The Moontower Comedy & Oddity festival will always hold a soft spot in my heart. It was my first, you always remember your first. And as far as I can tell, it was a pretty darn great way to jump into festivals. They book solid talent, take good care of the performers and attendees and Austin's just a cool city to begin with. So I was pretty excited to see what they have on tap for this year.
Moontower announced their headliners and first wave of acts yesterday. And it looks pretty rad. Kids In The Hall, Mike Birbiglia, Dennis Miller, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress and JB Smoove, plus Colin Quinn's one man show "Unconstitutional" makes a nice wide range of styles, and covers a pretty wide gamut on the buzz-experience graph.
I'm excited that many of my favorites from last year - Jackie Kashian, Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, James Adomian, Mike Lawrence and Michael Che - are all returning. I'm also incredibly excited that some of my favorite Angelinos - Brody Stevens, Ron Funches, Brent Morin and Beth Stelling - have been included. And I'm pretty psyched so see some names I don't know or have been wanting to check out.
So, basically everything. I'm excited about everything.
I'm glad to see Jackie Kashian coming back. Besides being one of my favorite comedians, she draws a very cool kind of crowd. Maybe it's the connection she has with fans of The Dork Forest or maybe it's that combination tough chick-nerd vibe, but whatever it is, her headlining show last year was one of my favorites.
Ari Shaffir is another comedian who draws a good (although totally different) kind of crowd and his storytelling show This Is Not Happening is one of the best around. And I'm glad he'll have Metzger around to enjoy more awkward starstruck moments together (see below, still cracks me up). Kurt Metzger was one of my favorite discoveries at last year's Moontower, and exactly why festivals like this are so great. Metzger's been in the game a minute (which I mean in the black way, like for a while), is fairly well-known to a lot of people, yet in four years of obsessive comedy watching, I'd never had the opportunity to see him until last April.
I'm happy a whole new group of people will get exposed to Brent Morin and Ron Funches, so they can see all the buzz these two are getting is well-earned. Brent is such a joy to watch onstage and has made me literally cry from laughing on numerous occasions. Funches is also the kind of delightful that I've seen translate to just about any show or crowd. I also now think of him every time I have to enter a CAPTCHA on a web form and look forward to that comedy earworm spreading.
And, of course, Brody Stevens. Brody makes everything better. I'm dying to see how Brody will use the energy of a different city in his act, since I've only ever been able to watch him in LA. And if anyone will get it, it's the Moontower crowd. In fact, when I was chatting with festivalgoers last year, Brody was frequently brought up as someone who was sorely missing from the festivities.
The one thing I'm kind of bummed about is the loss of The Scottish Rite as a venue. It was a bit off the beaten path and kind of a pain to get to, but it was a friggin Masonic Lodge. How cool is that?
I'm also bummed that I'm not a local so I can't take advantage of the nifty package deal they are offering badgeholders for primo seats to Aziz Ansari on the 18th. Oh well.
I've already marked April 23rd on my calender with far too much glee! So.... now who wants to let me crash in their hotel room?