It’s about damn time. It’s time to light the lights for the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival. The 2013 lineup is about as stacked as you can get with talent flying in from all over the country and some of Austin’s finest getting ready to rep their city.
We’ve already profiled a few of the top headliners stepping into the spotlight at the Paramount, but the rest of the festival is packed with shows across town for badge and ticket holders. Deciding on which acts to see won’t be easy, but it should be easier than Marc Maron trying to decide where to eat barbecue in Austin.
Here is CultureMap's guide to a week of wisecracks, from top headliners to best podcasts.
Top headliners: Hader and Jeselnik
Honestly, if you have a badge, do what you can to see all of the headliners. Moontower went out of its way to solidify itself as the next big comedy festival by booking some of the biggest names in comedy, but there are two in particular to check out.
Anthony Jeselnik has made a name for himself by delving into the darkest subject matter in his stand-up acts. Nothing is ever off-limits or “too soon” for him to craft a twisted joke around. A lot of tragedy has gripped the world lately, and there is now a bit of morbid curiosity to see if he has found time to incorporate current events into his set at the Paramount Wednesday night.
The other big act to see also opens up the festival. Bill Hader has made his mark as one of the best and funniest talents on Saturday Night Live in recent years and has popped up in various movies and TV shows. And now comedy fans will see Hader bring his talents to the stage while sharing it with several other stand-up comedians. It will be interesting just to see how his screen talents translate back to the stage, but fingers are crossed for an appearance by Stefon, SNL’s New York City Correspondent.
Podcasting: WTF with Marc Maron
Marc Maron made his name on the stand-up circuit, but podcasting has finally earned him a big break that many comedians could only dream about. Maron’s WTF podcast features one-on-one conversations with various comedians and entertainers, and Maron has never been one to throw out softball questions to his guests.
The popularity of the podcast and Maron’s talents earned him a shot at his own scripted, semi-autobiographical series on IFC titled Maron. Moontower will offer a special preview of the show on April 26, but later that evening a live recording of WTF will take place with a lineup of comedians that rivals Moontower’s own lineup, including Michael Ian Black, Maria Bamford, Bill Burr and tons more. It’s a great chance to see how WTF started, and live podcast recordings can be more fun than you think.
Keeping it local: Hell Yes Fest
The big names might be flying into town as we speak, but Austin’s local pool of extremely talented comics and performers are ready to prove that they can offer up big of laughs.
Hell Yes Fest is an annual comedy fest curated by Chris Trew at the New Movement Theater in Austin. It is now incepted into Moontower, making it a festival within a festival. The focus of Hell Yes Fest revolves around improv and sketch comedy, featuring sketch troupes from across the country and a few homegrown acts including Water Park, Handbomb and Opposites.
Plus, comedy fans can check out special shows of the New Movement’s signature events, including the Megaphone Show and a free improv class to prove that you should, in fact, do comedy.
Miscellaneous: Reggie Watts
Reggie Watts is a performer that fits into his own niche. He’s a comedian, but his comedy is centered on his musical ability to improvise using a loop sampler and unleashing stream-of-consciousness vocalization that is astounding but also hilarious.
The main reason to catch Reggie Watts live is because each of his performances is unique and different; each show is a snowflake — a snowflake with a ridiculous afro, clad in a loud sweater.
Moontower Comedy Festival runs April 24-27 at the Paramount Theater and other venues around town.