Welcome to the most self-indulgent Moontower Comedy festival wrap up EVER! For the past four years, Moontower has been my favorite weekend of the year and 2016 was my favorite Moontower yet. In past years, I'd map out a complicated strategy of trying to catch two shows in each block and maximize the number of comedians I'm not already familiar with. But this year was different. As Mark Normand put it, "I'm used to the people up there being Norton or Colin, but now it's us!" And you can't send me off for a weekend of comedy summer camp with Jay Oakerson and Christine Evans and not expect me to spend most of my time with them. And I figured it was finally time to sit still and enjoy an entire show without worrying how soon I needed to leave to catch Comedian X on Show Y.
Taking that to the extreme, I caught all three editions of The Goddam Comedy Jam. GDCJ has been a favorite of mine since I first caught it at RIOT and then at its home in the Lyric Theater in LA. I'd already seen Matteo Lane and Joe Derosa kill it at RIOT, then Matteo kill it again at the New York Comedy Fest alongside an incredibly memorable version of "Say It Ain't So" from Jay Oakerson. So I didn't want to miss any of their performances. But they were cleverly spread throughout the three nights. Plus, when I hard Brad Williams was doing Kid Rock and Fahim Anwar was doing Billie Jean (also on separate nights), I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. And I was not disappointed. Plus, that's where everyone was hanging when they didn't have a show to do. All the New York guys who haven't had a chance to see it couldn't get enough (more on that coming soon at The IBang).
And, of course, our little show Stand Up On the Spot was there, so that's where I was going to be Friday night. Sean Donnelly and Jak Knight hit it out of the park and the crowd was so into the concept (it's improvised stand-up based on crowd suggestions), that it was a fun good time from start to finish.
I also caught Ari's first This Is Not Happening and by the way HOLY SHIT DEBRA DIGIOVANNI. Brian Woods, SOTS's LA producer had sung her praises to me repeatedly but she delivered far more than promised with her Grateful Dead story that was so masterfully paced, I want her to teach a class to aspiring storytellers.
And of course, I couldn't miss out on Leslie Jones and Colin Jost. Watching Leslie kill that theater like she's been killing The Comedy Store's Original Room forEVER was incredible. Complete with jumping down into the crowd and terrifying some couples and white men.
I closed out with The Stateside edition of New York's Finest. Even when I was a full blooded Angeleno, the Moontower New York showcases were some of the best of the festival. It was nice to see it bumped up to theater status and closing out the festival. I mean, it didn't eclipse the GDCJ tsunami, but it was still pretty stellar. And incredibly well attended, considering it was up against the end of Maya Rudolph's Prince tribute and the beginning of the official closing party. I liked that Kurt Metzger was the grand finale, since he's been killing Moontower almost every (or every? What's fact checking?) year since it started.