Whether a cinephile, music fan, tech geek or lover of stages that look like giant Doritos machines, SXSW has everything to offer for attendees from all walks of life. There are so many events and showcases packed into the week-long festival, many visitors might forget that comedy is also a vital part of the festivities. But judging by the initial lineup release of visiting talent, those who fail to attend this year’s comedy shows and panels might be missing out on the most fun, ongoing party at SXSW 2013.
Spanning from March 9 - 16, and taking over local venues Esther’s Follies, The North Door and The IFC Crossroads House, the newly released comedic lineup is incredibly expansive and features some of the biggest and brightest stars in comedy both today — and for the future to come. Sure, at first glance there is a lot to take in, but comedy nerds will quickly be able pick out the top events to add to their already hectic schedule.
Some highlights include two shows from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater: First, an All Stars of Improv show; second, The Best Damn Standup, featuring top talent from both the East and West Coast. UCB star Chris Gethard will also stay plenty busy, performing for both UCB shows and hosting his cult public access variety show, The Chris Gethard Show.
Other shows that shouldn’t be missed are an evening with Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts, stars of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, and Marc Maron's preview of his upcoming IFC show Maron, a fictionalized take on his life and popular WTF podcast.
Also on tap is a show called Conspiracy Theory LIVE with Jesse Ventura, in which comedian James Adomian plays the role of former governor and wrestling legend Jesse “The Body” Ventura as he tries to uncover the biggest conspiracy theory yet. It sounds too insane to miss.
Live podcast recordings will also be a common occurrence, including but not limited to Comedy Bang! Bang!, WTF with Marc Maron, The Fogelnest Files and The Benson Interruption — because, apparently, Doug Benson loves Austin so much and he never wants to leave ever.
Three comedy panels have been announced so far, and all promise as much food for your brain as laughs for your belly. "JASH: A Comedy Platform with Full Creative Autonomy" will feature Michael Cera, Time & Eric, Sarah Silverman and Reggie Watts as they guide us through the world of digital media and how it actually loosens constraints on the creative process. IFC will host its own panel headed by Aukerman, Gethard, Maron and Fred Armisen as they discuss the transition of alternative comedy to television.
It’s a full plate of funny — so much so that you might think that you'd have to pay extra and to get a separate badge for all of this comedy clout. But you would be dead wrong. If you have a SXSW badge for other branches of the festival, you’re all set to go for your fantastic voyage.