at The Velv Com­e­dy Lounge
  • Just for Us — Sat­ur­day at 7:30pm at Park­er Jazz Lounge
  • Daniel Webb — Fri­day at 9:30 open­ing for Mar­garet Cho at Para­mount Theater
  • Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez — Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez and Friends is on Wednes­day at 9pm at The Green Jay. Catch her per­form­ing through­out the festival.
  • Chris Tellez — Chris’ album record­ing is on Thurs­day at 9:30pm at Park­er Jazz Lounge. Catch him per­form­ing through­out the festival. 

For every­thing else, load the Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy app on your phone to track per­form­ers, shows, and podcasts.

Check out the www​.com​e​dy​wham​.com/​e​v​e​n​t​s​/​M​o​o​n​tower page to see a list­ing of shows for every one of the 4 nights of the fes­ti­val and be sure to use the search func­tion to search for your favorite per­former’s shows or to search for which shows are hap­pen­ing at your favorite venue.

Moontower Comedy Festival 2021