The Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival kicks off Wednesday, featuring a mix of stand-up, sketch comedy, improv and musical comedy acts. Austin's homegrown comedy fest continues its tradition of crafting a unique lineup of stand-up veterans and rising stars along with festival favorites and local comedians.
To help alleviate the stress of working out your Moontower schedule, we've created a definitive guide for the fest.
Five brilliant big names
Ron White is gathering his friends for a special kickoff show on Wednesday. The evening will not only mark the beginning of White's "Texas Toasted" tour, but will serve as a treat for Moontower badge holders, all of whom are guaranteed entrance to the show.
When he's not writing the music and lyrics for hit Broadway musicals, Tim Minchin performs songs and stand-up that blend quirky satire with his unique brand of musical comedy. The Australian comic has seen a lot of success overseas and deserves a big Texas welcome.
Jonathan Katz is putting his therapist hat back on for the 20th anniversary celebration of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. A host of Moontower headliners will join Katz on stage for a live version of the cult TV show.
Four classic acts
A handful of comedy scene stalwarts will be in attendance, representing different comedy styles. From different ends of the spectrum are festival favorites Marc Maron and Maria Bamford. Maron brings blunt and truthful observations, while Bamford's comedy is soft-spoken with surreal scenarios.
Somewhere between the two is Emo Philips' hilarious on-stage personality, which is a subtle journey filled with one-liners and winding jokes. In contrast, Andy Kindler's dry, personal delivery often pokes fun at the comedy industry.
Three bright rising stars
Moontower prides itself on being a launching pad for up-and-coming acts. Chris Cubas is no stranger to the local scene (or Moontower, for that matter), but the Austin-based comedian was recently exposed to the national audience when he appeared on Comedy Central's @midnight. Catch Cubas before he totally blows up.
Our favorite part of Bridget Everett's act is her stand-up, but it's worth mentioning her nightly get-ups as well. The New York City performer blends comedy and cabaret on stage, all while wearing flamboyant and scanty outfits.
David O'Doherty incorporates many talents into his stand-up routine, the most important being his musical prowess on a miniature keyboard.
Two must-see Moontower shows
We don't know exactly what to expect at Midnight with TJ Miller and Pete Holmes, but we know it's going to be good. Moontower has kept mum on the details, but big names like Miller (Silicon Valley) and Holmes (The Pete Holmes Show) make for a very appealing late-night adventure.
Comedians are also competing in the Moontower Ping Pong Slapdown. This hotly anticipated table tennis tournament will pit talent and badge holders against one another. Matches will be highlighted with commentary from the hilarious Sklar Brothers.
One lovely local lineup
Austin Towers is a great way to catch the city's best acts. Matt Bearden, Maggie Maye, Mike MacRae, J.R. Brow, Brian Gaar, Mac Blake and Danny Palumbo are all on the list. These funny men and women will be at The Velv Comedy Lounge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
For the full lineup, head over to the Moontower website.